2011 Honda CR-Z: Is A Non-Hybrid CR-Z Coming Soon?
Honda calls the CR-Z a sport hybrid, but it takes a lot more than just a manual transmission to achieve true sportiness. Rumors continue to suggest that Honda is considering a non-hybrid or otherwise hotter variant of the CR-Z to appease those who have felt let-down by the current car. The 2011 Honda CR-Z has a combined hybrid system 122 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 128 pound-feet of torque at 1000-1750 rpm with the six-speed manual transmission and 123 pound-feet of torque at 1000-2000 rpm in the CR-Z with the CVT. Mileage does not reach 40 mpg with either transmission. The manual gets 31/37 mpg city/highway while the CVT is rated 35/39 mpg. A sportier and more powerful CR-Z -- we'll call it the CR-Z Si -- could eschew the hybrid powertrain for a small turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Honda has experimented with a turbocharged engine in the Acura RDX and could offer a 1.6-liter unit with 160 or 200 horsepower inside the engine bay of the CR-Z. Alternatively, Honda might be reluctant to remove the hybrid powertrain from the car that was supposed to be the automaker's second hybrid-only vehicle. Honda tuner Mugen has already started work on a hotter CR-Z hybrid, one that is claimed to have more than 200 horsepower. Upgraded intake and exhaust piping are two of the changes a Mugen CR-Z will include. Possibly in the 2013 model year, an enhanced CR-Z could benefit from the lithium-ion battery pack you can find under the hood of the new 2012 Civic Hybrid instead of the current car's nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Whether Honda can successfully give the CR-Z hybrid more sporting credentials without making the price tag rise too high is unclear. Before long, we'll have an answer to that question. By Zach Gale
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