Paris 2012: Honda CR-Z, now almost sporty

With twin-cam engines having been around as long as they have, the 1.5 SOHC unit in Honda’s CR-Z hybrid coupé has always seemed rather quaint. Honda’s characterisation of the CR-Z as ‘sporty’ rather than ‘sporting’ tells you all you need to know about a nearly-car that’s always had decent reviews, but with a caveat – namely, if it’s fast you’re after, try elsewhere.

Make it so, Mr Data
Make it so, Mr Data
Honda seems to have acknowledged this with the appearance at Paris of an upgraded CR-Z. Its new combined petrol engine/electric motor output of 137hp is unlikely to set even petrol-soaked trousers on fire, but the bump-up from 124hp is welcome and should at least give this sweet-looking coupe a decent feeling of ‘sportingness’ (new word alert).

That old-school single-cam lump has had its valve timing fettled, hoisting the output from 114hp to 121hp. The electric motor now pumps out 20hp and gets its juice from a Lithium Ion battery for the first time, which as any fool who has used a drill will know is always the best choice. The battery has a Plus Sport (S+) boost function for loosening particularly awkward screws. With at least 50 per cent charge on board you can press a button to ‘engage warp drive’, giving increased acceleration for up to 10 seconds. A bit like KERS, then, only not quite as exciting. 

Moody snaps tone down the ultra-violet
Moody snaps tone down the ultra-violet
We know that 121hp and 20hp don’t equal 137hp. It’s the magic of hybridity and Integrated Motor Assist. More importantly, torque is up 23lb ft to 140lb ft. All this means the 0-62 time comes down from 9.7 to 9.0 seconds, still not exactly face-distorting but at least going in the right direction. Top speed is 124mph, with unchanged combined consumption and CO2 figures of 56.5 mpg and 116g/km, giving it some company car appeal for those with flexy-choice.

So that folk know you’re humming around in the latest model, there are styling revisions inside and especially outside, where you’ve got a new front bumper, grille, rear diffuser, new 17-inch alloys, and a couple of new colours, Aurora Violet as you see here, and the no doubt equally sudden Energetic Yellow.

The revised CR-Z goes on sale in the UK in January 2013.

Comments (40) Join the discussion on the forum

  • sato 10 Oct 2012

    On paper, this is exactly what I am looking for.
    Something that the girlfriend can drive to and from work without spending too much on petrol, while being interesting and fun enough not to bore me to tears when I have to drive it.
    They even cited my other car, the Elise, as a vehicle whose dynamics they wanted to aspire to.

    I'm yet to drive or even sit in one yet, but apart from ubiquity it seems it fails to trump a Mini Cooper in any aspect. The same Mini that is at the end of it's life cycle. The concept is great, it just does n't sound like they have quite pulled it off.

  • JonnyVTEC 10 Oct 2012

    I love it how since the Prius every seems to be qualified in Lifecycle Analysis of cars.

  • Dave Hedgehog 10 Oct 2012

    just another white goods box, zero interest

  • mug81 10 Oct 2012

    Look chaps, I hate- and I do mean hate- all of the available hybrids currently on sale right now. When people get going at me (being a known petrolhead) about say the Prius for example, it makes my blood boil. Do they listen when I tell them that the extra 5-10 mpg is utterly negated by the extra energy necessary to create, let alone break down their halo model? No they do not. However, as enthusiasts we are smart enough to know that there must be a place- not necessarily a huge one, but a place nonetheless- for an attempt at least to keep the misguided world-warriors happy. And in order to do so, we have to learn and develop tech... And the only way to do so given the lack of previous info is trial and error.

    So yes, these cars are ultimately rubbish. But it's a work in progress, and we need the big brands to continue to do so in order to eventually keep funding the cars we love (and the ones we love to hate).

    Let's thinks about the bigger picture, and come on, just because we don't agree doesn't make it wrong, right? Just don't buy them!

    Mini rant over and out.

  • daydotz 09 Oct 2012

    i like the idea of them in theory its a shame in the real world they not that green

    the grey interior is dreadful though yuck

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