JIMS: HONDA CR-Z

0
55

The world’s first hybrid sports coupé

Launched in South Africa in 2010, the Honda CR-Z hybrid sports coupé uniquely links the environmental advantages of a clean and efficient hybrid drivetrain and the sporty appeal of a six-speed manual gearbox to a striking, streamlined 2+2 design.

The result is a highly attractive, aspirational and advanced performance coupé that’s not only unmistakably Honda, but has already changed perceptions about hybrid cars forever.

The CR-Z’s driver-focussed chassis is equipped with a wide track and short wheelbase in the interests of wieldy road manners, while the lightweight suspension has been tuned for taut, crisp responses.

The highly efficient steering system’s electric assistance has been fine-tuned to deliver a natural, linear heft and feedback, while generously proportioned wheels and tyres deliver optimum grip while minimising unsprung mass.

At the heart of the CR-Z is a sophisticated parallel hybrid drivetrain with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA), specifically optimised to deliver athletic motoring. The system combines a high-efficiency 1,5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine with a compact, high-torque electric motor.

The motor is located between the engine and the clutch, and contributes up to 78 Nm of additional torque at low to medium engine speeds.

Overall output of the parallel system is comparable with that of a conventional 1,8-litre petrol engine, offering 91 kW of maximum power at 6 100 r/min, and 174 Nm of torque. In fact, the IMA system provides instant torque, ensuring immediate response in-gear tractability.

The acceleration of the CR-Z is almost turbine-like, accompanied by a sustained linearity and appetite for revs that contributes substantially to the its sporty character. The dashing coupé despatches the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 10,0 sec exactly, and achieves a top speed of 200 km/h.

THREE-MODE DRVE SYSTEM

The CR-Z’s parallel hybrid drive system is operated using an innovative drive system with three driver-selectable modes. Each has its own set of operating parameters, which determine aspects such as throttle response, steering feel, and IMA boost.

The three settings – Normal, Sport and Econ – are easily selected and engage instantly.

The six-speed manual gearbox is a first for a hybrid car and significantly enhances the driving experience and driver involvement. The ratios have been selected for optimum response in lower gears, and cruising capability and comfort on longer journeys.

The coupé is credited with a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of only 5,0 litres/100 km, while the CO2 emissions rating stands at 117 g/km – below the 120 g/km emissions tax threshold.

Aesthetically, the Honda CR-Z turns heads. The front displays a strong Honda identity, while the profile execution is sleek and smooth, with a sculpted waistline that underscores the CR-Z’s dynamic potential.

The interior mirrors the exterior design’s focus on dynamic appeal and innovative execution. The dashboard has been shaped specifically to attract and retain the driver’s attention, while also providing an at-a-glance overview of the various controls and instruments.

A Multi-Information Display shows a variety of trip-orientated data, while an Eco Assist Bar provides a graphic display of how frugally the car is being driven. At the end of a journey, the display even shows an eco-score, and compares the score of the most recent trip to the previous three journeys.

The CR-Z boasts a comprehensive level of standard specification, including full leather upholstery, a comprehensive entertainment solution with MP3/WMA capability and a USB interface, automatic climate control, electrically adjustable windows and mirrors, and cruise control.

The comprehensive active and passive safety system array includes an all-disc ABS braking system with EBD and EBA, as well as Vehicle Stability Assist and Hill Start Assist. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard, together with inertia reel seatbelts front and rear, and front active headrests. Rear ISOFIX child seat mountings are also provided.