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PREVIEW: 2011 Honda CR-Z Hybrid Two-Seat Sports Coupe

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2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

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While the 2010 Honda Insight is the company's big hybrid news for this year, it's far from the only new hybrid headed to us from Honda. As we've noted before, Honda will launch two more hybrids in 2010 as 2011 models.

Now, Honda has released photos of its "CR-Z Concept 2009" show car, to be displayed at the Tokyo Motor Show, opening October 24. The 2011 Honda CR-Z two-seat sports coupe will go on sale in Japan next February, and should arrive in the U.S. next spring.

2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

Enlarge Photo

2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

Enlarge Photo

2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

Enlarge Photo

2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

2009 Honda CR-Z concept car

Enlarge Photo

Small, sporty two-seater

The CR-Z  is the spiritual successor to the 1983-1991 Honda Civic CR-X. That car delivered zippy performance from a small 1.5-liter engine, plus superb gas mileage (EPA ratings of 41 mpg city / 50 mpg highway).

The EPA rates the five-passenger 2010 Honda Insight hatchback at 40 miles per gallon city / 43 mpg highway, for a combined 41 mpg. We would expect even better mileage from the smaller, lighter two-seat 2011 CR-Z, though it may also be more powerful.

The 2011 Honda CR-Z is  car is rumored to feature a peak power rating of 140 horsepower combined between its engine and electric motor. By comparison, the 2010 Insight's 1.3-liter engine is rated at 97 hp, and its ultra-thin electric motor at 10 hp.

Rollerskate handling?

The CR-Z will share the platform of the 2010 Insight, and we deeply hope that it provides the same delightful rollerskate handling that made the CR-X so beloved 20 years ago.

In our drive report of the 2010 Honda Insight, we found its ride to be "hard and jiggly" with more body lean than other Hondas. A smaller, lower, and lighter CR-Z should do better.

More practical for production

The wedge shape of the original 2007 CR-Z concept car has been refined into a more practical and production-ready profile on the CR-Z Concept 2009.

Honda released only the images, sans any specific details, but clearly this year's concept is closer to production trim in such items as bumper, headlights, and interior fittings.

Honda also hasn't said anything about pricing, though it squeezed every possible cost out of the 2010 Insight to bring it in at $20,470 including delivery, making it the lowest-priced hybrid sold in the U.S. Given its sporty nature, we anticipate that the 2011 CR-Z will cost a bit more.

And despite its subcompact (or even smaller) size, we expect the 2011 Honda CR-Z to do well in U.S. safety tests. Its platform mate, the 2010 Insight, was a top safety pick by the IIHS, for instance.

Next in line: 2011 Honda Fit Hybrid

The third member of the hybrid trio is the Fit Hybrid,  an adaptation of the current 2009 Honda Fit now fitted with a 1.5-liter gasoline engine. That car will go on sale "before the end of 2010".

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Comments (4)
  1. What a great looking car!! Honda has a winner on their hands...not only is it a new sporty 2 seater car but its also a hybrid!! Expect to see these cars everywhere on the road in the coming years.
    This is of course all assuming Honda releases it with a smart pricing. Rumours have been anywhere from $20,000 USD all the way up to $35,000+ fully loaded. A poll over at http://www.crzforum.com seems to put most fans wanting a car for the $25,000 range. Time will tell.
     
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  2. This is a great car, I like Honda cars...
     
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  3. The world economy is not healthy yet, so if Honda's CR-Z is priced north of the $18-20K range, no matter the mpg figures, it will not go over well here in the States. Americans generally see Volume as Value. A small car, in our country, whether it has first class content is seen as something that should be inexpensive... unless it is marketed as exclusive.
    I've always had small efficient cars, many of them Hondas, since their first CVCC. The CR-Z would be at the top of my want list, if it's not dumbed down for production. Will have to wait until Honda decides to let it out of the factory so we can have a test ride.
     
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  4. So, someone explain to me how the latest model "GREEN" car gets worse milage than the model it replaces? All these large corporations are just blowing smoke up your you know what. How do they lose 7mpg and then tell consumers they're helping save the world with "GREEN" improvements to their vehicles? Another case of oil companies 'managing' the press and pulling one over on the public.
     
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