We're eagerly waiting to get our hands on a 2011 Honda CR-Z for a test drive. The two-seat coupe, Honda's latest dedicated hybrid, is the spiritual successor to the 1983-1991 Honda Civic CRX, and we're devoutly hoping it's as fun to drive as its predecessor.
The performance numbers aren't particularly stellar, with acceleration from 0 to 60 mph quoted at 9.7 seconds, and projected fuel economy ratings of 36 mpg city, 38 mpg highway when fitted with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
But small cars that aren't very fast can still be major fun to drive. If Honda can duplicate the CRX's rollerskate nippiness, it may have more of a winner on its hands than the 2010 Honda Insight, which has been a disappointment, selling only 20,500 in the U.S. last year.
The 2011 CR-Z uses the latest generation of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, including a standard nickel-metal-hydride battery pack under the rear deck. To cut costs, the CR-Z is built on the same platform as the 2010 Insight five-door hatchback.
Its 15-kilowatt electric motor is mounted between a 122-horsepower, 1.5-liter engine and either the CVT or--for the sportiest of drivers--a six-speed manual gearbox.
Until we can get behind the wheel, we'll leave you to dream with two CR-Z videos sent to us by our counterparts at Motor Authority.
The first is from Honda itself. Interviews with Honda executives at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, where the 2011 Honda CR-Z was officially launched, connect the car to the "passion" and "fond memories" so many enthusiasts, including a former owner, have for the classic CRX.
It also points out that the original CRX was downright Spartan against the new 2011 CR-Z. It didn't have six airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, or any of the infotainment options that are now expected on any new car.
The second video is just one in what we expect to be a long series of CR-Z tuner videos.
In this case, it's from tuner shop Noblesse, and shows a modified right-hand-drive CR-Z hybrid during early track tests. Now that looks fun. And it just whets our appetite for that road test, which should come sometime this spring.
Some of the YouTube commenters aren't convinced, though, which reminds us that rumors of a hot-rod CR-Z Type R version persist, giving our Motor Authority colleagues visions of a future CR-Z hybrid racing series. We can dream ....
The 2011 Honda CR-Z went on sale in Japan in February. It will reach U.S. dealerships by early summer.