The 2011 Honda CR-Z hybrid hot-hatch was meant to be the car that showed hybrids could be sporty as well as green, but its paltry 122 horsepower and dismal 0-60 times were never going to excite anyone. And don’t think its fuel economy is anything to write home about; the CR-Z returns 36/38 mpg city/highway for the CVT-equipped model and 31/37 mpg for the manual-equipped version--numbers that numerous small cars can match these days.
Not surprisingly, the car quickly fell off the radar and sales in several key markets, namely Honda’s home market of Japan, tanked. But there is hope on the horizon, though it may mean the CR-Z will have to ditch the element that makes it unique: its hybrid drivetrain.
According to the guys at Autocar
, Honda is developing a new gas-only turbocharged model at its Tochigi R&D center in Japan. The turbocharged CR-Z is said to run a downsized 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine delivering upwards of 200 horsepower and it could even be badged with the fabled Type R lettering.
Honda is yet to confirm the report but if the project is given the green light we could see the turbocharged CR-Z in showrooms as early as next year.
Interestingly, at last month’s SEMA show, Honda showed off several modified versions of its CR-Z including one that had a turbocharger installed. This lifted output to around 175 horsepower, and when combined with the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) setup the car was developing close to 200 horsepower.
The turbocharged CR-Z, dubbed the CR-Z Hybrid R Concept
, was the creation of Honda Performance Development Inc., the automaker’s motorsports division here in the U.S., and highlights the fact that Honda is at least considering the idea of a CR-Z with forced induction technology.