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2014 Honda CR-Z HPD: Performance Up, Economy Down For Hybrid Hatch?

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2014 Honda CR-Z HPD Supercharged

2014 Honda CR-Z HPD Supercharged

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Poor Honda. It launches the CR-Z, perhaps hoping to rekindle the spirit of the much-beloved 1980s CR-X lines, but when the car is released it doesn't really please anyone.

As a sporty hatchback, it isn't fast enough for enthusiasts. And as a hybrid, it isn't economical enough.

The 2014 Honda CR-Z HPD fixes one of those abilities, but it probably isn't the one most Green Car Reports readers will be interested in.

Instead, Honda has chosen to satisfy the performance fans. HPD stands for Honda Performance Development, and central to the car's new character is a supercharger installation boosting output to 187 horsepower--up from around 132 bhp.

HPD also throws a sport suspension kit, performance brake kit, a limited-slip differential, uprated clutch, a new set of 18-inch alloy wheels and body styling kit into the mix.

It's certainly enough to turn the CR-Z from mild-mannered hybrid hatchback into a more focused machine, and the best part is that it's all available to retro-fit--so you don't necessarily need to spend $20,000 on a brand-new CR-Z plus the cost of the package to enjoy the extra performance.

But as far as economy goes? That could be a different story. In fact, there's no mention of economy anywhere within HPD's promotional material.

With all that extra power, we certainly doubt it'd match the regular CR-Z's 31 mpg city, 38 highway and 34 mpg combined figures--with the manual transmission. Unless you drive very gently, that is--but who buys an eight-grand performance package to travel slowly?

Even then, you're paying far more for a hotted-up CR-Z than you would a $22,195 Ford Fiesta ST, which gets close at 29 mpg combined.

In reality, we'd probably save some money, skip the performance package, accept that the CR-Z isn't that quick, and enjoy its mix of modest frugality and fun handling...

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