2007 Honda CR-Z Concept
While the 2010 Honda Insight has gotten a lot of attention lately, it's far from Honda's only hybrid. Now the company has announced that it will put two more hybrid-electric vehicles on sale in Japan next year: the 2011 Honda CR-Z and the 2011 Honda Fit Hybrid.
Honda had previously announced both cars, but this is the first time it has confirmed timing. The CR-Z goes on sale in Japan next February, and will likely be shown at this fall's 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. The Fit Hybrid will go on sale "before the end of 2010".
Small, sporty two-seater
The 2011 Honda CR-Z will be a small, sporty hybrid two-seater, 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-door, five-passenger 2010 Honda Insight at 40 miles per gallon city / 43 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 41 mpg. Expect even better mileage from the smaller, lighter two-seat 2011 CR-Z.
We hope the CR-Z also provides the same delightful rollerskate handling that made the CR-X so beloved 20 years ago.
While the CR-Z will share the platform of the 2010 Insight, the Fit Hybrid will be an adaptation of the current 2009 Honda Fit now fitted with a 1.5-liter gasoline engine.
The Honda Fit Hybrid will arrive in Japan before the end of 2010, adding a hybrid option to one of the best subcompact hatchbacks in the US market. The gasoline Fit has proven immensely popular for its flexibility and $15,000 starting price; a hybrid can only add to its allure.
Fit Hybrid v Insight
We'll be curious to see how the Fit Hybrid compares to the Insight, as we felt in our recent 2010 Honda Insight review that the dedicated hybrid might face some challenges when compared head-to-head with the cheaper gasoline version of the Fit.
Both new hybrids will be powered by Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA), currently used in the Insight as well as the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. In the Insight, the IMA adds a 13hp electric motor to a 1.3-liter gasoline engine for a total of 98 horsepower.
And there's more to come from Honda on the hybrid front. The company also said it's "currently developing a new hybrid system which is intended to be installed on mid- to large-size vehicles."
So within a few years, Honda will have a complete range of hybrids, from the tiny two-seat CR-Z through the Civic Hybrid to as-yet-unspecified larger hybrid vehicles.
After selling only 300,000 hybrids globally in 10 years (against Toyota's total, which is now nearing 2 million), Honda has clearly doubled down on hybrids. Stay tuned to GreenCarReports.com for more Honda hybrid news as it comes.
2009 Honda Fit