The North American International Auto Show brings together automotive writers from around the globe.  Alongside many of the writers, at least those who attend during public show days, there are interested people.  Potential buyers are on scene offering their opinion about a particular vehicle or design trend.

The Associated Press no doubt had many journalists attend this years show and have recapped some of the highlights as well as some of the opinions from eager show goers.  The upcoming Honda CR-Z hybrid drew considerable attention at the show.  The vehicle received praise for its hybrid efficiency characteristics while maintaining the sporty looks of a traditional vehicles.

The CR-Z is expected to go on sale later this year at a price that has yet to be announced.  It's powered by a 122 hp 1.5 liter four cylinder engine and a hybrid powertrain.  The CR-Z is unique in the hybrid segment because it offers a six speed manual transmission whereas most other hybrids employ a CVT or automatic transmission.  The vehicle returns up to 38 mpg in highway driving while offering a sporty driving experience.

AP Automotive writer Tom Krisher had a chance to ask some show-goers how they felt about the CR-Z and responses show an acceptance of the vehicle.  Rebecca Lindland of IHS Global Insight said, "It's really going after the performance crowd.  That's an issue because most greenies aren't performance oriented."  And Sandeep Chelliah, an 18 year old Windsor native said, "This really has a good look to it even though it's a hybrid."

General consensus appears to show the CR-Z has created a new market segment, the performance hybrid segment.  This vehicle offers performance better than a Prius at the cost of lower fuel economy.  However, the CR-Z still offers better fuel economy that similar sized gasoline powered vehicles.  For those who want performance and fuel economy, the CR-Z may be the answer.

Source:  AP Article published in Detroit Free Press Sunday Jan. 24th