Honda CR-Z (2010–2015)

Model History

October 2007

CR-Z Concept shown

Tthe CR-Z Concept explores the potential of a compact, lightweight sportscar that’s exciting to drive, but has minimal impact on the environment. The CR-Z features the latest Honda hybrid IMA powertrain to deliver low emissions and impressive economy. According to the Japanese design team, CR-Z stands for Compact Renaissance.

February 2010

CR-Z unveiled

For the first time, a fuel efficient, low emission parallel hybrid system is combined with a precise and driver focussed 6-speed manual gearbox – made possible only because of the flexibility of Honda’s IMA hybrid system.

The manual transmission is complemented by a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine, which is new to the UK and a key component in the CR-Z’s unique offering. The eager-to-rev nature of the medium capacity engine, is enhanced by the additional 78Nm of torque provided by the 14PS electric motor, which is situated between the engine and transmission.

The 1.5-litre engine, combined with the power and torque of the IMA parallel hybrid system, gives an overall power output of 124bhp and 174Nm of torque. The peak torque figure is identical to that of the 1.8-litre Civic but offers CO2 emissions of just 117g/km (35 g/km fewer than the Civic 1.8-litre model).

The electric motor gives the CR-Z an unusually flat torque curve with the maximum arriving at just 1500rpm – unusually low for a naturally-aspirated engine. Teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission, the IMA assisted engine provides great in-gear flexibility, low exhaust emissions and a sporty exhaust note.

To maximise driver choice and enhance the day to day drivability of the car, the CR-Z has been fitted with a 3-Mode Drive System. This unique feature allows the driver to choose between three driving modes, which alter the responses of the throttle, steering, idle stop timing, climate control and the level of assistance provided by the IMA system.

In developing this 3-Mode Drive System, Honda allows the driver to choose whether they wish to maximise enjoyment, economy or strike a balance between the two. The aim of Honda’s engineers was to give customers more choice in how the CR-Z would drive, depending on their needs and desires at the time.

The European version of the CR-Z has daytime running lights (DTRLs) with eight LEDs that bring out the lower line of the sweeping headlights. This is the first time DTRLs have been fitted to a production Honda, and combined with the front fog lights provide a tailored look to the European specification CR-Z.

The shallow raked roofline and sharply truncated tail of the CR-Z are features shared with many Hondas past and present. This slippery design allows the car to cut through the air with minimal disturbance, lowering fuel consumption and emissions. The UK specification CR-Z has a 2+2 layout, enabling customers to carry smaller adults for short distances or children on longer journeys. The rear seats can be flattenned in a simple one-touch motion to increase luggage capacity when it‘s needed.

The dashboard of the new coupe has a two-level construction, with a dark upper portion appearing to float above a light grey lower dash section, which continues into the centre of the inner door panels.

Compared to the dimensions of the Insight, the CR-Z is shorter in length by 295mm and its wheelbase is 115mm shorter than the Insight’s. This enhances agility and reduces kerb weight by 44kg compared to its 5-door, five-seat, family car sibling. Forged aluminium MacPherson struts have been used in the CR-Z to reduce weight and increase strength over the pressed steel items used in the Insight. The CR-Z suspension features new springs and damper settings and the tolerances are individual to the compact coupe.

The ambient lighting of the speedometer is used in the same way as in the Insight, to guide the driver in driving more economically. In addition to the Eco Assist function, the CR-Z’s meter lighting is linked to the 3-mode drive system. Changing from red to blue and then green depending on whether SPORT, NORM or ECON is selected.

October 2010

Eibach launched a new range of suspension and wheel spacer upgrades for the CR-Z. This is a fully TUV approved kit, using pre-fatigued, heat treated and surface-treated springs to lower the chassis by around 30mm. Not only does the resultant lower centre of gravity improve handling and turn-in, but the CR-Z also gains a useful improvement in stance, augmenting its cutting-edge looks even further.

Thanks to the progressive winding on each spring, ride quality is maintained at almost factory levels, whilst allowing the car to stay much flatter under cornering. Optimised to work with the OEM dampers, the four spring kit costs £143.48 + VAT and comes with a comprehensive 5 year warranty. The final finishing touch comes in the form of Eibach's hub-centring spacer kits. Offering owners a wide range of track increases, these beautifully machined components offer a high-integrity solution from just £81.74 + VAT per pair. (10mm versions)

April 2011

CR-Z Mugen unveiled

Will be supercharged and deliver around 200PS. Mugen has revealed that the high-performance CR-Z hybrid will use a supercharger to deliver over 50 per cent more power and torque from the Honda’s petrol-electric drivetrain.

The tuned version of the hybrid coupe is expected to produce around 200PS, and 181lb.ft of torque, with significantly enhanced performance throughout the rev range. The car retains the Honda IMA electric motor and the original 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, which has been rebuilt to Mugen specification with bespoke upgraded and strengthened internal components. To give a fully integrated and smooth power delivery, Mugen Euro has developed the Mugen iCF system, which allows all the elements of the electro-mechanical system to work in harmony.

As well as improvements under the bonnet, Mugen has used its extensive motorsport and Honda tuning experience to further develop the chassis dynamics, with 5-step adjustable dampers fitted front and rear, an increase in track width and a large reduction in overall weight.

Bigger brake discs and 4-pot monobloc callipers help stop the more powerful car, while 17-inch forged alloy Mugen GP wheels reduce unsprung mass. Elsewhere, the CR-Z gets some cosmetic enhancements in the form of bespoke body parts, including front and rear under spoilers, side skirts and a rear wing.

With almost 50 per cent more power than the standard car, this 175 PS hybrid marks the strengthening of the engineering partnership between Honda and Mugen Euro. The result is outstanding power to weight, and increased torque helping to deliver 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds - over 3 seconds quicker than the standard car.

December 2012

Honda CR-Z facelifted

Prices for the revised CR-Z will start from £20,550 OTR for the Sport variant and £23,050 for the top of the range GT. The CR-Z has been given a range of enhancements to performance and styling and will be available in dealerships from January 2013.

As the makers of the world’s first sporty hybrid, Honda wanted to build on the sporty performance of the CR-Z by increasing the power output. The car’s agile 1.5 litre petrol engine has been updated with changes to the Engine Control Unit (ECU) and the variable valve timing system, boosting power by 7 PS from 114 PS to 121 PS.

The IMA hybrid system benefits from the addition of a Lithium Ion battery, replacing the previous Nickel-metal hybrid version, and an increase in power from 14 PS (10kW) to 20 PS (15kW). These improvements result in an overall combined output of 137 PS at 6600 rpm (+13 PS) and 190 Nm of torque (+16 Nm). The 0-62 mph sprint time falls from 10.0 sec to 9.1 sec on the Sport model and 10.1 sec down to 9.5 sec on the GT. The top speed is 124 mph.

Further emphasising the coupes sporty credentials is the introduction of the Sport Plus (S+) boost system which is activated by pressing the S+ button on the steering wheel. Once the button is pushed, an electric boost kicks in when the accelerator is pressed to give up to 10 seconds of increased acceleration.

This increase in power and performance has not compromised fuel economy and CO2 emissions, with the CR-Z retaining its competitive 56.5 mpg on the combined cycle and 116 g/km (Sport) and 54.3 mpg and 122 g/km (GT).

As well as a performance boost the 2013 model has undergone some styling updates. Two new colours will be available in the form of Aurora Violet and Energetic Yellow. A new bumper design frames the revised front grille and complements the aerodynamic diffuser at the rear. The GT model will now feature 17 inch alloy wheels to offer a bolder sportier look.

Honda has also updated the interior, making subtle changes to the colour scheme and improvements to the cabin storage, as a result of revisions to the door casing.

What does a Honda CR-Z (2010 – 2015) cost?