Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
November 20, 2012
The Honda CR-Z tries to blend sportiness and hybrid efficiency. However, it doesn't do so well on either one and has been a poor seller. Through October, Honda has only sold 3,705 CR-Zs (down 64.7% year over year in sales). Still Honda still believes in the CR-Z and has made some changes for the 2013 model year.
Outside, the CR-Z gets a reworked front fascia, new wheels, and a rear diffuser. Other outside changes include two new paint colors and and optional LED daytime running lights. Honda has also made small changes inside with new trim, redesigned door panels and new standard features like a rearview camera and Bluetooth.
The biggest change deals with the battery. Honda changed out nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack for a lithium-ion pack. The switch helps bump horsepower and torque to 130 and up to 140 (increases of 8 HP and 12 lb-ft). Fuel economy has also increased a little bit, with the manual getting 31 City and 38 Highway, while CVT-equipped cars get 36 City and 39 Highway.
Other drivetrain changes include a reworked manual transmission with a larger clutch and lower final drive ratio, and a new Plus Sport System that gives the system an extra boost of acceleration under certain conditions.
Pricing for the 2013 CR-Z starts at $19,975* for the base model and $21,655* for the CR-Z EX (pricing doesn't include $790 destination charge). The new CR-Z arrives at Honda dealers this week.
William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at email@example.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
Press Release is on Page 2
2013 Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid Coupe Gets Performance Enhancements, Fresh Styling and Host of Feature Upgrades
The only manual-transmission hybrid for sale in the U.S. adds more horsepower and value to its efficient, fun-to-drive appeal
11/19/2012 - TORRANCE, Calif.
The 2013 Honda CR-Z goes on sale November 21, 2012, with a host of powertrain, styling and feature upgrades adding to its sleek appeal and sporty handling. More power from an all-new Lithium-Ion battery pack improves performance while also improving the CR-Z's already impressive EPA mpg ratings. Styling upgrades include revised interior trim along with a new front fascia, a new finish for the 16-inch alloy wheels, an aerodynamically functional new rear diffuser and two new exterior colors – Passion Berry Pearl and Polished Metal Metallic.
Standard features on all 2013 Honda CR-Z models include Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, Bluetooth® Audio, rearview camera, an Expanded View Driver's Mirror, AM/FM/CD/USB audio system with six speakers, automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, remote entry and cruise control. To give drivers even more access to the CR-Z's performance capabilities, the 2013 Honda CR-Z is also equipped with a new Plus Sport System, which allows additional on-demand electric boost via a steering wheel-mounted "S+" button.
With a starting MSRP of $19,9751, two CR-Z models are offered for 2013, including the well-equipped base CR-Z and the feature-rich CR-Z EX. A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment and an automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is available. The up-level CR-Z EX adds Auto-On/Off High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlights, LED daytime running lights (DRL), a 360-Watt AM/FM/CD Premium Audio System with seven speakers including subwoofer, perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and more. The CR-Z EX is also available with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™2 with FM traffic and voice recognition, Pandora® Interface and an SMS text messaging function.
The improved horsepower and torque on the 2013 Honda CR-Z does not come with a fuel-economy penalty, as the new, more powerful Lithium-Ion battery pack helps boost EPA-rated fuel economy figures by 1 mpg city for CVT equipped models, and 1 mpg highway for CR-Z models equipped with the six-speed manual transmission.
Summary of Changes for 2013
-Revised front fascia styling
-New 16-inch alloy wheel finish
-New rear diffuser
-New Lithium-Ion battery pack
-Increased horsepower and torque
-New Plus Sport System
-Revised interior trim
-Available two-tone combi (black/red) seats
-StandardExpanded View Driver's Mirror
-Standard Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®
-Standard Bluetooth® Audio
-Available Pandora® Interface and SMS text message function
-Available LED daytime running lights (DRL)
-New Passion Berry Pearl and Polished Metal Metallic exterior colors
The CR-Z hybrid powertrain is a unique variation of Honda's original IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) technology, which debuted on the 2000 Honda Insight, the first hybrid vehicle available for sale in North America. The system in the CR-Z utilizes a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, 16-valve, single-overhead cam engine with "intelligent" Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) that receives additional power from the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system's DC brushless electric motor.
The hybrid CR-Z's electric motor assists in acceleration and also acts as a generator during braking or coasting to capture kinetic energy that recharges the new Lithium-Ion battery pack. The gasoline engine can automatically turn off during vehicle stops to improve efficiency. When starting on steep inclines from a stop with the manual transmission, hill start assist temporarily prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards during the moment between releasing the brake, depressing the throttle and releasing the clutch.
For 2013, assist from the electric motor has jumped from 10 kW to 15 kW, thanks to the new higher voltage (144-volt) Lithium-Ion battery pack. The CR-Z now delivers a combined peak output of 130 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 140 lb-ft. of torque (127 lb-ft. on CVT-equipped models), a gain of eight horsepower and 12 lb-ft of torque (4 lb-ft on CVT equipped models). Manual-transmission versions also receive both a larger clutch and a new lower final drive ratio.
Even with better performance, EPA fuel economy3 ratings for the 2013 Honda CR-Z have improved. On CVT-equipped models, the EPA city/hwy/combined rating is up 1 mpg city to 36/39/37 mpg, while models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission see an EPA mpg rating of 31/38/34, a gain of 1 mpg highway. The CR-Z is also rated as an Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) in states that adhere to California Air Resource Board (CARB) ZEV standards (EPA Tier 2, Bin 2 in all states).
To help drivers make use of this improved performance, a new Plus Sport System is standard on the 2013 Honda CR-Z. If the battery is more than 50 percent charged and the CR-Z is traveling over 19 mph, the driver can activate this feature using the "S+" button on the steering wheel. When activated and the accelerator is pressed, electric boost begins, delivering increased acceleration for up to five seconds. A flashing gauge on the dashboard indicates when the Plus Sport System is active. The Plus Sport System can be used in Econ, Normal or Sport modes.
Enhanced 3-Mode Drive System
Activated via three backlit buttons to the left of the steering wheel, the CR-Z's 3-mode drive system allows the driver to choose among three individual performance modes:
-Sport mode enhances engine throttle responsiveness, electric power steering effort and the electric motor power assist.
-Normal mode standardizes steering, engine response, motor assist and air conditioning settings.
-Econ mode can increase the potential for enhanced fuel efficiency by optimizing throttle angle for smooth acceleration, lower engine rpm and limiting power and torque by approximately 4-percent (except at wide-open throttle). It can also reduce the air conditioning's overall load on the engine and modify the cruise control to operate more efficiently.
The CR-Z's "one-motion" exterior wedge shape begins at its low-slung hood to form a broad forward stance, with its side profile's deeply inset beltline adding a dynamic element. For 2013, a new front fascia and mesh grille help widen the presence of the CR-Z, and this effect is increased by the new "floating" lower front spoiler lip. New brighter chrome plating on the headlight assemblies tinged with blue clearcoat hint at the CR-Z's hybrid powertrain. The new rear diffuser mimics the floating lip of the front spoiler while also improving aerodynamic performance, and the lower portion of the tail lights receive the same blue clearcoat treatment. Exterior colors include Crystal Black Pearl, Milano Red, North Shore Blue Pearl, Premium White Pearl, new Passion Berry Pearl (exclusive to the Honda CR-Z), and new Polished Metal Metallic.
The CR-Z's front MacPherson strut and rear H-shaped torsion beam suspension are tuned to provide a sporty driving experience. All 2013 CR-Z models are equipped with new darker-tinged 16x6-inch aluminum wheels with finished spoke tips and 195/55R-16 tires, while accessory 17x7 alloy wheels with 205/45R-17 tires are available. The standard anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD) uses ventilated front discs and solid rear discs. The low vehicle height, short wheelbase and placement of the battery and other hybrid components beneath the rear cargo area further contribute to a low center of gravity and responsive, sporty handling. Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering enhances steering performance and improves efficiency.
A high-tech appearance and intuitive controls define the CR-Z's newly revised interior. For 2013, interior changes include new metallic trim on the door pulls and latches, center console, speaker grilles and lower steering-wheel spokes. The inner door panel has been redesigned to provide easier access to the storage space, with the horizontal bar on the speaker housing eliminated, and a bottle holder added to the pocket. The door-pad trim has also been upgraded with a new, more upscale lamination. For 2013, CR-Z EX and Navi trims will provide an all-new black and red interior trim combination that adds new two-toned combi seats, and colored accents to the door panels and floor mats.
The CR-Z's ultra-modern instrument panel gauges illuminate with a 3-dimensional blue color theme resulting in a multi-layered appearance. The upper portion of the dashboard extends toward the driver to provide a wraparound cockpit environment. Premium sport-oriented seats are designed to provide firm lateral support along with everyday driving comfort. A mid-ship console behind the front seats optimizes cargo space, and a hard-shell separator can be closed to create additional hidden storage.
The CR-Z features a 6-speaker, 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with an auxiliary input jack for connection to a portable audio player, and all models include a USB audio interface4 for connecting an iPod®5 or other compatible audio device. Other audio features include speed-sensitive volume control and CD/MP3 text readout. The radio data system shows supplemental programming information from participating radio stations while also offering search-by-genre capability (not available on the CR-Z EX with navigation). Now standard, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and a rearview camera further expand the CR-Z's appeal.
A Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™2 is available on the CR-Z EX model and features a 6.5-inch screen and rearview camera display. For 2013, CR-Z EX Navi models add FM traffic, Pandora® and an SMS text messaging function. The navigation system database includes more than 7-million points of interest and integrates the audio system, while the voice recognition feature is capable of inputting numbers, street names and cities, in addition to more than 600 commands.
The CR-Z demonstrates a commitment to safety in its design and construction. The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure helps protect vehicle occupants in a frontal collision. Additional safety technologies include: standard dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; standard front-side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); side-curtain airbags, active head restraints; an anti-lock braking system (ABS); a tire pressure monitoring system; and a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle.
The Honda CR-Z earned a TOP SAFETY PICK rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) and 4-star Overall Vehicle Score in federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests.
The 2013 Honda CR-Z is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile new-car limited warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion limited warranty, as well as a 15-year/150,000-mile emissions warranty when the vehicle is registered and normally operated in California and certain states that have adopted California Zero-Emission Vehicle regulations.
Connect with Honda:
For consumers: http://automobiles.honda.com/cr-z/
1 MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $790 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
2 The Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ is available on the CR-Z EX in the United States, except Alaska. Please see your Honda dealer for details.
3 Based on 2013 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
4 The USB Audio Interface is used for direct connection to and control of some current digital audio players and other USB devices that contain MP3, WMA or AAC music files. Some USB devices with security software and digital rights-protected files may not work. Please see your Honda dealer for details.
5 iPod not included. Compatible devices include fifth-generation iPods and later and iPod Nano.