Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Honda's Ace in the Hole, The 2011 Honda CRZ Hybrid

Honda has something that Toyota doesn't and it just might be want Honda needs to outgun Toyota in the hybrid war between the two companies. What is this little something that Honda has? The 2011 Honda CRZ Hybrid.

The Honda CRZ is a two seat hybrid disguised in a sports car body or a sports car fitted with a hybrid powertrain. Though Honda wanted to make the CRZ in a gasoline version too, they decided to make it as a dedicated hybrid to be on par with hybrid offerings from Toyota.

The Honda CRZ is powered by a 1.8 liter engine taken from the Civic. The engine is rated at 140hp, significantly higher than the Insight's 98 hp. The hybrid components will be nearly identical to that of the Insight to keep costs down and provide a working power train in a short amount of time.

The sporty nature of the CRZ comes from its light mass and relatively powerful engine. The Honda CRZ will weigh in around 2,800 pounds. The Civic engine is a high revving mill and the electronic motors will provide ample low end torque. Combined with an optional manual transmission, a rarity in hybrids, and you have all the necessities for a sports car.

The pictures tell the story as the Honda CRZ does not look like your typical hybrid. Its coupe body style and wedgy design make it stand out among hybrids. The name CRZ is derived from Honda's long gone and much loved 2 door coupe the CRX. Honda is hoping consumers will feel the same way about the styling and sporty nature and buy the Honda CRZ not because it's a hybrid, but because the car is fun to drive and attractive to look at.

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