Last post on Oct 17, 2011 at 9:21 AM
You are in the Honda CR-Z
What is this discussion about?
Honda CR-Z Hybrid, Hybrid Cars, Coupe
#119 of 159 lots of interesting behind-the-scenes stuff here
Mar 08, 2010 (6:04 pm)
Including the fact that there might some day be a CRZ type-R:
TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co.'s new CR-Z sporty hybrid is the car that nearly wasn't.
The wedge-shaped, two-seat hatchback was almost killed twice because engineers weren't convinced it was a unique concept and because U.S. bosses originally didn't want it.
When Norio Tomobe was appointed chief engineer of the project in the summer of 2004, the car was still a blank sheet. And in the early years, the working model had a traditional gasoline engine.
.....going hybrid brought its own problems. Today critics assail the CR-Z as neither especially fuel-efficient nor sporty. And Tomobe is quick to admit at least one thing he wishes the CR-Z had: "more horsepower."
He said he would like a Type R sporty version of the CR-Z someday with a spunkier power-to-weight ratio that lives up to its sporty styling.
But in the meantime, the CR-Z is an exercise in compromise. It was conceived as a 1.3-liter car for Europe but was given a 1.5-liter engine to appeal to U.S. drivers. It aims to be sporty with a six-speed stick-shift option but also comes in a version with continuously variable transmission to squeeze out extra fuel economy.
The result: a 122-hp package that delivers a 0-to-62-mph time that, at 9.7 seconds, barely edges the Toyota Prius. And fuel economy is only 36/38 mpg, well below the Prius' 51/48.
Note that here they are once again quoting the 0-60 for the CVT model. I still hold out hopes that the 6-speed will be significantly faster, and I wonder if the U.S. isn't the only place offering the 6-speed, which is why we don't have 0-60 times for that model yet.
Tetsuo Iwamura, president of American Honda Motor Co., was skeptical right up until he drove the final prototype.
"He kept saying they don't need a hybrid," recalled Tomobe.
"In the American market, people equate hybrids with the Prius," he said of Iwamura's cool response. "If the hybrid is sporty, it's going to confuse the customers and dealers."
.......While driving early prototypes, Iwamura relentlessly derided the car, Tomobe said. But when he got behind the wheel of the final version, his reaction changed.
Suddenly, the project was a go.
.......Tomobe, who cut his teeth as chief engineer on Japanese market projects such as the Mobilio Spike and Elysion minivans, is unapologetic about the CR-Z's compromises.
"I'm satisfied," he said. "This is what the future of sports cars will be for Honda. We are not pursuing absolute maximum speed. What we aim for is a car that is exhilarating to drive."
On paper, the CR-Z's power may seem lackluster. But sporty handling makes up for it, Tomobe said. The three-mode drive system helps by delivering extra throttle responsiveness.
Drivers can select normal, economy or sporty driving modes. In sporty mode, drivers of the CVT can simulate stepped shifting manually by flipping paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
.......Not only is its engine larger than the Insight's 1.3-liter, but the CR-Z's engine has 16 valves instead of the Insight's eight. This is to help increase power at higher rpm and improve efficiency at lower speeds.
Up to 2,300 rpm, one intake valve per cylinder is closed to limit fuel consumption. Above that, all four valves are working to optimize power.
The CR-Z is also the first Honda hybrid to get a six-speed manual transmission
You ready for the sad part?
Critics say Honda could score by offering a gasoline-only CR-Z. But Tomobe said the company has ruled that out. The car's identity is too closely linked to being a hybrid, he said.
......Said Tomobe: "The CR-Z is supposed to be an intelligent sports car."
So it seems like it's a hybrid first, a sporty car second, despite what they are saying.
When you look at the stats, it does pretty poorly as a hybrid:
Hybrids head-to-head: Specs of Honda and Toyota hybrids
Honda CR-Z 122hp, 36/38 mpg (CVT); 31/37 (manual)
Honda Insight 98 hp 40/43 mpg
Honda Civic Hybrid 110 hp, 40/45
Toyota Prius 98 hp 51/48
And that's before you even throw in the respective weights, of which CRZ is the lightest.
Generally, a car that doesn't know what it is trying to be ends up being no better than average at most things, which is what I'm afraid of with this car. It does look, though, like it will hit just about the right spot for what I need in a commute car. It would be nice to have a commute car that is also fun to drive. So we will see.....
#120 of 159 Honda still has not given a plausible reason for making it a hybrid only.
Mar 08, 2010 (10:08 pm)
There are two positive statements in this article: 1) that Tomobe wished it had more horse power;2) the possibility of an higher powered R version. And the article pointed out that this car is a compromise (now that's a huge understatement). Unfortunately I have many issues with the rest of the article. It worries me that Tomobe states he was" satisfied" with the result (how in the world can he be satisfied with such a slow car (and of course this is why Honda does not disclose the 0-60 times) that does not get all that great gas mileage. Furthermore, his explanation on why he decided against a gasoline version is clearly and an attempt to put "spin" on a questionable decision. I mean seriously does he really think anyone would buy the statement that the car was too closely identified with a hybrid and that was the reason not to do a gasoline only version. This is pure b.s. he could have just offered a hybrid version and a gasoline version.
I am further appalled by his statement that this is the future of Honda sports cars--if this is the future (ie. slow, poor performing, expensive hybrids) then I don't want to be part of this dismal future.
Finally, what does he mean the CR-Z is suppose to be an" intelligent sports car"? .
Does this mean a non-hybrid sportscar like a Ferrari is a "dumb sports car"? Or is he saying that people who want a non-hybrid sports car with more horse power and speed are stupid?
While I appreciate Mr. Tomobe explaining the CR-Z, I still remain unconvinced that the right decisions were made for this car.
The jury is still out as to whether enough buyers will be willing to pay $25,500 - 28,000r for such a sadly lacking car.
#121 of 159 well think of it this way
Mar 08, 2010 (10:45 pm)
in the world of $50K sports cars, the Lotus Elise was "sadly underpowered" too. Yet it was a delight to drive and outhandled everything in the field. On anything but a straight circuit, it would give cars costing twice as much a run for their money.
That might be how the CRZ is a "smart" sporty coupe. For $20K, you won't find anything to outhandle it, and I can believe that even with 120 hp it could be a lot of fun to drive if the handling and the high-revving engine are there.
The problem is the remark you referred to earlier: that the car will be "too closely identified with hybrids" to offer a gasoline engine. This is marketing-speak (which right away is a bad sign for CRZ and indeed for Honda as a whole) for "we want to sell more hybrids and nobody bought the Civic hybrid because they couldn't tell it apart from the gas Civics". So basically, this is their second Prius-fighter (with even worse mileage than the FIRST Prius-fighter, the Insight! What a joke), and sport comes a distant second.
So we will see what they produce. It could be a very fun little sport coupe, and I feel I should reiterate that there really isn't much you can buy for $20K that is genuinely fun to drive. The closest thing would be the Miata (or the GTI depending on your preferred poison), both of which are $5000 more to buy.
The problem would be if the FIT gives it a run for its money. For $3000 less to buy and only a small hit for mileage, I would just go with the Fit probably....
#122 of 159 Re: well think of it this way [nippononly]
Mar 09, 2010 (1:34 am)
Would your opinion be different if the CR-Z cost more than 20K? It will probably be more in the $25,500-$28,000 range which would place in the Miata, WRX and Mazdaspeed 3 territory all which will easily outperform the CR-Z.
#123 of 159 Re: well think of it this way [bb49]
Mar 09, 2010 (8:21 pm)
Well, people are speculating that its price will be that high based on direct currency exchanges with its overseas price.
But Honda originally announced they would target a $20K price point for this car, and since it is basically a 3-door Insight with a few extra bits and a better engine, I think they will get close to that mark. Almost everything in it will come off the Insight or out of the Fit.
At $25K they will sell almost none, and I suspect they know that. Just look at all the good $25K choices, all with the same sporty character and two more useable seats, not to mention all much faster off the line.
#124 of 159 Re: well think of it this way [nippononly]
Mar 11, 2010 (1:01 am)
You could be right, however even Motor Trend which seem to be very positive of the CR-Z is stating mid 20's for the price. I also recall Honda stating it would be slotted above the Insight and since the Insight prices are around $20,000-23,000,- it would seem that the CR-Z would be priced above the Insight.
I agree with you if I am correct about the price Honda will not sell very many of them--however, judging by the questionable decisions that were made when Honda developed the CR-Z-- Honda may actually believe then can easily see the 15,000 units for $25,000+.
Mar 11, 2010 (8:57 pm)
Well, it must excite some people...
"SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- 'Honda Motor Co.'s /quotes/comstock/!7267 (JP:7267 3,270, +25.00, +0.77%) /quotes/comstock/13*!hmc/quotes/nls/hmc (HMC 36.13, -0.17, -0.46%) CR-Z hybrid sports car has drawn more than 7,000 orders only two weeks since its Feb. 26 debut, according to a report Friday. The Nikkei business daily reported that the orders represent about 60% of the annual sales target for the car of 12,000 units. The CR-Z, a gasoline-electric hybrid, can travel up to 25 kilometers (15 miles) on a liter (0.26 gallons) of gas, according to the report.' "
#126 of 159 Re: Surprising! [hpmctorque]
Mar 11, 2010 (9:45 pm)
Of course, that's in Japan, where they will sell a tiny-engined 60 mpg CRZ.
Hold the base price to $19,995 Honda!
#127 of 159 Japan sales and MT test drive
Mar 12, 2010 (11:55 pm)
It would be interesting to see if this sales trend continues. However, Japan is a totally different market then here. I read the latest test drive by Motor Trend basically the reviewer found it to be very responsive, however, he never once stated he was impressed with the power or speed of the car. Over all the article was not very critical of the CR-Z except for he noted the Golf TDI outperformed the CR-Z. Judging from the article this was not really true test drive as we still don't have any real 0-60 times etc,. (and of course Honda is not going to provide them as it know it will only impress anyone). The reviewer states the car did 0-60 in 9 seconds flat making it sound like it was an actual timed speed but the spec chart states the 0-60 times is an estimate. Interestingly, the same article on a UK blog's chart states the 0-62 was 10.1 second (estimated).. Based upon all of the foregoing and the Japan test drive 0-62 times-- I think it is pretty safe to assume that at best the 0-60 times will be in the mid 9 second range. Which of course just confirms what eveyone has been saying-- that the CR-Z is slow.
#128 of 159 correction
Mar 12, 2010 (11:57 pm)
I meant so say that Honda is not stating the 0-60 times because it (Honda) knows that the time will not impress anyone,