Honda CR-Z: Sporty hybrid ready to zip in August
Can – should – a hybrid be sporty?
Honda has announced that the Honda CR-Z hybrid will go on sale August 24 in the US. While final pricing hasn’t officially been announced, the base model should begin at just under $20,000 and top out at $24,000 for the higher end of three trim levels.
But, we’ve already known those specs. What we really want to know is, what does it mean to be a sporty hybrid? Can a hybrid be sporty? Should a hybrid be sporty?
While ‘sporty hybrid’ might sound like an oxymoron, there is no reason to believe that hybrid technology cannot provide a sporty experience; however, whether the CR-Z hybrid actually lives up to the term ‘sporty’ is debatable.
According to Cars.com, for instance, the Honda CR-Z provides “unexpected comfort” and that, at least, is a good start. From there, however, the business case behind the CR-Z hybrid begins to fall apart according to Cars.com. Because the CR-Z offers less space, seating and functionality than the Honda Insight, for example, Cars.com questions whether the CR-Z offers a enough power and zip to justify its lower fuel economy compared to Honda’s other hybrid cars.
Overall, the CR-Z hybrid should average a combined 34 – 37 mpg, depending upon transmission, as the CR-Z hybrid will be offered in both a 6-speed manual transmission and an automatic transmission.
Gearhead-orientated MotorTrend, ironically, found the CR-Z hybrid to be much more entertaining.
“But those willing to open their minds to a next-millennium motoring experience uncolored by expectations rooted in the past will find much to love in this small-footprint (size- and carbon-wise) sportster. The hybrid system’s Sport mode amps up the acceleration performance with extra electric assist at low rpm and dials back the electric power steering assist to a quite sporting heft vaguely reminiscent of the unassisted helm in the CRX.”
So, is the CR-Z worthy? I guess consumers will have to make that decision.
Anyway, Honda is hoping this new hybrid will appeal to the 25 – 35 year old, young professional cohort, which definitely seems to make sense, and if base pricing can stick below $20,000, maybe this is the CRX of a new generation.
Thus, if such a vehicle can excite the next generation of auto consumers to appreciate hybrid technology and the relevance of better fuel economy, as I recently speculated in Luxury, smuxury. Sporty hybrids set to fuel change, then I’d say that even sporty hybrid cars can be worthy. Schwiiiing!