Honda’s just pulled the wraps off its CR-Z car, and announced it’s due to go into mass production with a launch date of February 2010. It’s an interesting competitor to the Prius and the Volt, and looks sweeter than either.
Not much is known about the absolute technical specs of the CR-Z, which stands for the very anime-style name Compact Renaissance Zero. But some educated guesswork has intimated that it’ll inherit the Honda Insight’s drive train, meaning it’ll have 1.3-liter 98bhp gasoline engine powering a 13bhp electric motor. It may also have a continuously-variable transmission–a gearless transmission system that far surpasses the conventional gearbox for smooth delivery of power to the roadwheels, and allows for better fuel efficiency.
But, really, the major power of the CR-Z is in its looks. Whereas the existing best-selling hybrid Prius looks kind of awkward and the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt looks gruff and surprisingly conventional, the CR-Z has been designed to actually look like an alternative, futuristic sports car. It’s the kind of thing you could imagine rolling by in the background of many a sci-fi movie film, and looking like it belongs there.
Sadly I suspect that sweet-looking electric-blue dashboard and console won’t make it into the production model intact, probably for monetary reasons. But seeing as people often choose cars based on their appearance, I’d say Honda’s onto a winner with the CR-Z…assuming it’s priced aggressively enough to make a dent in the Prius-dominated hybrid market.