Honda displays CR-Z Hybrid R and Racer Concept machines

November 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Despite some initial disapproval of Honda’s hybrid CR-Z as a spiritual successor to the old favourite CR-X many tuning companies are now getting into it. The SEMA show in Las Vegas has played host to a range of modified CR-Zs like the Mugen version (read news) but the most striking could be the two concept models created by Honda’s North American racing company, Honda Performance Development (HPD).

The CR-Z Hybrid R and CR-Z Racer studies were developed to demonstrate the potential for both street and racing applications for the CR-Z.

The two cars share most of the same performance enhancements including a turbocharger and upgraded IMA hybrid system, which result in an estimated combined output of 150kW and 237Nm of torque. Both models also get a performance clutch, limited-slip differential, retuned suspension, upgraded brakes and some aerodynamic pieces.

After those mods, the Hybrid R street-spec model was given some sport touches to the interior such as a red steering wheel rim and Recaro bucket seats.

The Racer was given the lightweight treatment and stripped of every part that was not required. It was also fitted with a range of racing accessories including a Sparco bucket seat and roll cage. Honda now plans to campaign the two HPD CR-Z Racers at an upcoming endurance race in the States to best show off the car’s racing capability.

Honda unveils CR-Z Mugen at SEMA show

November 4th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The SEMA show in Las Vegas is where many car makers and vehicle tuners show off their latest creations and Honda has shown its not just there to play the pokies. The Japanese manufacturer has released a range of tuned versions of its CR-Z model in an attempt to gather interest for the hybrid model after its initial luke-warm reception with Honda fans.

One of the special CR-Z models on display is the fully accessorized Mugen version that will enter limited production next year. The package includes a full Mugen body kit, a front grille, rear wing spoiler, 17-inch “XJ” aluminum wheels, sport mats, a unique black aluminum shift knob and a billet aluminum oil-filler cap. The body kits look the part and will be available in all five CR-Z colours, so if the hybrid Honda makes it to NZ at least it can look hard even if it can’t go hard.

Check out more images of the Mugen CR-Z below.

Honda whips out Accord Crosstour concept at Las Vegas show

November 4th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Honda booth at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas certainly has been a busy one. There’s been a total of twelve modified CR-Z sport hybrid coupes and also  the HFP (Honda Factory Performance) prepared Accord Crosstour concept car.

This crossover version of the popular Accord is a demonstration concept only and comes fitted with a body kit and blacked out front grille, it sits on lowered HFP sport suspension and unique alloy wheels. Other special features include color-matched door handles and blacked out door sash trim.

Honda has released few details on the Accord Crosstour concept and may be simply gauging interest before it considers any form of production.

2011 Honda Civic Type R Euro heads to Japan

November 3rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

In an interesting twist of fate Honda has introduced a new model year version of its hard-revving British-built Civic Type R Euro in Japan. The 2011MY vehicles will be the last of this model series to be exported to Japan as production of the current generation three-door Civic Type R was recently terminated in Europe because its 2.0-litre VTEC engine can’t meet the Euro V emissions regulations. So while European Honda fans now miss out, Japanese Honda enthusiasts benefit.

This isn’t the first time Honda has imported the Civic Type R Euro from Britain with over 1,850 examples coming across in late 2009. This time round, Honda will bring only 1,500 units of the 2011 Type R hot hatch to Japan. There are few changes over the previous model year but there is the addition of a new Crystal Black Pearl color, some trim updates such as the different finish of the fuel cap and some very minor cosmetic changes.

Technical specifications remain unchanged with the Type R keeps it’s high-revving, naturally aspirated inline four-cylinder 2.0 litre engine that pumps out 150kW at 7800 rpm and 193 Nm of torque available from 5600 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels through the same 6-speed manual gearbox. Acceleration to 100 kph is done in 6.6 s and top speed is 235 km/h. The vehicles will be priced at 3,000,000 Yen or around $48k in NZ money.

Hopefully in the future some of these 2011 Type R Euro models will come to NZ in the form of used imports, allowing us the chance to gobble them up at bargain prices.

Rumours that Honda has plans for a CR-Z convertible

September 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Some heavy rumours hit the motoring world recently hinting that Honda may be intending on building a new droptop sports car to revive its sporty image for dedicated fans. Sources have suggested the new model is likely to be a convertible version of the CR-Z. To achieve this the platform would retain its front wheel drive layout, however a drivetrain with a bit more power would be needed to coincide with the extra weight needed to reinforce the convertible vehicle.

If this new convertible were to leave the workshop it would be up against established roadsters like the Mazda MX-5. Theoretically if this convertible were to be successful, Honda’s next step would be to build a more powerful rear wheel drive hybrid sports car. Now that’s something worth gossiping about.

Meguiar’s unwraps Wraptivo Honda CR-Z

September 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Honda’s new CR-Z was marketed as the spiritual successor to the old fave CR-X and that got performance car enthusiasts all excited. We all hoped the CR-Z could replicate the punchy, light-weight character of the original stocky hot-hatch. Then the hybrid-powered CRZ was released in Japan and with a power output of just 91kW and 173Nm of torque it was disappointment for both Honda fans and the global performance car community. Now, the disappointment has worn off and aftermarket tuners are starting to get busy making the CR-Z a machine we’d want in our garages.

Meguiar’s has got involved with the CR-Z and has just announced that it will unveil its custom Wraptivo Honda CR-Z at this year’s SEMA show over in Las Vegas. Called the Type-F, the Wraptivo Honda CR-Z is one of the first highly modded examples of this modern machine and the tuning world is looking on to see how exactly Meguiar’s can get any true excitement out of this ride.

The Wraptivo CR-Z will feature some of the company’s Accessories Aero parts which will be combined with a few other parts imported from Japan. The Wraptivo Honda CR-Z look is achieved by a matte black wrap mixed with some carbon black film with small accents made in gloss black.

While it’s certainly a unique look the Wraptivo Honda CR-Z is not just about looking sharp. Its list of performance modifications makes for serious reading. The Wraptivo Honda CR-Z comes with a supercharger system, suspension package, an ECU Tune, and a new exhaust. Some of the brand names jammed under the bonnet include Tein , HKS, BF Goodrich, Volk Racing, Hondata and Recaro.

The interior of the Wraptivo Honda CR-Z features a sport shift knob, Alcantara panels and some very tidy sports bucket seats.

No performance figures have been released but all should be revealed when the worked-over CR-Z is displayed at the upcoming SEMA show.

Honda Jazz Hybrid officially revealed in green

August 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Honda Jazz Hybrid has been officially unveiled and is being prepared for sale in the Japanese domestic market and European markets. The visual updates over the lesser standard models are subtle, with reworked bumpers and headlight glass and a special Lime Green metallic color. The price hike over the cheap standard Jazz isn’t slight at all. Apparently a $6,600 NZ premium over the standard Jazz is expected. However, even with the price premium the Hybrid Jazz would still be the cheapest hybrid in the market.

The Jazz Hybrid features the same IMA hybrid drivetrain as the Honda CR-Z and Insight, so it can’t quite match the Prius in fuel economy figures, though Honda claims they will be comparable to the smaller CR-Z.

The new Jazz Hybrid will make its formal debut at the Paris Motor Show next month.

Honda Fit hybrid to launch in Japan shortly

August 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Recent reports coming out of Japan are stating that Honda will launch the hybrid version of its Fit (Jazz here in NZ) subcompact in the domestic market this October. The prices are attractive starting from around 1.6 million yen ($26,500 NZ), easily making it Japan’s cheapest hybrid model.

The Fit Hybrid, will use the same 1.3-litre gasoline engine and electric motor drivetrain as the Honda Insight and will cost 400,000 Yen ($6,600 NZ) more than the conventional Fit in Japan but still around 300,000 Yen ($4,900 NZ) less than Honda’s larger hybrid model.

There is no word yet on whether the Fit/Jazz Hybrid will make it into other markets, NZ included.