Honda CR-Z gets more power

2013 Honda CR-Z side imageIf you’ve been reading Geek-Speak for some time, you’ll most likely have come across at least one article about the Honda CR-Z. The sporty hybrid is one of the few cars I’ve test driven and been genuinely sad to give back!

January 2013 will see the release of a new version of the CR-Z, with improvements focusing on the car’s style and performance. Subtle updates to the exterior and interior enhance the styling of the car, while the power of the petrol engine and electric motor has been increased to 137 horsepower… apparently without impacting either the fuel consumption or exhaust emissions.

So, those styling updates. What’s changed?  There’s a new bumper design and revised grille, rear diffuser and, on the GT model, 17 inch alloy wheels. Two new colours, Energetic Yellow and Aurora Violet, are also available, while updates to the interior include a new colour scheme and improved cabin storage.

The petrol engine now delivers a peak power of 121 hp, and the electric motor a peak of 20 hp. The maths geeks among you will be saying, “But that’s a total of 141 hp, not 137!”. Quite right… the petrol and electric motors deliver their peak powers at different rev ranges, so while they could deliver a total of 141 hp if they were both working at peak power at the same time… they don’t. The peak combined power is a little lower, then, at 137 hp. That’s still enough to give a 0-62 time of 9.1 seconds, and a top speed of 124 mph, all at a combined fuel consumption of 56.5 mpg.

Here’s what’s makes me smile about this new model, though: it has KERS. Formula 1 fans will know KERS as the system that harvests energy from braking and delivers it in a short burst for overtaking or defending a corner. Hybrids harvesting energy to recharge their batteries is hardly anything new, but the 2013 CR-Z includes a button on the steering wheel marked S+. Assuming the battery is more than half charged, this delivers increased acceleration for up to 10 seconds, whether you are in economy, normal or sport mode. I still shudder when I remember a particularly nasty roundabout near where I used to live… and how I hated trying to get onto it in our (at the time) rather underpowered car. An extra boost then would have been more than helpful. Obviously you shouldn’t try racing on the open roads, but there are bound to be times when that little extra power will come in handy.

The new Honda CR-Z will be available from January 2013.

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