It seems that 2010 may be the return of the small Honda sports car. Carscoop has managed to procure the supposed brochure for the new Honda CRZ and it looks pretty good with touches of the old EF series Honda CRX of 1988-1992. Especially at the rear with its split glass rear hatch. The front end is another interpretation of the current Honda design philosophy.
It is a small car with a wheelbase of 2435mm, length, width and height is 4080 mm, 1740 mm and 1395 mm respectively. The 1.5liter 4 cylinder petrol engine makes 113 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 145 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm. The electric motor meanwhile produces a measly 13.4 bhp at 1,500 rpm and 78Nm at 1,000 rpm. Unusual for a hybrid but great for the enthusiast, the CR-Z comes with a six-speed manual transmission in place of the common CVT used most Honda hybrids. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h will take 9.7 seconds. Which in my mind is kind of lame.Compared with the EF series CRX with its 1.6liter 125bhp non-VTEC model, around 8.5secs, and the full monty 158bhp first generation B16A VTEC engine and 7.5 seconds, the CRZ with its 9.7 seconds is incredibly disappointing. It may be down to the weight. Latest crash protection, added refinement and of course lots of batteries for the electric motor may have made it into a heavier than expected sports car. I was actually hoping for another helping of big VTEC medicine in a small package, but it looks like I may have to wait for a TypeR version. Fingers crossed.
The old 2nd generation CRX is a corker of a car. Small, short wheelbased, 900kgs with an engine that revs to 8,000rpm equals to lots of fun. A long time friend of mine was running one in the late 1990s to the early 00s and boy was it fun to be in one. The thing about older VTECs, unlike the I-VTEC of the current TypeRs is the pronounced step up in noise, speed and attitude. This usually happens at the switchover from the mild cam lobes to the much higher profiled cam lobes. A loud 'PWAAARRRRRRR' followed by somewhat rapid (for its time) progress usually happens around 5,500rpm. Its a spine tingling sound, somewhat like a banshee (or in this region a "pontianak") screeching and howling. This from a 4 cylinder mass produced engine. This is why this CRX, the EF9 still holds value here in Malaysia. With decent ones changing hands at around 30,000.00 Ringgit.
Now the new CRZ may be a supposed heir to the CRX, we'd have to wait for the faster ones. If Honda can base the Civic Hybrid on the standard petrol driven Civic, what's a bit of reverse engineering in this case? From hybrid to petrol. Plonk in a full monty 222bhp 2.0liter K20A Civic TypeR engine. Honda in doing so will create another legion of VTEC crazy enthusiasts out there.