If you have ever driven a Honda CR-Z you will know that it is in fact a very good little car, light, nimble and agile through the twisty stuff, and frugal thanks to its hybrid system. But it sure does lack power. Well all you Honda aficionados can sort of stop dreaming of a Type-R version because there is something quite interesting hitting dealers at the end of the month in Japan. The Mugen RZ. The supercharged version of the CR-Z that Mugen teased us with at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon in January is finally becoming a reality and it follows on from the mighty Civic “double-R” of five years ago. With a rumored 180 PS form its supercharged engine it should finally turn the CR-Z into the car it should have been from the get go. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this little beast…
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
not to be a hater but epic fail....why is honda even selling a hybrid..?? i bet the sales numbers on it are flippin dismal...scrap this or put a k20 in it from the factory and call it a "Real" CRX stop playing honda i expect yall to act better. Also de-bloat your entire line of cars civics as big as a tarus WTF?
LavarBowers The original CRX HF got 40+ MPG. I agree - scrap the hybrid, add lightness (batteries are heavy), and have a range of motors from economical to Si-powerful. It would be cheaper, more fun to drive (even the eco model), and sell better.
Ikazuchi LavarBowers You guys have to remember that Honda is a company. They need to make money. We (enthusiasts) are only a tiny market segment and it would be idiotic to spend money in research to cater to us.
Yes, I want a k20 CR-Z. I, too, cry for the S2000 to come back. I want to go back to the days of hearing a high strung Honda screaming for its life approaching 9,000 rpm from factory. I want the Integra R to come back. I want the HSV-010 instead of this new NSX slated to come out in the near future.
But it won't happen. Why? Because the old lady who has a Civic for reliability and fuel economy doesn't care about VTEC, or speeds in excess of 60 miles an hour. Honda makes their money from those who need practical, reliable, efficient cars. When they have a little money on the side, then they'll turn to us and give us performance-oriented cars.
We also have to stop trying to relive 1990-2001. The golden era is over, time goes on. American cars aren't shitty anymore and European cars have long since overcome their massive electrical issues. This hybrid stuff may throw us off a little, but look at Audi. They're out there winning races with e-tron. And we love to drool over BMW's i8 concept. I'm sure Honda will step up.
You can't fight the future. Remember when paddle shifters started appearing in high end sports cars? Many of us disliked it, but now even a Hyundai Elantra comes with paddle shifters. (Off topic: I still think the Ferrari 458 should have the option of an H-pattern.)
LavarBowers Wow. I just let out an audible sigh reading your reply. I don't bash hybrids because I want all cars to be race cars and have 500HP and believe that oil is an unlimited resource. I bash hybrids because they are a horrible fad that makes no sense. People buy them to feel good about themselves, or they are ill-informed consumers.
You love the environment? Great! Buy a used based-model Civic and give it a tune up. You're recycling and still getting great gas mileage. The ecomentalists don't seem to factor in the environmental cost of strip mining nickel and the other materials needed to make batteries, plus all the fuel needed to move the materials to the battery maker, then make the batteries, then ship them to the car factory, then make the car (and all the environmental cost of every new part made that includes), and ship it to your dealership. Before you even turn a wheel in your new Prius it's done more damage to the environment than a Hummer on fire.
Want to save money? Great! Buy a used based-model Civic and give it a tune up. The money you saved buying used will offset years of possible fuel savings on a hybrid. Or, if you really want a new car, get a diesel. I know the selection in the US is horrible, but there is a growing number of options. BMW 335d can get 40mpg all day (and 425lbft torque!), and they're bringing the 320d out here next year which will be even better! The Jetta is also a great option (which you can also find used, though rare, and get the double-wammy of 50mpg plus the cost savings of buying used).
Also (and this applies to both hybrid buyers) slow down and learn to drive frugally. Love seeing a Prius rocket past me on the freeway at 90 while I'm cruising along at 65 in my 535 - getting better mileage. Quit jumping on the throttle off the light and then slam on the brakes at the next one. Coasting uses zero fuel.
Now, slightly better than a hybrid is a full electric. Yes, they can't go very far and take forever to recharge, but they will take car of most people's needs and you can always rent a petrol car or (if available) take a train longer distances. At least with an electric you're not adding the cost (money and environmental) of a petrol motor on top of everything.
Personally, I think hydrogen (either fuel cell or combustion) is the way to go long term. Less cost (again, money and environment) to build and hydrogen is everywhere. Problem is, this (or any other alternative fuel) won't take off until oil is $300 a barrel.
So now that I addressed your concerns that I'm "living in the past," I'll move on to your comment that I don't look at things from the car company's point of view. Yes, Lavar (and lots of other people) would love a non-hybrid K20 Si Civic, so now let me talk about how this would actually be a money-making move for them. First, "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" still holds true. This is why car companies put money into motorsports, it sells cars. It creates excitement about the brand that really hits the enthusiast, but also the wanna-be enthusiast (the 40+ dad who don't want a "lame" car but can't justify a sports car), and even filters down to grandma through the effects of brand building (a Corvette race car actually helps sells Cruzes and Malibus). Without the Civic Si, the enthusiast buyer is less likely to get excited about the Civic, and even though they might not be able to afford one, they still buy an LX or EX because they aspire to the Si. Having a range of trim/engine levels in a single model gives the manufacturer the benefit of multiple cars at different prices and leverages economies of scale.
So looking at the Civic as an example of "doing it right," you can get a base model, hybrid, Si, or one of several steps between. The CRZ only has the base level and the EX, which is only a trim upgrade, same engine. Like Lamar said, it's not selling well. What they could do to fix that (as I mentioned in my post above) is to create a line out of it - keep the hybrid if they want, but follow the (actually successful) model of the Civic and keep that as an option, with other non-hybrid options to choose from (going from a thrifty base model up to a fire-breathing, gas-guzzling Si). This also gives Honda the option to axe or merge any models that are not selling well without the enormous cost (and brand damage) of shuttering an entire manufacturing line.
Still with me? Good, because this is where things get complicated.
Kidding. But hope that clarified my position. I'm not some snot-nosed keyboard jockey who thinks that car makers need to bend to my will, everything would be better with a bigger motor (though I could wrongly argue that :P ), and the oil-less future sucks. I'm an ad exec who actually has worked with quite a few car companies and have a lot of insight into how they work. Reading this last line I'm probably coming off like a total d-bag, but I couldn't think of a better way to phrase it (I'm tired - look at how much I just wrote!) and I wanted you to know that I actually have some experience looking at things from Honda's point of view.
Thanks for reading,
Ikazuchi LavarBowers Anything that long deserves a response; you may want to copy and save that as a document somewhere. I'm serious, you will probably have to say this again to someone else. Your points are all valid and great, and I already do know that the batteries do more harm to the earth than good.
I didn't mean to say that you in particular were living in the past, I was mostly replying to Lavar(I think that's his name). I also agree that hydrogen will eventually be the way to go, it just needs time (and maybe a couple of more middle eastern conflicts).
Hybrids won't go away soon, at least not with tax incentives and a generally uneducated consumer base. People will continue to enjoy telling their neighbors about how good their Prius' gas mileage is. As long as it's considered "green", people will buy it. It's a sad state of affairs, but such is life I guess.
The "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" argument does hold true for most manufacturers, but we both know post 1999-2000 Honda won't hear any of it--at least in North America. If the HSV-010 was actually produced, or at least shown off in other places than Japan, Honda sales figures would be so much better than they already are. The HPDs in ALMS aren't really doing much; the prototypes (sans badging) are hard enough to tell apart in the eyes of an average onlooker. I don't mean to belittle Hyundai, but even they've caught on to the "win, sell" idea with the Genesis.
And you're right, the Civic is a great example of doing things the right way for the reasons you mentioned. The only reason that the CR-Z won't follow the path of various trim levels with a hybrid option is the fact that Honda would be going back on their goal (and not to mention money on ads). They wanted to prove that a hybrid could be fun to drive, and they're going to stick with that for better or for worse (definitely worse, in my opinion).
This got kind of disorganized, but I hope I made some sort of point?
Off topic as I just saw the ad: Honda did an awesome job with the new 2013 Accord's styling. Best looking Accord I've seen in a long time.
Ikazuchi lol started something didnt I? lol im not living in the past guys i promise!!....and i agree with the facts given...do i miss the glory days? Yes! but i HATE Hybrids with a seething passion for all of the reasons stated above. Useless tech if you ask me. Saw an article online, where some guys took an old diesel golf, tuned it. And got like 60mpg or some other ungodly number...now with today's advances why cant oil based fuel do the same? Better yet skip oil like you guys said, plenty o water laying around. Use that, I dunno guys guess i'm scared....I keep seeing these damn hybrids pop up lol. I saw a hybrid SUV.....I mean COME ON!!! If we don't stop this I feel like soon, our engine choices wont even top 1 liter much less 1.6. Factor in the EPA shoving terrible regulations down the car makers throats, and we all gonna be pushing some kind of prius. Jus gonna have a different badge on it is all...sorry for wall o text eating dinner...=(
LavarBowers Hehe, want to be more freaked out? Just wait for the day when cars drive themselves!
Yes, hybrids are ridiculous. I think the three of us have agreed on that. And I don't mind a small engine, just needs a turbo so it can be more efficient and get more power :D Bottom line, it will be a while before you're stuck with buying a tiny eco-box. The market won't allow it. Manufactures will innovate around regulations and find a way to make fun cars because they can't sustain themselves on selling them as appliances.
Or, worse comes to worse, the aftermarket will allow us to turn our crappy little cars into fun race cars that we'll only be able to drive on closed courses so we don't bump into the robot cars.
goon Yes, Honda has abandoned motorsports (and exciting cars for now) in NA, and it's hurt them. Hyundai has gained a ton of ground because they have the Genesis Coupe, a motorsports program around it, and a range of good cars. The only reason they aren't completely kicking Honda's ass right now is because they still have a horrible stigma (just like Honda did in the US in the 80s).
I thin Honda could get away with making the hybrid a CR-Z option. People have short memories, and making it into a seller is better than an expensive to manufacture dud. Now you might be right - management's pride may win and they may stick with it until they are forced to kill it. But really, they could get away with a model refresh in a year or two and do it then.
Thanks for validating my horribly long reply! Glad it didn't turn into a troll-fest as so many Internet conversations tend to do :D
Marc, Goon, that was fantastic responses. Thankyou; I have more faith in gearheads haha...
People need to take a step back and realise where exactly is all these wonderful feats of auto - engineering is coming from. Everything you enjoy in the automotive world has (or will) put a huge amount of stress on the environment. As we (1st and 2nd worlds) are in a mindset of consumption, we also forget that man is a part of the environment, not a separate entity. Everything that damages your surrounding area comes back to you. Diseases of modernity is no joke. Recycling, like what Marc addressed (twice lol) is a great way to give back without being a total a-hole to the very thing that gave you life, and sustains you (the environment). Although I think hybrid is a middle-road agreement between fuel and car companies, its good that companies are going away from complete reliance of fuels.
Me personally, I will never buy new. I drive around in a near bone stock S13, and although I enjoy it immensely...I am under no illusion that what powers my car is a redundant form of technology.,
As much as I like the purr of a 4 stroke, the basic principals have not changed since circa 1890. But it will take a culture shift to make anything pro-environment happen. We are too far consumed with consumption. Good on Honda for making things happen, and continuing R&D into alternative means. Hydrogen would be a nice thing as a mass produced offering. I would like to see the Honda Clarity and its principals as options utilised across the range.
"that it is in fact a very good little car, light, nimble and agile through the twisty stuff," <- Could not disagree more. The hybrid system has made this car a heavy pig (and more expensive that it needed to be). The suspension is horrible (too firm and it doesn't hold the road). Honda needs to make a non-hybrid version of this car and maybe it would be okay - so unless Mugen is scrapping the batteries and electric motor, I'm not expecting anything great.
This is a very intersting way to build a "environment friendly" car that isn't a boring drive! I would love to have one to be my "economic " daily driver!
mbretschneider Is "environmentally friendly" in quotes because batteries are actually not environmentally friendly?
Ikazuchi mbretschneider It is in quotes because i am guessing that when you are squeezing the gas you probably are disengaging the eletric engine.But, just a guess
Is this 'news'? You can get a Mugen CRZ here in England (not sure what the situation is in Japan). Supercharged to around 190ps. They have been selling them for months, Mugen Euro in Northampton fit them out. I went and drove one in summer at one of the distributors in Newcastle, was an amazing little car.
oh I guess they are based on the 2013 refresh model of the CRZ (you get a new bumper), maybe thats the big difference ...
Yes Japan doesn't get those UK cars, hence why this is news. Oh and that front bumper may be made out of dry-carbon, it is JDM Mugen after all :)
Supercharged...I don't like the idea of that, the front end is already heavy enough for an FF car, and now they decided to add even more on it? Where is mechanical tuning?
I'm still waiting for someone to rip out all of the hybrid crap. Now that's one CR-Z that would catch my attention
180 is still kinda low on power imo. It makes me sad, I think the CR-Z is a VERY attractive and sporty looking car, It was nice to sit in at the dealership, but it just doesnt have the power to back up those looks.
Bah. Read that supposedly there will only be 300 produced; and I wouldn't be surprised if they're all in Japan, definitely won't be any going to the States.
ToneDiez Yes looks like Japan-only production as usual. ¥4.5 million makes it one very pricey 180 HP FF car
Fg2_FrAn Both at nearly the exact same weight; FR-S with about 20 more HP; Full Petrol > Hybrid; considering those factors and the fact that the FR-S is RWD and the CR-Z is FWD, and the FR-S has probably the lowest and furthest pushed back motors in a FR layout with perfect weight distribution, it wouldn't be fair at all to the RZ.
ToneDiez I would still like to see it. The FR-S can barely beat a Miata on course even though it sounds better on paper. You must also remember that RWD also accounts for some slightly negligible HP loss.