Honda has been on a performance streak this year with both the Honda Civic Type R and the Honda NSX Concept making their debuts.
However, it hasn’t always been so… Just 5 years ago, the CR-Z was Honda’s newest attempt at a performance-oriented model. Except it didn’t work out quite so well.
The CR-Z in its current form aims to be a budget-friendly hybrid sports car, and it’s arguably a little too ahead of its time. The image at the top of this post says it all; the car suffers from identity crisis. Environmentalists would rather have a Prius, while performance enthusiasts on a budget would rather have a BRZ/GT86, or anything with more power than the 130 hp combined system output offered in the current CR-Z.
Yeah… We’re not really sure how Honda hoped to attract anyone remotely interested in a sports car with numbers like that.
To be fair, Honda is well aware of their mistake. That’s why the Honda CR-Z has already been dropped from the Japanese automaker’s European and Australian lineups. Even if Honda decides to keep it going in the US, it’s not doing particularly well, and it’s certainly not well-known as a performance model.
That’s all going to change by the end of 2017.
An insider report from AutoExpress revealed that Honda is planning to launch a faster and more performance-focused iteration of the CR-Z in 2017, likely at the end of the year as a 2018MY.
Apparently, their source is an anonymous member of Honda’s Research and Development team near Tokyo. “Remember the CR-Z,” the insider asked. “It’s disappeared from Honda’s lineup in Europe and Australia, but it’s due to make a comeback in 2017. The old model’s weak street-cred and lack of performance have been addressed – the new coupe will be a force to be reckoned with.”
To be more specific, it sounds like Honda plans to completely strip the hybrid powertrain out of the CR-Z. Instead, they plan to put their energy into accomplishing two of their three original goals – great performance at an affordable price.
The report claims that Honda will utilize the all-new turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that debuted earlier this year in the Honda Civic Type R. That engine will be tuned to produce 276 hp – more than double what’s available in the current model. However, there is a possibility that Honda will continue offering a hybrid version of the CR-Z in Japan, but even then it’ll be outputting northwards of 200 hp.
Either way, we’re thrilled to have another true sports car coming from Honda. It’s expected to make its debut at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show before going on sale at the end of the year. If you’d like to learn more or to see an exclusive projected picture of the new Honda CR-Z’s possible design, head over to AutoExpress and read the full report for yourself.