It didn’t come as a surprise earlier this year when Honda Europe announced that they’d stop offering the Honda CR-Z next year. The car has always suffered from a textbook case of identity crisis… Classified as a “sport hybrid coupe”, it’s not quite efficient enough for green drivers and not quite fun enough for sporty ones. While it won numerous awards in its first year, since then the only thing it’s had going for it is its extremely affordable price tag, with the 2014 model starting at just $20,785.
Now, Honda has finally released a solution to the CR-Z’s zestlessness in the form of a supercharger kit from Honda Performance Development (HPD). We say ‘finally’ because the Japanese automaker first promised this kit nearly a year ago at last year’s SEMA Motor Show in LA. So it’s a long time coming.
The new Honda CR-Z supercharger kit will add quite a bit of oomph to the otherwise plain hybrid coupe, both aesthetically and mechanically. The 2014 Honda CR-Z comes stock with a 1.5L petrol engine that outputs 130hp. The supercharger kit increases that output up to 197hp – 67hp more than the normal engine – which should yield a noticeable improvement in the fun department.
Along with the supercharger itself, HPD’s kit will achieve its power boost by retuning the CR-Z’s ECU calibration (which you have to do with any supercharger) and adding a plethora of enhancements under the hood. An air-to-air intercooler, a dedicated motor blower and a high-performance air filter system, along with HPD’s custom high-flow fuel injectors, all help the over-tuned CR-Z run as clean and sharply as possible. Best of all, the supercharged CR-Z will still be able to meet CARB’s strict AT-PZEV regulations.
In addition to the technology surrounding the supercharger, the HPD kit will include other sporty upgrades throughout the chassis. These include performance dampers, stiffened springs and larger brake discs, along with an optional sports clutch for extra responsive driving.
No supercharger kit would be complete without visual add-ons, and Honda Performance Development hasn’t failed to deliver the aesthetics. The CR-Z’s supercharger kit makes the coupe more likely to turn heads with slick HPD badging, a rear diffuser, sports exhaust, front and rear spoilers and custom-designed 18-inch alloy wheels to top it all off.
Even though you’ll always sacrifice a decent chunk of fuel economy with any supercharger, the hybrid hatchback was never really up there with the likes of the Toyota Prius to begin with. However, you don’t have to worry about messing up your car like you do with most aftermarket add-ons; Honda is installing the HPD kit at their own dealerships, so it won’t have any effect on your warranty.
The downside is that Honda still hasn’t decided whether or not the kit can be used with next year’s CR-Z. As of now, only the 2010 to 2014 model years are eligible for the upgrade. That could change in a few months, though, as Honda continues testing the kit with the 2015MY.