So far, you may have noticed that the hybrid cars on my list -- the Toyota Volta and the Citroen C-Metisse -- have a bit of an exotic car appearance. Well, the number three car on my list of hybrid concepts may be (slightly) less exotic on the surface, but it's equally interesting under the hood. Coming in at number three is the Honda CR-Z.
Just more than a year ago, the Honda CR-Z hybrid concept made its first appearance at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich. According to Honda's official CR-Z Web page, CR-Z stands for "Compact Renaissance Zero" -- a name intended to capture the idea of a renewal, or starting over while paying careful attention to fundamentals. I really do love this idea...fundamentals are so critical, and yet, for some reason they're often ignored. Apparently, this is the evolution of the highly popular CRX model that Honda sold in the 1980s and early 1990s. And no, there was no CR-Y model in between...but there are plenty of online comedians that enjoy making that joke.
The Honda press release, which blogger Ray Wert posted on Jalopnik says, "The CR-Z is a next-generation lightweight sports car equipped with Honda's original gas-electric hybrid system which achieves both clean performance and a high level of torque." Hmmm...so this is a tried-and-true hybrid setup, in a clean, good-looking sports car package that promises lots of torque and performance, too? Maybe I'm getting too far ahead of myself here. What about the styling?
Looking over the exterior design, the CR-Z is definitely sporty. Scope it from all angles and I doubt that you'll disagree. Honda calls it "Futuristic and Dynamic." However, it also says, "Design details emphasizing the CR-Z's advanced image include door mirrors that provide high visibility in a stylish form, LED headlights patterned after luminous bodies to convey a sharp impression, and jauntyfin-shaped." Jauntyfin-shaped? What? Well, I've never heard that one before, so it must be something special, right?
Moving onto the interior design, Honda says "Hi-tech and Sporty." I find that hard to argue with, too. Just look at some of the interior pictures on Honda's CR-Z page. You've got to admit that for style points the ambient blue lighting is really impressive. Yeah, I know the images are of a right-hand drive car, but can't you just imagine yourself in the driver's seat of the CR-Z? I know I can.
There's no doubt that the timing seems right for the CR-Z, and rumors abound online. But will this one make the jump into real-world? Will Honda put the CR-Z hybrid concept into production?
Personally, I hope it happens. I owned a CRX Si for several years and just seeing the CR-Z makes me want to stand in line to buy one.
Well, maybe I'll wait until the second year of production...just to be safe.