Honda has not had much success in the hybrid car market. Perhaps the greatest disappointment is the Honda CR-Z, a sporty two-passenger mild hybrid that is neither fast nor particularly efficient. But one tuning company wants to at least improve the performance part of the equation. Enter Mugen, and its limited run of supercharged Honda CR-Z hybrids.
The 2013 Honda CR-Z offers an uninspiring 119 horsepower from its gas engine, and another 20 horsepower from its electric motor. Mugen increases the gas engine’s performance with a centrifugal supercharger, boosting output to 154 horsepower, an almost 50% improvement over stock. Combined with the 20 horsepower and 58 ft-lbs of torque from the electric motor, total output is 174 horsepower and 194 ft-lbs of torque.
That shaves 3 seconds off of the Honda CR-Z’s 0-60 mph time, which makes all the difference to a driving enthusiast. Officially called the Honda CR-Z Mugen RZ, this aftermarket take on Honda’s hatchback hybrid also comes with an upgraded exhaust system, suspension, brakes, and bodykit. Just 300 of the Mugen RZs will be built, and they’ll only be sold in Japan. It will join Mugen’s turbocharged V6-powered CR-Z race car as the hot hatch Honda needs.
That’s a damn shame, but not all that unexpected. The Honda CR-Z is suffering from a serious lack of attention from the Honda mothership, despite power upgrades to the powertrain on the 2013 model. I’m afraid the upgrades to the 2013 model aren’t inspiring enough to draw more buyers. Leave it to Mugen to take the CR-Z up a notch…though I wonder how that supercharger affects fuel economy?