Remember the Honda CR-Z? It was the hybrid car that was going to put the fun back in driving an environmentally friendly car, except it didn’t. It had swoopy styling but it’s performance was tepid and that’s being kind. Sales started slow and got worse. While it is still available in the US, it has been quietly dropped from foreign markets.
But now, Car & Driver reports the CR-Z may make a comeback as a 2018 model. It will have an updated body and forget all about being a hybrid. Instead, it will have a hairy chested turbo 4 cylinder similar to the engine found in the mighty Civic Type R and cranking out 280 horsepower. The original CR-Z was a featherweight at 2200 lbs. If Honda can keep the weight of the new model down, the new CR-Z should be a screamer.
“The two reasons that forced Honda to phase it out [in Europe and Australia], namely its weak street cred and lack of performance thanks to its ho-hum hybrid power unit, have been addressed. The new coupe will be a force to reckon with,” insists C&D’s source deep within Honda’s R&D center in Tochigi.
Honda really doesn’t have an answer for the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins. Maybe it feels a need to get back into the high performance, affordable sports car game it practically invented with the Civic Si and then abandoned. In fact, it may position the CR-Z in the US market as the sports coupe version of the next generation Civic sedan. It reportedly will be built on a shortened Civic chassis instead of the Fit chassis the previous CR-Z was based on.
Rumors suggest a concept of the new car may surface at the Detroit auto show in January of 2017, which raises this question: who is steering the ship at Honda and why would it take almost a decade to get the CR-Z right? Another question car enthusiasts may have is: will there ever be a hybrid or electric car that rivals the original Civic Si for spirited, fun per dollar driving? After all, not all of us can afford $110,000 or more for a Tesla P85D. Apparently, if such a car ever gets built, it won’t be a Honda.