The Honda CR-Z attempted to walk the fine line between being a sporty coupe and a frugal fuel-sipper. It didn’t really succeed at either, delivering so-so fuel efficiency while feeling too underpowered to be considered any sort of performance car.
Enter Honda Performance Development, Honda’s in-house motorsports group, which has just released a factory-approved supercharger the boosts output from 130 horsepower to a more-competitive 197 horsepower. That’s in the same power range as Honda’s own Civic Si. In addition to the supercharger, the HPD package includes an air-to-air intercooler, a reflashed ECU, high-flow fuel injectors, and a new cold air intake.
Those modifications add up to a MSRP of $5,495 and still maintains Honda’s 5-year/60,000 mile warranty. The kit is specifically for the 2014 Honda CR-Z, though I don’t see why it couldn’t be retroactively applicable to earlier models, can be dealership installed. Buyers also have the option of other performance-enhancing features like a limited-slip differential and sportier suspension bits.
While a supercharger seems to defeat the point of a hybrid, it does make the CR-Z more appealing to those seeking an affordable performance fix. With a starting MSRP of $19,995, you can actually drive off in a supercharged CR-Z for just about $2,000 more than a Civic SI coupe. Not too shabby, though you have to take into account that the CR-Z’s doubtful future; it’s already been killed off in Europe, and its stablemate, the Honda Insight, has also been put out to pasture.
Maybe Honda should have just offered a supercharger option from the get-go, and really give buyers a choice between a CR-Z that goes fast, and one that delivers awesome fuel economy. Trying to split the middle doesn’t seem to have worked out for Honda.