Honda billed the CR-Z as a small, efficient and fun hybrid sport coupe worthy of being the successor to the giant-slaying CRX of the 1980s. In reality, it was none of those things, and lately Honda is lucky if they sell 300 of them a month. But now Road & Track reports that Honda's next CR-Z might be a proper do-over.
Citing an unnamed source, the magazine reports that American Honda has been clamoring for a legitimate performance compact car for some time, and they finally might get it in 2017 with a totally reborn CR-Z based on the next generation Civic platform. The current 130 horsepower hybrid CR-Z, available with a manual or CVT, has been a disappointment on all fronts.
But the next one might get the turbocharged 2.0-liter VTEC four-cylinder engine out of the new European Civic Type R, albeit detuned to a still-respectable 280 horsepower. Here's what R&T says:
"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 our source.
[...] In fact, it looks as if the CR-Z will be positioned and marketed as a high-performance coupe version of the next-generation U.S. Civic, which means it may be called the Civic CR-Z.
That last tidbit is especially interesting, but a little shaky, in my opinion. Since the CR-Z was such a flop, it doesn't make a ton of marketing sense to give that name to the long-awaited performance Civic (the current Si doesn't really count.) Honda could do better by giving it its own identity.
Either way, I hope this news — which should be taken with a grain of salt — pans out. Between the Euro Civic Type R, the NSX and the return to Formula One, it looks as though Honda's trying to get their balls back after a decade in the wilderness, and if that happens enthusiasts will be better off for it.
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