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Honda updates CR-Z for 2013

More electric power and better fuel economy highlight Honda hybrid's changes

Published: November 21, 2012, 8:00 PM

2013 Honda CR-Z - front 3/4 studio shot

Honda's hybrid CR-Z coupe gets powertrain, styling and feature upgrades for the 2013 model year, including more electric power from an all-new Lithium-ion battery pack.

Styling upgrades include a new front fascia, with a "floating" lower front spoiler lip, a new, aerodynamically functional rear diffuser, revised interior trim, a different finish on its alloy wheels and new exterior colours.

The headlight assemblies and the lower portion of the tail lights are tinged with blue clearcoat, which Honda says hints at the CR-Z's hybrid powertrain.

Also new is a Plus Sport System, which allows additional on-demand electric boost via a steering wheel-mounted "S+" button.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment – the only hybrid so-equipped in North America – and an automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is available.

The CR-Z hybrid powertrain is a variation of Honda's original IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) technology, which debuted on the 2000 Honda Insight, the first hybrid vehicle available for sale in North America.

In the CR-Z, it utilizes a 1.5-literfour-cylinder, SOHC engine with "intelligent" Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) that is supplemented with additional power from the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system's DC brushless electric motor.

The electric motor assists in acceleration and also acts as a generator during braking or coasting to recapture kinetic energy for recharging the new Lithium-Ion battery pack.

The gasoline engine can automatically turn off when the vehicle stops to improve efficiency.

Power from the electric motor is increased from 10 kW to 15 kW for 2013, thanks to the new higher voltage (144-volt) Lithium-Ion battery pack.

The CR-Z now delivers a combined peak output of 130 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 140 lb-ft of torque (127 lb-ft. on CVT-equipped models), a gain of eight horsepower and 12 lb-ft of torque (4 lb-ft on CVT equipped models).

Even with its improved performance, the 2013 CR-Z also offers reduced fuel consumption ratings in the order of 3%.

To help drivers make use of this improved performance, the new Plus Sport System provides additional electric boost, with correspondingly increased acceleration, for up to five seconds when the "S+" button is pushed – if the battery is more than 50% charged and the CR-Z is traveling more than 30 km/h.