|2013 Honda CR-Z. Click to enlarge.|
The 2013 Honda CR-Z goes on sale 21 November with a number of powertrain, styling and feature upgrades, including a new Li-ion battery pack that replaces the NiMH pack in the MY 2012 CR-Z hybrid and delivers more power and improved fuel economy.
The new, more powerful Lithium-ion battery pack helps boost EPA-rated fuel economy figures by 1 mpg city for CVT equipped models, and 1 mpg highway for CR-Z models equipped with the six-speed manual transmission.
The CR-Z hybrid powertrain is a variation of Honda’s original IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) technology, which made its debut on the 2000 Honda Insight, the first hybrid vehicle available for sale in North America. The system in the CR-Z utilizes a 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, single-overhead cam engine with intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) that receives additional power from the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system’s DC brushless electric motor.
The hybrid CR-Z’s electric motor assists in acceleration and also acts as a generator during braking or coasting to capture kinetic energy that recharges the new Lithium-Ion battery pack. The gasoline engine can automatically turn off during vehicle stops to improve efficiency. When starting on steep inclines from a stop with the manual transmission, hill start assist temporarily prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards during the moment between releasing the brake, depressing the throttle and releasing the clutch.
For 2013, assist from the electric motor has jumped from 10 kW to 15 kW, supported by the new higher voltage (144-volt) Lithium-ion battery pack (15 kW output). (The MY 2012 CR-Z hybrid used a 100V NiMH pack.) The CR-Z now delivers a combined peak output of 130 hp (97 kW) at 6000 rpm and 140 lb-ft (190 N·m) of torque (127 lb-ft/172 N·m on CVT-equipped models), a gain of eight horsepower and 12 lb-ft of torque (4 lb-ft on CVT equipped models). Manual-transmission versions also receive both a larger clutch and a new lower final drive ratio.
Even with better performance, EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2013 Honda CR-Z have improved. On CVT-equipped models, the EPA city/hwy/combined rating is up 1 mpg city to 36/39/37 mpg (6.53/6.03/6.36 l/100 km), while models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission see an EPA mpg rating of 31/38/34 (7.59/6.19/6.92 l/100 km), a gain of 1 mpg highway. The CR-Z is also rated as an Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) in states that adhere to California Air Resource Board (CARB) ZEV standards (EPA Tier 2, Bin 2 in all states).
To help drivers make use of this improved performance, a new Plus Sport System is standard on the 2013 Honda CR-Z. If the battery is more than 50% charged and the CR-Z is traveling above 19 mph (31 km/h), the driver can activate this feature using the “S+” button on the steering wheel. When activated and the accelerator is pressed, electric boost begins, delivering increased acceleration for up to five seconds. A flashing gauge on the dashboard indicates when the Plus Sport System is active. The Plus Sport System can be used in Econ, Normal or Sport modes.
Activated via three backlit buttons to the left of the steering wheel, the CR-Z’s enhanced 3-mode drive system allows the driver to choose among three individual performance modes:
Sport mode enhances engine throttle responsiveness, electric power steering effort and the electric motor power assist.
Normal mode standardizes steering, engine response, motor assist and air conditioning settings.
Econ mode can increase the potential for enhanced fuel efficiency by optimizing throttle angle for smooth acceleration, lower engine rpm and limiting power and torque by approximately 4-percent (except at wide-open throttle). It can also reduce the air conditioning’s overall load on the engine and modify the cruise control to operate more efficiently.