At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show Honda will showcase the European version of the CR-Z along with the FCX Clarity, Jazz, Insight, Civic, Civic Hybrid and Accord models. Honda CR-Z Sports Hybrid has been around for quite a while now and everybody is familiar with it, although so far Honda has only let a couple of Japanese journalists to test it. And even they admit that despite good handling, it suffers form lack of horsepower.
As you know the CR-Z has a 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine coupled to an electric motor which generate no more than 122 hp which is nowhere near enough even for much smaller cars! The European version of the car won’t be any different. So Honda cannot be proud of the CR-Z as a sports car, but they can be really proud of it as an eco-friendly car as it can manage 56.4 mpg while emitting just 117 grams of CO2 per every kilometer.
To maximise driver choice and enhance the day to day drivability of the car, the CR-Z has been fitted with a 3-Mode Drive System. This unique feature allows the driver to choose between three driving modes, which alter the responses of the throttle, steering, idle stop timing, climate control and the level of assistance provided by the IMA system. In developing this new facility, Honda allows the driver to adapt the car’s settings to enjoy their favourite road, maximise economy, or strike a balance between the two.
Sport buttons have become commonplace usually offering a sharper throttle response, but Honda’s 3-Mode Drive System is different. The new system alters the behaviour of the hybrid drivetrain and the power steering assistance as well as the throttle mapping between the three modes.
When the CR-Z driver is away from the town or city and wanting to enjoy their drive more, they can put the car into SPORT mode. This sharpens the throttle response, changes the behaviour of the IMA hybrid system to provide more electric motor assistance, and increases the weight of the electric power steering.
Honda recognises that even the most enthusiastic driver may regularly experience heavy traffic, where maximising fuel economy is more desirable than the perfect line through a corner. In these situations ECON mode can be selected, which prioritises fuel economy in the operation of the drive by wire throttle, ECU, air conditioning and the hybrid system. For those times when spirited driving is not possible or desirable, the Eco Assist function, in conjunction with the ECON mode, allows the driver to enjoy beating their best economy score on the way to work, or in heavy traffic.
At all other times the car can be run in NORM mode, which provides a balance between performance, economy and emissions and suits most driving situations. The ambient lighting of the speedometer is used in the same way as in the Insight to guide the driver in driving more economically and ecologically. In addition to the Eco Assist function, the CR-Z’s meter lighting is linked to the 3-mode drive system. In NORM mode the speedometer is illuminated blue, with green illumination when the car is being driven in an economical manner. In ECON mode it is also blue (glowing green when driven economically) and it has a green eco flower lit alongside. When the speedometer is illuminated in a red ambient light, this indicates the CR-Z is in SPORT mode.