Honda South Africa will introduce the CR-Z, a hybrid sports coupé, to the local market within the next few months. This will be followed by the Insight, a more family-oriented hybrid vehicle, which will be unveiled before the end of the year, says spokesperson Joeline Dabrowski.
These will be only the second and third hybrid to be launched in the country, following in the footsteps of the Toyota Prius.
The local debut of the CR-Z will perhaps draw the most attention, especially from those who have long associated hybrid cars with pedestrian performance.
At the heart of the Honda CR-Z is a parallel hybrid drive-train with integrated motor assist (IMA). The CR-Z combines a 1,5l i-VTEC petrol engine with a compact, high-torque electric motor.
The motor is located between the engine and the clutch, and contributes up to 78 Newton metre (Nm) of additional torque at low to medium engine speeds.
Overall output of the parallel system is comparable with that of a conventional 1,8l petrol engine, offering 92 kW of maximum power, and 174 Nm of torque.
However, the IMA system provides instant torque, which ensures instant response.
Japanese car manufacturer Honda promises that the acceleration of the CR-Z “feels almost turbo-like”.
The CR-Z’s parallel hybrid drive system is operated using a three-mode drive system. The driver can select one of three driving modes, namely Normal, Sport and Econ. Each mode has its own set of operating parameters, which determine aspects such as throttle response, steering feel, and IMA boost.
The driver can therefore select a mode that best suits the prevailing driving conditions, their personal preferences and requirements, or which optimises operating efficiency.
The CR-Z makes use of a six-speed manual gearbox.
The coupé is credited with a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 5 l/100 km, while the carbon dioxide emissions rating stands at 117 g/km – below the 120 g/km emissions tax threshold, due for introduction in South Africa in September this year.
The CR-Z offers two large, sculpted front seats, and a smaller, integrated rear bench seat. There is a luggage compartment, and the rear seat-back can be folded down to enhance cargo space if required.
While Honda South Africa says the final specification for the CR-Z coming to the country still has to be confirmed, the list of standard equipment is expected to be comprehensive.