Honda's sleek CR-Z coupe. (Flickr/Jason Yoder)
Honda's hybrid strategy is always fascinating. The company roiled Toyota by disrupting its serene 2010 Prius launch with news that its Insight four-seater would retail for less than $20,000, forcing Toyota to delay Prius pricing. (Check out this comparison test drive of the Insight vs. the Prius.) Honda has always said it was aiming to put a whole field of hybrids on the market, and now it's following that up with the long-anticipated CR-Z sports coupe (Compact Renaissance Zero).
The drivetrain of the CR-Z will be based on that of the Insight, and a new hybrid system is forthcoming for medium- and large-sized cars.
First shown in Tokyo in 2007, the CR-Z (with parallels to the Civic-based CR-X) is undoubtedly sexy and fills a niche: green-conscious fans of the Fast and Furious films?
I have long thought that Honda should offer its forthcoming Fit hybrid widely, but that now appears to be likely to stay in Japan. Meanwhile, the Insight is proving so popular internationally that Honda has added another production line at its Japanese Suzaka factory. Sales of the Insight have "exceeded all expectations," the company said.
The CR-Z will go on sale in Japan in February next year, in Europe "toward the end of 2009" and the U.S. after that.
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