Since it has gotten such lousy reviews on the new Insight, Honda apparently hopes the new CR-Z Hybrid will do better, even as it uses basically the same powertrain. The difference is that this car, like the beloved CRX before it, will appeal to the sporty set. Judging by the many positive comments on the Autoweek story, a lot of them will be tempted. Sign up for email info from Honda here.
The CR-Z Hybrid will go on sale in Japan in February 2010 and should be in the U.S. by the middle of next year. Honda seems ready to commit to an across-the-board hybrid lineup, as Toyota has. Whether that will work in this country is anybody’s guess. The Insight was the top-selling car in Japan this year (until the new Prius took over the crown), and Honda has new, better, two-engine powertrains under development for its larger models.
Let us not forget, however, that Japan has government incentives to go hybrid, as well as higher gas prices. Hybrids are going to be niche vehicles here unless either or both of those conditions change.
Honda also announced that the Fit Hybrid will become available in Japan before the end of the year; there are no plans to bring it here. This news may not send thrills and chills up your spines, CR-Z fans, though the Fit will cost lots less and may well sell better. But, my God, it’s ugly.
If the CR-Z Hybrid were in the $20,000 range, as predicted, would you buy one? What would tempt you?