Honda CR-Z Wins Japan Car Of The Year

Honda Motor Co., Ltd announced today that the Honda CR-Z, sports hybrid has won the Car of the Year Japan 2010-2011 by the Japan Car of the Year Executive Committee.

Due for release in Australia mid-2011, the all-new Honda CR-Z combines the advantages of a clean, efficient petrol-electric hybrid power-train with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The responsive 1.5 litre four- cylinder i-VTEC engine, coupled with Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system produces 91 kilowatts and 174 Newton metres, which peaks at just 1,500 rpm. The torque figure is identical to the 1.8 litre Civic sedan. The electric motor boosts torque at low and medium revs, which gives the CR-Z in-gear flexibility more usually associated with turbocharged engines.

The manual gearbox is a core part of the driver engagement Honda’s engineers wanted to bring to the CR-Z. The flexibility of the IMA hybrid system allows it to be used with a range of transmissions, not just CVT-based gearboxes.

To maximise driver choice and enhance day to day driveability, the CR-Z is fitted with a 3-Mode Drive System (NORMAL, ECON and SPORT). This unique feature allows the driver to choose between the driving modes, which alter the responses of the throttle, steering, climate control and the level of assistance provided by the IMA system.  This allows the driver to adapt the car’s settings to enjoy their favourite road, maximise economy, or strike a balance between the two.

The exterior design of CR-Z deliberately evokes the iconic style of the 1980s CR-X, which was originally developed to provide a small, stylish car that could achieve spectacular economy. Signature features of the CR-X, like the split level rear glass hatch and low shallow raked roofline have been referenced in the design of the sleek coupe and then combined with a curvaceous and deeply sculpted exterior form.

The interior of the production car has been influenced by the cabin of the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show CR-Z Concept, especially the 3D speedometer and driver focussed cabin. The high-technology instrument binnacle places all of the commonly used controls close to the driver’s hands, allowing full concentration on driving.

Honda President and CEO, Mr Takanobu Ito said, "We are very proud that the CR-Z has been selected from the strong contenders of new models as the Car of the Year Japan 2010-2011. This award shows that the public has accepted Honda's aspiration to supply exceptional environmental performance in a fun-to-drive hybrid car at an affordable price, as well as Honda's desire to spread the joy of owning and driving a car. We also believe that this award for the CR-Z reflects the true value of the combined efforts of our business partners and the many others who supported CR-Z development and production. Going forward, Honda intends to bring more joy to an even larger number of customers."

In the 31 years of the Japan Car of the Year, Honda has won it 11 times. Its last winner was the Jazz in 2007.

Click here to see what other awards the new CR-Z has been picking up