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Paris show: More power for facelifted Honda CR-Z

Bar and grille: Honda has enlarged the facelifted CR-Z’s radiator grille while cleaning up the design by removing the horizontal bars from behind the numberplate.

Honda confirms power boost for CR-Z facelift, reveals front-end styling tweaks

17 Sep 2012

HONDA has confirmed the hybrid CR-Z coupe’s electric motor and petrol engine will both receive a power boost in the facelifted model to make its world debut at the Paris motor show on September 27 ahead of its Australian release in the first half of next year.

The Japanese company stepped up its pre-show tease of the new model by issuing the first full-frontal image of the car that will appear on the Honda stand alongside a Civic hatch with the company’s new 1.6-litre 88kW/300Nm EarthDreams turbo-diesel engine – due to arrive Down Under next year – and the new-generation CR-V compact SUV that is expected debut here at next month’s Sydney show before hitting showrooms in the fourth quarter.

The Japanese company is remaining tight-lipped on the subject of CR-Z power and torque figures until it is fully revealed at Paris, but has promised the extra performance comes “without compromising fuel economy or increasing exhaust emissions”.

Cosmetic tweaks to the CR-Z’s front-end include a wider, slightly deeper grille that loses the horizontal slats behind the numberplate, while the oval fog lights of the current car have been replaced by circular units that occupy larger recesses styled to look like more aggressive air intakes.

15 center imageThe effect is finished off by a more prominent splitter, while the new headlights retain the original shape but have been modified with a moodier-looking black background and individual Xenon beam units.

Daytime running lights that are already standard on Australian-delivered CR-Zs are also pictured, but GoAuto understands not all markets currently get this safety feature.

Teaser images of the CR-Z appeared last week on Honda’s Japanese consumer website, which has since been updated to show a glimpse of the interior plus some extra close-ups of the grille and headlight beams.

The original teaser images were close-ups of a sporty new two-tone alloy wheel design, headlight and mysterious ‘S+’ dashboard button.

It is expected that the new button will activate a new driving mode in addition to the current car’s Eco, Normal and Sport – which affect the steering, pedal and engine responses – perhaps also unshackling the extra performance Honda is promising.

The current CR-Z combines a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 10kW/121Nm electric motor to produce peak power of 91kW and 174Nm of torque, officially consuming 5.0 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres and emitting 118 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Variants fitted with the automatic continuously-variable transmission (CVT) produce slightly less torque but are more fuel-efficient.

Full details of the updated hybrid driveline will not be announced until the Paris show but Honda could use the Civic Hybrid’s lighter Li-ion battery pack as a way of improving performance and agility by reducing mass.

Enthusiasts will welcome any performance increase, especially as the CR-Z – which was early to the affordable coupe party – now faces strong competition from the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ and Hyundai Veloster.

Honda Australia is expanding its hybrid repertoire, with the Thai-sourced Jazz Hybrid expected to receive an Australian debut at next month’s Sydney motor show, while both plug-in and standard hybrid versions of the ninth-generation Accord sedan are under consideration for this market.

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