With Takeo Fukui now packing his pencils away and fellow engineer Takanobu Ito now readying himself to take the helm of the big Hall eyes will be on the company to see if they can regain some of their lost passion for sports models following the cancellation of the NSX and the postponement of the next generation S2000.
Apparently Mr Ito feels that future sports models are essential and integral to Honda’s future.
The first new model to carry at least sporting pretensions that is set to arise from the new leaner Honda will be the much mooted CRZ.
Currently due to be launched at the beginning of next year, Honda plan to introduce the car as an exceptionally handling sporty car rather than a pure sports car as such.
Although some perhaps erroneous reports of late suggest the CRZ will be receiving a 1.8 litre engine, it still appears more likely that the car is going to launch with a tuned version of the Insight’s 1.3 litre VTEC connected to the same IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system to complete its hybrid credentials. With the combined power of the engine and motor, the CRZ should be able to output 120 ps.
Speculation is rife that the CRZ wil only weigh 1100kg which these days is pretty trim. Honda hope that the light weight will help the car to achieve sprightly performance whilst still making 30 km/l fuel efficiency.
Honda are set to build the car on the same basic platform as the Insight however the CRZ will be both shorter and wider.
Another note of interest is that the worlds first potential drivers hybrid is now thought likely to be released with its old namesake of CRX instead of the development code CRZ in order to truly show its spiritual link to the legendary 80’s predecessor.
Honda’s mini sports hybrid is expected to go on sale at between 2 to 2.5 million JPY bringing it in line with current Insight pricing.
Sounds rather promising but here’s hoping that the rumours of a bigger more powerful 1.8 litre unit serve true to really give the car the balls it will need to compete against Europe’s finest.