09 October 2007

The CR-X is back

Honda's Tokyo-bound CR-Z concept previews next-gen lightweight sports car

Honda CR-Z

The new Honda CR-X may finally be on the way. Over the last few years, Honda has released a bunch of dodgy design studies previewing a lightweight sports car, but with the CR-Z concept - due to be unveiled in Tokyo - it looks like finally becoming a reality.

And we approve very much. Top Gear has a big soft spot for the original CR-X, and the CR-Z is by far and away the best-looking of the Honda lightweight concepts we've seen: miles better than the Small Hybrid Sports Concept from Geneva this year and the Remix from LA in 2006.

Honda says that CR-Z stands for Compact Renaissance Zero, which is largely marketing nonsense but does indicate that the Japanese design team has gone a bit retro. That sharply angled glass hatch is straight off the CR-X, while the low, stretched stance is faithful to the original, too.

The CR-Z is powered by a three-stage i-VTEC petrol engine coupled to an IMA hybrid electric motor. Though there are no more details on the drivetrain at the moment, Honda is highlighting the CR-Z's eco-friendliness, so expect a small engine with low emissions.

Those narrow wing mirrors will expand somewhat if the CR-Z makes it to production, while the high-concept interior would be completely overhauled.

The basic proportions of the CR-Z look sensible enough, though - longer and wider than the original CR-X (though no taller), there's a proper back seat... and even those 19-inch wheels don't look too absurd.

We'll have a closer look at the CR-Z in Tokyo towards the end of this month and, if it's even half as good in flesh as in these photos, we'll be imploring Honda to build it.

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