As Honda continues efforts to build its hybrid sales in the U.S., the automaker has now announced the MSRP for the 2011 Honda CR-Z.
The base price on the "sport hybrid coupe" will be $19,200 with a six-speed manual transmission and $19,850 with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The up-level CR-Z EX will start at $20,760 with the six-speed, increasing to $21,410 for the CVT-equipped model. Adding Honda's voice-activated nav system, only available on the EX trim, brings the price of admission on the CR-Z to $22,560 for the DIY transmission or $23,210 with a CVT. There is a $750 destination and handling charge on all models.
But the big difference with the CR-Z is the fact that Honda engineers have tried to maintain the kind of dynamic driving experience on which the automaker originally built its reputation.
For example, the CR-Z features a standard three-mode driving system that includes a dedicated sport mode. When a driver selects this setting, the car delivers enhanced throttle response and steering feel, along with more aggressive assistance from the CR-Z's electric motor.
A sport-tuned suspension is also part of the mix, with the CR-Z getting MacPherson struts up front to go with its H-shaped torsion-beam setup at the rear. Honda engineers also worked to optimize handling by specifically designing the car to have a low center of gravity, with a low vehicle height, a wide track and hybrid components placed beneath the rear cargo floor.
On the other hand, there's plenty of fuel-saving gadgetry as well. The same Eco Guide and Eco Scoring functionality found on the Insight is part of the CR-Z's package, providing real-time feedback that helps teach owners how to drive for optimum fuel efficiency. As a result, the CR-Z is expected to put up an EPA line of 35 mpg city/39 mpg highway/37 mpg combined. That combined number would be the fifth-best rating in the industry, and give Honda three of the top five performers in this measure, including the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Insight.
There should be plenty of demand for a hybrid coupe that's both fuel efficient and fun to drive, and early test drives seem to indicate the CR-Z will deliver on both counts. Whether it can deliver added sales for Honda will be put to the test beginning August 24, when the car goes on sale in the U.S.