IT'S BEEN A WHILE since we last mentioned Honda's hunchbacked hybrid the CR-Z, but the latest news is that Honda is preparing to reveal the production version of its hip hybrid sportscar at the upcoming 2009 Tokyo Motor Show in October.
The CR-Z - something of a modern-day CRX successor - is expected to arrive on the market in late 2010 as a 2011 model, and will be one of the first mass-produced hybrid sportscars on the market.
Like the old CRX, the CR-Z will pack a sub-2.0 litre petrol motor under the bonnet, driving the front wheels.
However, unlike the CRX, the CR-Z will also have the Insight's electric assistance motor and battery pack to boost power and cut fuel consumption.
Approximately 105kW will be on tap from the combined efforts of a 1.5 litre petrol engine and the electric motor. A 1.8 litre engine for foreign markets has also figured among speculation about the CR-Z's powertrain.
Surprisingly, the CR-Z will forgo the CVT gearbox used by Honda's other hybrids, in favour of a traditional manual transmission, with a senior Honda engineer saying a DIY cogswapper was far more appropriate for the hybrid hot hatch than a rubber-band tranny.
"CVT is fine for the market, mostly. But we are Honda! We must have a manual! It must be fun to drive, must remind you of the original CRX," the spokesman said.
The CR-Z is also expected to weigh somewhere in the region of 1270kg, which is a fair whack heavier than the old CRX but still relatively svelte by modern standards. Besides, with a torquey hybrid powertrain, a high-revving petrol engine and a proper manual transmission, the 2011 CR-Z looks set to be a deserving descendant of the much-loved and sorely-missed CRX.