Making its "official" debut at the 2012 Paris Auto Show a week after turning up on the automaker's stand at the Indonesia International Auto Show in Jakarta, the 2013 Honda CR-Z receives a modest visual tweaking and a touch more motivation for the coming year courtesy of enhancements to both its gasoline engine and the electrical components of its Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system. While the cars in Paris reflect European spec, the U.S. CR-Z is expected to get all of the key changes.
Cosmetically, Honda's sporty 2-seat hybrid hatch benefits from subtle nose and tail tweaks. Up front, the reshaped fascia features a more prominent grille with new matte-black expanded-mesh insert. The CR-Z's headlamps also get revamped through the addition of a row of LED running lights. A revised and more aero efficient rear diffuser tidies up the car's hind quarters and new 17-inch alloy wheels also will be available. Finally, the new CR-Z will add a pair of high-profile exterior colors to its palette: Aurora Violet and Energetic Yellow. Inside, revised trim and colors add more interest to the cabin while recast door panels provide even more storage room.
The 2013 Honda CR-Z's powertrain punch-up starts with modifications to its 1.5-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder gasoline engine that add seven more horses to its peak output. Highlighting that list are revisions to its variable valve timing system and ECU computer controller plus an anti-vibration knock sensor. On the flip side of the motivation coin, the IMA package now features a more powerful motor that also boasts seven more electric ponies and is now connected to a new lithium-ion battery in place of the nickel-metal hydride pack used previously. Collectively, they up the CR-Z's total output from 128 to 135 horsepower while increasing the combined peak torque figure from 123 lb-ft to 140 lb-ft. Best of all, the gains in performance come at no cost to fuel economy.
While it still pays to think twice when contemplating any stoplight-to-stoplight challenges, Honda says this welcome upgrading does cut the CR-Z's 0-62 mph time from 9.7 to a more respectable 9.0 seconds. To take full advantage of the extra muscle on hand, the 2013 CR-Z also comes with a new Plus Sport (S+) boost system that can be used in ECON, Normal or Sport modes any time the battery is carrying at least a 50 percent charge. Activated by pressing the S+ button on the steering wheel, it provides increased acceleration for up to 10 seconds and signals the driver that it's functioning via a flashing light on the dash.
The 2013 Honda CR-Z is expected to go on sale here sometime after the first of the year. No word yet on U.S. pricing.