Following the car's global debut in Paris, Honda has released detailed information on the U.S.-spec version of the 2013 Honda CR-Z. As expected, this sporty hybrid hatch benefits from the same focused cosmetic and functional exterior styling enhancements that endow it with sharper looks, better performance and improved fuel economy.

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The CR-Z's visual revamp starts with a bolder front fascia treatment highlighted by a larger grille with a black mesh insert, "floating" lower spoiler and blue-tint headlamps. Other enhancements include a more functional rear diffuser and restyled 16-inch alloy wheels. The cabin gets a similar recasting that brings upgraded trim elements and revamped trim, including a two-tone look on EX and Navi-grade models. An expanded roster of standards nets Bluetooth Audio and Hands-Free Link, a rearview camera and an Expanded View Driver's Mirror, while the CR-Z's option list has grown to include a Pandora Interface and SMS text messaging functionality.

While the front-drive CR-Z still matches Honda's 1.5-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine with the automaker's Integrated Motor Assist system, a new higher-voltage lithium-ion battery pack has bumped the combined output from 122 to 130 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque when backed by the 6-speed manual transmission or 127 lb-ft when paired with the CVT automatic, bumps of 12 and 4 lb-ft, respectively. EPA city/highway/combined marks of 31/38/34 mpg reflect a 1 mpg gain in the city cycle on the manual-shift CRZ while the 36/39/37 mpg figures for the CVT model show a like uptick in the combined rating.

To put the CR-Z's extra motivation to best use, Honda has fitted this 2-seat hatch with a new Plus Sport System. Usable with the existing Econ/Normal/Sport modes and engaged via a new Sport+ button on the steering wheel, the Sport Plus can be engaged any time the battery is at 50-percent charge or above and the car is traveling at least 19 mph. When activated, a press of the accelerator brings an additional measure of electric boost for up to five seconds.

The 2013 Honda CR-Z is available in three grades, with the base model opening at $20,765, the CR-Z EX starting at $22,445 and the top-line CR-Z EX with Navi commanding $23,945 and the optional CVT adding $650 to any of the three.

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