Honda began rolling out in Japan today a new hybrid known as the CR-Z. This sporty hybrid, which will also, according to the Associated Press, be available in the United States and Europe by midyear, combines a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine and Honda’s proprietary hybrid system. Though no specific American fuel estimates were given, the AP estimates the CR-Z will get upwards of 38 MPG on the highway.
The CR-Z hybrid, according to Honda, will incorporate three driving modes drivers can choose from. These modes – sport, normal and econ – will allow for varying up of the balance between driving and fuel economy “depending on the driver’s driving style and/or driving situation such as in the city, on the freeway or on winding roads.” It will be, as a reported first, the world’s first hybrid to offer a 6-speed manual transmission option alongside the standard automatic transmission.
Like other hybrids, the electric portion of the powertrain can be used to supplement the power of the gas portion. In this particular case, Honda noted, the 1.5-liter gas motor “achieves acceleration performance equivalent to a 2.0-liter gasoline engine.”