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by Daniel DeGasperi

The 2013 Honda CR-Z has arrived with more power, more equipment, but a higher starting price.

Pared back to a single model range, the two-door hybrid coupe costs the same $38,490 for either the six-speed manual or automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) model.

Although that is a $3500 increase on the outgoing manual-equipped CR-Z Sport, previously the CVT was a $2300 option. The single 2013 Honda CR-Z is also based on the ougoing auto-only $40,790 Luxury spec, offering leather trim, panoramic glass roof, reversing camera and satellite navigation standard. It is the first time the manual has been offered in high specification.

Larger 17-inch alloy wheels replace the previous model’s 16-inch wheels, while the front bumper and grille, and rear LED tail-lights and diffuser, have been revised.

In manual specification, the 1.5-litre four cylinder and electric motor drivetrain now produces a combined 100kW of power at 6600rm and 190Nm of torque at 1000-2000rpm – up 9kW and 16Nm.

Automatic versions produce 99kW at 6600rpm and 172Nm at 1000-3000rpm, rising by 8kW and 5Nm.

New lithium-ion batteries better harness energy from the regenerative braking system to feed the electric motor, while a new Plus Sport (S+) button the steering wheel acts as an ‘overboost’ function for the engine and electric motor. It can be pressed whether the CR-Z is in Econ, Normal or Sport drivetrain modes.

Combined fuel economy rises by 0.3-litres per 100 kilometres for both transmission offerings, the manual now 5.3L/100km, and the CVT 5.0L/100km.

Honda’s superb-handling hybrid coupe has been a slow seller since its launch in late 2011, notching up just 370 sales in 2012, its first full year on sale.




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