Saturday, March 24, 2012

The CRZ that kills birds...

...but makes the guy paying for it feel alive and happy.
It's no news, the CR-Z ir FAR from being the acclaimed CRX replacement.
I tend to think that If they called it Honda Green, or Honda TweetyBird...or even Honda CRU, I wouldn't hate it as much.
But Honda called the CRZ the "Next Step from the CRX", hence the "Z". That was just offensive. It seems like the company that created the CRX forgot their own product, or the new guys working there never ever understood the "old"guys project at all.
The CRX was about Lightness and Nimbleness coupled with a state of the art engine that pulled out 100bhp/tonne in it's best evolution.
Years latter, Honda managed to:
   - kill lightness with a huge battery pack!?!?
   - kill nimbleness with a high-stance car instead of a LOW-to-the-GROUND sports one.
   - killed the engine power using a IMA unit that pumps out less than 80Bhp/litter and a joking 114bhp top + 14bhp with electric assistance.

So, is Honda selling worse a product marketed as a better one?
NO, and YES.
No, the CRZ is not worse than the CRX if you are a bird and feel that the CO emissions is disturbing your libido function.
No, the CRZ is not worse than the CRX if you have an accident and absolutely need to walk out of it with nothing but an headache.
No, the CRZ is not worse than the CRX if you think that a sports car should have the same economy as a diesel vw lupo.
No, the CRZ is not worse than the CRZ if you like that odd rear-end
but...
Yes the CRZ is far worse than the CRX if you like cars
Yes the CRZ is far worse than the CRX if you think a sports car needs an engine
Yes the CRZ is far worse than the CRX if you like a nimble and light chassis
Yes the CRZ is far worse than the CRX if you like to lightly tune up your car to your personal preference.
Yes the CRZ rear end is ugly and difficult to live-with compared to the CRX.

To make a long story short (quoting my self talking to a friend that brought the CRZ), Honda makes you pay for the car, but built it having the bird and pigeons in mind, NOT YOU!
He replied: But I've already brought the thing...
 ...Is there a solution for this mess?
Sure!
No need to panic.
When Honda released the Eighth generation Civic, the European version on the coupé was a disgrace. The car has lost it's independent rear suspension that made the EP3 (7th gen) chassis so good.
However, the 8th gen sedan had the same EP3 independent rear suspension...but was an IMA hybrid!
Weird! Honda puts the brilliant K20A engine in the Coupe type-r with a bad suspension...and the poor stupid IMA hybrid in the sedan, but with the best rear suspension the civic has ever had.
So how would one save this car? Well Honda may be selling crappy products, but they tend to do so on the European market only, cause the Japanese Domestic Market version of the 8th gen Type-r has the brilliant K20 Engine (pumping over 220bhp from it's Natural Aspirated 2 litre engine) coupled with the sedan chassis that suffers an extreme diet.

The very same approach could be used on the CRZ.
Dump the batteries, dump the IMA engine (maybe it will be useful to build an epi-lady or something like that) and fit the K20A with the 6speed Gearbox into it, then lower and stiffen the car.

Now I've been saying this since I've seen the first car specs with a claimed 200bhp from an extreme IMA unit... but Honda failed to deliver.

Meet the K24 CRZ from Eibach

It's pointless to tune a chassis without removing unnecessary weight. And a Car with 200kg of batteries that return less that 20bhp...needs a diet.
Together with the batteries, an engine that produces no power at all is also no good, so out with the IMA and in with...

... the K24. It's the same K20 from the Type-R Civic and JDM Fourth Generation Integra but since it's being used in the Accord, an extra 400cc has been added to cope with the extra weight.

The result? Well the result is FINALLY a CRZ. A decent successor for the CRX.
This car is created for the ones Paying for it... it's a driver's car, not the TweetyBird's car, and since the driver is the one paying for it, it feels just right.

The K24 is producing around 280bhp and that's more than double the original 1.5 unit's 112bhp...that's 116Bhp/litre and its close enough to the european version S2000 120Bhp/litre to be called an evolution worthy of this day and age.

If you like you can watch the video of the test drive from Banzai magazine HERE.