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Honda CR-Z Will Offer Turbo Engine

The Honda CR-Z, a hybrid that attempted to be sporty, but didn’t get great fuel economy and wasn’t all that zippy, is slated to receive an all-new, turbocharged four-cylinder engine to make it both sporty and fuel efficient.

On paper, the Honda CR-Z sounded like a great idea, but like a lot Honda has done lately, did not do well in its execution. It has a 1.5-liter i VTEC 4-cylinder engine mated to Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system and three driving modes: sport, normal and economy. Nobody in his or her right mind would drive the car in economy because it redefines sluggish performance. Normal was almost, almost tolerable and sporty was a blast but killed any fuel efficiency.

Well, according to AutoCar out of England, Honda is hoping to make the car truly sporty and fuel efficient by offering “an all-new, turbocharged four-cylinder [gas] engine option as part of plans to broaden the compact [coupe’s] appeal in key world markets, including the UK.” Heck, that sentence should read “as part of plans to make the CR-Z appealing.”

AutoCar also reports that the new CR-Z powerplant is aimed at providing the performance of a 2.0-liter engine from a capacity of just 1.6 liters. Autocar sources in Japan also say the new engine is likely to come as a standard 160 horsepower model and a highly tuned 200 horsepower model aimed at matching the now defunct 2.0-litre VTEC engine in the Civic Type R. Now that was a sporty car that was appealing to people.

Sharp-eyed attendees at SEMA this year in Las Vegas may have spotted a CR-Z hybrid with a turbo engine, but a little different than what Honda has envisioned. Bisimoto Engineering tricked out a CR-Z with a Bisimoto built 1.5L LEA1 engine, Bisimoto valvetrain, rods, turbo kit, intake gasket, and level 2.4 camshaft. It claimed to put down a combined 533 horsepower. Now that’s a hybrid we’d be glad to drive.

Since its introduction in September, Honda has sold 4,373 of the CR-Z hybrids in the United States. Honda hybrid sales are down 10 percent year-to-date compared to 2009, which was an abysmal selling year for the automotive industry. New car sales in general are tracking about 9 percent ahead of 2009.