Honda has been dormant far too long. The Japanese giant used to be an engineering colossus, dominant in almost every form of motorsport, whether it be on four wheels (F1, Indycar), two wheels (MotoGP) or no wheels at all (powerboat racing).
This technical supremacy then trickled down into its road car range. It seemed no vehicle could escape the go-faster treatment; sure there was the NSX and the Integra Type R, but there were also tiny turbocharged city cars, and even the staid Accord family sedan received the Type R treatment.
Thankfully, there are signs of resurgence. It's finally returned to Formula 1, though perhaps the less said about that the better, so let's concentrate on the new Civic Type R (though we're not getting it here), as well as the new NSX.
But we reckon there’s untapped potential in the CR-Z. Contrary to popular belief, Honda’s hybrid hatch is a great drive, it’s just the price is a joke and it can barely get out of its own way in a straight line. Here are a few tweaks that could unlock its hidden potential.
WHAT A SCREAM!
Forget turbos, what Honda does best is screaming atmo engines. The CR-Z’s dull 99kW 1.5 is going straight in the bin, replaced by a highly tuned version of the Civic’s 1.8. Around 150kW should prove sufficient, but don’t call us until the redline starts with a nine, okay?
It wouldn’t be a Japanese hot hatch without some aero addenda, hence the appearance of the optional ‘Mugen’ kit, consisting of that huge rear wing, aggressive front bar, ground-scraping side skirts and lightweight 18-inch wheels.
No normal-sized adult human has ever actually managed to sit in the back of a CR-Z. Therefore we’re junking the rear seats, giving the CR-X plenty of room for track tyres or Hello Kitty figurines.
It’ll be sacrilege to some, but the CR-Z’s batteries are staying. There’s no way its hi-po atmo engine would pass modern emissions tests without them. Thankfully, Honda’s F1 involvement will have those batteries producing twice the power with half the weight.
Brembo calipers clamping ventilated discs all ’round will provide plenty of stopping power, while rubber choice will be crucial in providing a balance between grip and entertainment. We’re not chasing lap records here, so the Cup tyres can stay on the shelf.