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Honda makes CVT option available on CR-Z


EARLIER this year, Honda revamped its sporty looking hybrid, the CR-Z. Now a few months later, the Japanese automaker has ripped out the manual gearbox (the CR-Z is the only hybrid vehicle in the world to feature a manual transmission) and replaced it with a CVT ’box.

Featuring a conical pulley system with drive provided by an adjustable belt, the electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT) allows for a smoother drive. Aided by the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system, the 1.5-litre 88 kW/145Nm engine still provides the same typical performance we expect from the CR-Z. However, benefitting from more effective ratios than a conventional gearbox, the CVT is able to find the ideal transmission ratio to match the engine speed, thereby increasing fuel efficiency and boosting engine performance.

Without dulling the natural performance characteristics of the CR-Z, the CVT is operable in full automatic mode or a manual shift mode, which allows the driver to shift manually between virtual ‘gears’ either via the gear lever or shift paddles mounted to the steering wheel. We just don’t know if we could get past the annoying hum that comes with CVT transmissions.

The addition of a CVT to the CR-Z has in fact improved its environmental credentials with average fuel economy dropping to just 4.9 litres/100km on the combined cycle. Performance values endure, however. The 0-100km/h sprint is completed in 9.9 seconds and it will reach a top speed of 198 km/h.

The new Honda CR-Z CVT features the same high level of specification as the existing manual model, which includes luxuries like a panoramic glass roof, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control and Bluetooth, as well as safety equipment like ABS, EBD, EBA, VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist), Isofix child-seat anchors and six airbags. Changes to specification include the introduction of a new paint colour, Premium Gold Purple Pearl, which replaces the existing Premium Northern Lights Violet Pearl.

The Honda CR-Z 1.5 i-VTEC IMA manual retails for R342 800 and the CVT model for R355 800. Prices include a 5-year/90 000km service plan, 3-year/100 000km warranty and one year’s AA roadside assistance.

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