Honda has launched its first factory designed and warranted supercharger kit for the manual-transmission version of the CR-Z hybrid.
Supercharged 2011-2014 models will see the two-seater’s stock peak output significantly increased for a serious boost in speed potential for the roughly 2,650-pound car.
In the case of 2013/14 models, power will rise above the base 130 horsepower, and 140 pounds-feet torque, to 197 horsepower, 176 pounds-feet. 2011 and 2012 CR-Zs can also bolt on the kit, and power will be “slightly less” as these don’t have the 2013/14 models’ lithium ion battery pack and overall as-powerful powertrain.
Honda’s Chris Martin today said in an interview the company has not re-certified the supercharged CR-Z with the EPA, but naturally, it “will have some limited effect on fuel economy depending on how you drive.”
Base mpg is for the $20,000-$24,000 CR-Z is rated at 31 mpg city, 38 highway, 31 combined.
Martin said personal experience with a Honda S2000 with pulley type supercharger kit saw his city mileage decrease, but highway mileage actually improved. How the CR-Z kit will fare however remains to be seen.
The CR-Z kit was engineered by Honda Performance Development (HPD) and shown first at the 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas. It costs $5,495 and conservatively takes nine shop hours to install. It is sold alone, but to get a 5 year/60,000 mile warranty Honda recommends only a dealer add the kit.
HPD has a whole menu of go-fast parts to personalize the CR-Z and many are warranted without requiring dealer installation.
Honda said in a statement the CR-Z with HPD parts can deliver track-proven, street-reliable performance.
“The CR-Z was the first hybrid to prove that efficiency doesn’t have to come at the cost of sportiness and fun,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. “With HPD street performance accessories, including the new supercharger kit, the CR-Z will surprise everyone again with even higher levels of performance directly inspired by our on-track racing efforts.”
HPD-developed powertrain modifications include a high-efficiency centrifugal supercharger; HPD air-to-air intercooler; high-flow fuel injectors; an ECU calibrated to meet CARB AT-PZEV regulations with 91 octane fuel; HPD air filter system; and HPD sport exhaust.
Other stuff you can add to make your own factory approved aftermarket special include sport dampers, coil springs with reduced ride height, 300mm disc brakes and HPD 18-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
And it woudn’t be complete without also-available front lip and tail spoilers, rear diffuser and HPD badging.
Martin estimated if desired, one could buy all the HPD CR-Z components – less installation costs, but including the Supercharger kit – for $15,374 plus the cost of the 2013/2014 model year car.
The idea is to offer options and a unique car that competes with limited aftermarket choices for the CR-Z. The tuner’s market is much more developed for Civics, and less for the CR-Z which has been viewed as sporty, but no hot hatch in stock form.
Those interested may wish to see whether the dollars-for-performance equation works for them.
The CR-Z uses the Integrated Motor Assist mild hybrid system, and is the highest mpg 2-seater rated by the EPA. One back-handed benefit of IMA is it allows a manual transmission which earlier hybrids came with, but the CR-Z is the last of the manual Mohicans.
Honda’s i-DCD system in the overseas-sold Fit Hybrid uses a 7-speed dual clutch, and the days of shifting your hybrid by gear lever may be coming to an end.
If one fitted the CR-Z with HPD kit parts, especially the supercharger, regardless what it might do to resale value, it may be a unique last hurrah from the era of manual hybrids.