HONDA HOSTS AUGUST
SHOWS OFF NEW CR-Z SPORT HYBRID
By Jeffrey Ross, Photos
by Pepe Delfino
The August SAMA
luncheon was held at the Viceroy Hotel with a beautiful view overlooking
Miami from the 50th floor, and Honda was the sponsor with its all-new
2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid on display.
Sara Pines, a new SAMA member and Honda’s Southeast Regional Public
Relations Manager, made the trip down from Atlanta and was joined by
William Walton and Gina Cappelletti, both from Honda’s North American
headquarters in Torrance, Calif., to talk about the CR-Z.
President Paul Borden kicked off the lunch by giving updates about this
year’s Rides-N-Smiles, which is expected to be on the same weekend as
last year although nothing is definite as of yet.
From there, Marcello Serrato, treasurer, said that SAMA is close to 100
members with new members joining from Orlando and Jacksonville. He also
touched on the annual Christmas party which is still in the works and is
being planned for December 10.
After the business part of the lunch, Pines and her team began talking
about the different aspects of the new CR-Z.
With the CR-Z set to go on sale on August 24, Honda is expecting the
number of hybrid vehicles to increase by 22 percent over the next five
Cappelletti, assistant manager for Honda public relations, said that the
CR-Z will start at $19,200 for the base model and up to $23,200 for the
top-of-the-line CR-Z EX with Navigation.
Walton, Honda’s manager for product planning, talked about the four key
elements that were designed into the CR-Z: Design, Hybrid Performance,
Linear Dynamics and Everyday Comfort.
Like any hybrid, the CR-Z pairs an electric motor with an internal
combustion engine to help maximize fuel economy. For the CR-Z, it uses
Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) and a 1.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC inline-four
to produce a combined 122 horsepower and up to 128 lb-ft of torque.
The IMA uses a 10-kilowatt electric motor mounted between the engine and
transmission that assists the engine in acceleration or acts as a
generator to help recharge the 110-8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery
The Honda CR-Z will be the only hybrid-electric vehicle on the market to
come with a six-speed manual transmission, but the fuel-sipping
continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available.
Although no official EPA fuel economy estimates have been released yet,
Honda expects the CR-Z to get up to 35 miles per gallon in the city and
39 mpg on the highway.
Following the in-depth presentation, those in attendance were welcome to
test drive one of the three models parked in front of the hotel.
Tony Sheffler and his staff at Interstate 1 had a nice route set up
around the hotel to test out the CR-Z models on hand.
Around town, the CR-Z is able to switch from a fuel-efficient hybrid to
a sporty hatchback by using a unique a three-mode drive system
consisting of Econ, Normal and Sport modes.
We want to thank Honda again for its sponsorship of the August meeting,
and we look forward to future events.
Our next meeting is scheduled for September 23, so be sure to check your
e-mail box for updates.