Honda CR-Z coming very soon!

A few months ago I posted some photos from Tokyo Motor Show 2007; Featured on one of those photos was an awesome-looking Honda CR-Z, a futuristic, hybrid concept car that looked like something that had escaped from a Sci-Fi movie.
Here is that same photo so you can see what I am talking about:

Honda CR-Z

Someone commented on that post, wondering if this concept car was going to be produced, and I most ignorantly told that person that there was little chance of that happening, since Japanese carmakers always come up with a multitude of radical concepts that aren’t meant to get past its “concept” stage.
Then, late last year I saw a huge sign on the window of my local Honda dealer shop that read “NEW SPORTY HYBRID – HONDA CR-Z COMING IN FEBRUARY! PRE-ORDER YOURS TODAY!”.
So, yeah… my apologies to the person who commented. It looks like I’d made the wrong assumption. They really are going to make the CR-Z! I’m also really late in getting this news… I would’ve found out a lot sooner if I’d been looking at the news from Tokyo Motor Show 2009.

Amazingly, the production model (or rather the 2009 concept based on it) looks very similar to the concept; something that in my opinion doesn’t happen very often, especially with a design like the CR-Z’s. Look at the photo below.. looks a lot like the car in the photo above doesn’t it?

Honda CR-Z hybrid coupe

Certainly bears a lot more resemblancec than that Suzuki Kizashi from a year or two ago, which although in its concept stage looked fresh and innovative, turned out to be really plain-looking when it eventually went into production.

See how the Kizashi transformed from this… into this.

Not much semblance between the two, is there? Now I know it’s not really fair to be setting Kizashi as an example here, but when you compare different stages of these two cars, it’s easy to see that Honda actually did a very good job in staying in line with the original design.

For anyone interested, here’s a gallery full of spoilerific CR-Z photos (Japanese site):
Honda CR-Z Photo Gallery

I wouldn’t mind owning one of these babies, although with only 2 seats I’m not so sure if it will be a bit hit among practical people with family members. What do you think? Would you want to become an owner of a CR-Z?

Honda will start selling the car on February 26 in Japan. Looking forward to how this “sports hybrid” will do out there on the market!

Oh yes, and if you’re looking to buy a quality used car from Japan, keep checking Autocom Japan’s online showcase of vehicles. Sorry there’s no CR-Z in the list (since there’s no such thing as a used CR-Z yet) but there are many other great Japanese cars for you to see. Enjoy!

広告

Prius is STILL the Most Fuel-Efficient Car

Well, here’s some car-related news that’s worthy of attention.
Last week, United States’ E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency) has released its latest list of fuel-efficient vehicles. And guess what car won first place in the list of top 10 economical cars? The Toyota Prius… again! According to the Japanese article at carview.co.jp, this is the 4th consecutive year in which the Prius has emerged victorious among a multitude of green cars.

Amazingly enough, the latest Prius has managed to run 21.68km per litre in the city (that’s 51MPG!) and 20.4km/l (48MPG) on the highway.

EPA's Greenest Car

EPA's Greenest Car: Toyota Prius

Here is the top 10 list:

1:Toyota Prius
2:Ford Fusion Hybrid
3:Honda Civic Hybrid
4:Honda Insight
5:Lexus HS250h
6:Nissan Altima Hybrid
7:Ford Escape Hybrid
8:Smart ForTwo
9:Toyota Camry Hybrid
10:Lexus RX450h

It’s interesting to note that 9 of the top 10 vehicles are hybrids, cars that move by means of an electric motor as well as an engine. The only non-hybrid car in there is the tiny Smart ForTwo (which I am personally quite fond of, because it’s so cute). Even better is the fact that 7 of the cars are Japanese: 4 Toyota/Lexus, 2 Hondas, and a Nissan.

For a more detailed list, check out this link: Most and Least Fuel-Efficient Cars.

As you can see on that link, on the other end of the fuel-efficiency scale are big expensive supercars like the Lamborghini Murcielago, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti and the Bentley Continental. While the MPG figures for those cars are pretty depressing to look at, I guess that if people can afford those cars in the first place, they won’t have any trouble keeping their gas tanks filled. I wish I were one of them!

On another note, I must mention that I have fallen in love with the 10th car on the list: Lexus RX450h. Without a doubt, this is one of the most beautiful luxury SUVs I have ever set eyes on!

Lexus RX450h

Lexus RX450h

The Smallest Car in the World?

Hi everyone, it’s Maki here again. This is my first post on this blog in a few weeks, so let’s hope I can make this at least a little interesting to read.

These days, with fuel price and the prices of so many other things on the rise, many people are turning their attention to cost-efficient small cars. In fact, there are so many small hatchbacks in Japan today that it’s practically impossible to keep track of all their names.

And actually, these cars actually make a lot of sense: most of them can seat up to 5 people, carry luggage in the back (albeit not very large ones), require a refill only once in a blue moon, can effortlessly conquer narrow roads, and most importantly, will get you where you want to go. So, unless you need to drive on muddy hills, carry tons of luggage or have a large family, there is no need to own a big car; for many people, a small hatch can be just the kind of car they need.

Let me show you a few examples of popular small Japanese cars that are commonly found in stock at Autocom Japan. (To see the entire stock list click here)

Toyota Vitz

Toyota Vitz

KSP90

Honda Fit

Honda Fit

GD1

Nissan March

Nissan March

AK12

Toyota Ist

Toyota Ist

NCP61

Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift

ZC11S

They are all good, reliable machines.
My intent today, however, is not to show you every little detail of these cars to show you how good they are; I don’t know well enough about them to do that. Instead, I’d like to show you how small cars can possibly get and still be functional as… well, a car.

So which of the cars above is the smallest? To be honest, none of them are.They are, in fact, giants compared to what is known today as “the smallest car ever to go into production”: the Peel P50.

And here’s a photo of it. Isn’t it the cutest thing?

Peel-P50

It looks like a cyclops with its single headlamp. Ok, so I have to tell you first that this is NOT a Japanese car, it is 100% British, manufactured by Peel in the Isle of Man during the early 1960’s. (People often say that we Japanese are the best at making small things, but it looks like the Brits have beaten us to it this time)
The car seats only one adult, weighs less than 60kg, and its engine capacity is no more than 49cc.
Instead of writing about this as if I know everything, I should just refer you to its wikipedia article here, from where I got all the info.
I did not know of this vehicle’s existence until I happened upon a video of famed British TV show Top Gear, in which presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who is 6ft5in tall, crammed himself into this tiny little car and drove himself around London. In my honest opinion, it’s one of the best Top Gear features ever, and a timeless classic.

Here is that famous Top Gear video clip for everyone to see:

According to Wikipedia, the Peel P50 can do 100MPG(!!). I’d say that’s more than economical enough for me! Of course, a car of this size is way too small to drive around safely in these days, and I’m sure everyone wants cars that seat more than a single person. Still, it’s interesting to see the kinds of small cars that people have been making decades ago, and how they have changed over the years.

By the way, this little Peel is now a vintage car and costs many, many times more than any of the Japanese cars pictured above. Amazing!