Mendel, who is 55 years old, was quoted by Autonews saying that research shows the CR-Z clicking with "young people and guys my age, because it's reminiscent of the CR-X, which was the ultimate tuner vehicle."
The Honda executive added that young buyers like the CR-Z’s sportiness more than the practical aspects of it being a hybrid. “We thought maybe the hybrid would turn the tuners off,” he said. “Basically, they just say, ‘It’s 20 extra horsepower — what the hell.”
To attract both older and younger buyers, Honda will use social media and sponsoring concert tours of musical acts with a multigenerational appeal.
The car is powered by a petrol 1.5 liter i-VTEC engine working together with Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist electric system. The system delivers a combined output of 122 HP and 128 lb-ft (174 Nm) of torque. Honda offers a six speed manual gearbox or an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Eco features include the rear suspension uses a low-cost H-shaped torsion beam instead of a multi-link layout.
Fuel-economy is estimated at 31/37 mpg (city/highway) for the manual model and 36/38 mpg for the CVT model. Sales of the CR-Z are scheduled to begin in the second half of 2010.