Honda’s have been long deemed ‘torqueless wonders’ because of their small displacement, high-revving, and naturally aspirated layouts. This may be changing, however, because Honda Performance Development (HPD) has just announced a factory supercharger kit for the CR-Z hybrid.
A blown CR-Z has been talked about for years, but the news still comes as a bit of a surprise because HPD has never offered a factory supercharger kit before. In fact, the tuning wing just expanded from motorsport to the ‘street performance’ market last year.
The HPD kit ramps the engine up to 197 horsepower (from 130), but Honda didn’t specify the new torque figures. The forced induction system includes high-flow injectors, an air-to-air intercooler, a revamped air filtration system, and a retuned ECU. It’ll run $5,495, not including dealer installation.
Other HPD performance options include a tuned exhaust, a responsive sport damper system, lowering springs, a limited slip diff, beefier brakes, and a sport clutch.
The boosted CR-Z will without a doubt be fun to drive, but there’s one glaring problem. Who is going to buy a supercharged hybrid from Honda?
I’ve been driving Hondas for years, and I’d be lying if I said 18-year old me wouldn’t drool over a factory supercharger option for my grocery getter. This just doesn’t seem like the right car for it.
The sport compact hasn’t been selling extremely well, and it wasn’t because it was too slow or uninspiring. It’s a hybrid Honda after all; buyers don’t go to the CR-Z looking for STI-like performance. No, the CR-Z’s sales have flopped because it’s a car that tries to do too many things (be fuel efficient, sporty, and cheap), but fails to do one particularly well.
Adding forced induction nearly eliminates an entire side of the equation (fuel efficiency and low cost) in order to enhance the other, less important side. My high school self would probably slap current me for saying this, but the supercharged hybrid just doesn’t make sense.