Despite a tepid reception Honda is bringing the CR-Z back for 2013, and the automaker is hoping a host of improvements will add a spark to the compact hybrid. Chief among the changes, Honda is replacing the 100.8-volt nickel metal hydride battery with a more powerful, 144-volt lithium-ion battery pack. The swap will up the electric output from 10kW to 15kW, giving the 2013 Honda CR-Z more power, and slightly better fuel economy. The CR-Z models that use the automatic, continuously variable transmission will get 1 mpg better fuel economy in the city, while the six-speed manual transmission—the Honda CR-Z is the only hybrid to offer a manual transmission—receives 1 mpg more on the highway. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine the battery is paired to will remain the same.
The changes are not only under the hood, Honda has given the 2013 CR-Z a slightly more aerodynamic look, including a new mesh grille, a blue tint for the headlights, and a lower spoiler. The CR-Z will also have two new exterior colors when it goes on sale November 21—Passion Berry Pearl, and Polished Metal Metallic. Bluetooth and a backup camera will also come as standard features. The 2013 Honda CR-Z has a starting price of $20,765 after delivery. It remains to be seen how much the changes will help CR-Z sales, but these modifications are a step in the right direction. We wouldn’t be surprised if the 2013 CR-Z saw modest gains over the current model.