Thursday, October 11, 2007

New CR-X to Steal Market Once Dominated by Toyota? We Hope So...

Once upon a time, Toyota made some pretty cool "hot hatches" and even...*gasp*...sports cars! There were, of course, the legendary "AE86" Corolla GT-S models, the later front-wheel-drive FX 16s, and all manner of cool Celicas, MR2s, and Supras. Honda had their CR-X, a tuner favorite, which gave way to the softer, less desirable (by our standards) del Sol.

But those days are long gone. Toyota's current lineup is pleasant enough, and the cars are selling like hotcakes...but really...walk into a Toyota showroom, and they may as well have signs saying "Welcome to Dullsville!". And those Prius drivers are a real bother, always driving slow in the left lane and whatnot. Oh well, it ain't the good ol' days anymore.

Toyota's lack of sports cars in the current lineup has opened the door for other companies to attract the enthusiasts that Toyota has essentially abandoned. Nissan is offering tasty cars like the new Altima Coupe and their revival of the Z; Mazda is definitely in the mix with its Miata, RX-8, and MAZDASPEED products. And it's time for Honda to step into the fray with their recently unveiled CR-Z, which harkens back to the original and much-loved CR-X.

The CR-Z is larger than the old CR-X, according to our buddies at Winding Road, who leaked news about the CR-Z concept onto the web on Tuesday. It's likely to be a gas-electric hybrid.

To quote from Honda's press release on their presence at the Tokyo Motor Show:

"'CR-Z' stands for 'Compact Renaissance Zero'-an expression intended to capture the idea of a renaissance in the design of compact cars that begins anew from fundamentals.

This design research model of a lightweight hybrid sports car features advanced technologies that deliver enjoyable driving for all while reducing the vehicle's environmental footprint."

We say, emphatically, build it! The renaissance of the Japanese sports car can't come soon enough for us.