2011 Honda CR-Z: Body

The body of the 2011 CR-Z is designed to be stylish and aerodynamic while offering high levels of safety protection. Structural technology includes the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, an exclusive body design that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions. Extensive application of high-strength steel (45 percent) contributes to high levels of overall body rigidity, reduced weight and enhanced safety potential. A rigid body structure allows the it to remain steady while the suspension moves freely, resulting in a smooth ride and a solid, "connected-to-the-road" feel. The CR-Z's structural architecture is shared with the Honda Fit and Insight, but it has smaller dimensions compared its platform relatives.

Body Highlights

  • Sporty, 2-passenger coupe with an aerodynamic, sleek style
  • Rigid and lightweight unit-body design with 45% high-strength steel (590 MPa or above)
  • ACE body structure for enhanced safety in frontal collisions
  • Pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle
  • Dimensions L x W x H (inches): 160.6 x 68.5 x 54.9
  • Uniquely curved windshield design with wraparound appearance
  • HID Headlights (CR-Z EX) and LED taillights

Exterior Design Concept

The CR-Z's exterior styling is formed around a "one-motion wedge" concept with a long and low hood line, along with a wide stance that is intended to give the car a sleek, athletic look. Signature Honda design features, including the split-level rear glass hatch and aerodynamic, progressively-raked roofline, have been referenced in the design of the sleek coupe and then combined with a curvaceous and deeply sculpted exterior form. Deeply drawn body panels and fenders convey strength and solidity, while the sheet metal provides a high-tension look, as if the metal was stretched and pulled tightly over the exterior framework.

Body Construction

The body is a unit body design with innovative solutions to ensure the styling did not compromise the usability or dynamic responses of the CR-Z. The engineers wanted to create a stiff body design to ensure that dynamic responses met expectations consistent with the styling. To achieve this, metal gussets are used in critical areas around the front and rear suspension turrets to provide a firm base for excellent suspension control. Significant engineering achievements include deeply drawn front and rear fenders, along with the transition from negative to positive stamped shapes and the sharp character lines on the sides of the vehicle.

Structural enhancements and substantial use of high-strength steel can be found throughout the vehicle to enhance its rigidity and contribute to the vehicle's sporty dynamics. Specially constructed components include reinforcement gussets that connect the bulkhead area to the front strut tower area, which has a similar effect as adding a tower bar between the strut towers. Stiffeners were also applied to the rear damper bases in order to reduce lateral deformation that can occur during sporty driving. Two additional body-reinforcement performance rods are located under the rear floor in front of the H-shaped torsion beam rear suspension. The performance rods reinforce the two rear compliance bushings where the torsion beam connects to the sub-frame, and contribute significantly to the solid driving feel. Structural stiffness around the large hatch opening has been increased by reinforcements at all cross sections that unite to create a structurally "closed" section. As with all recent Honda models starting with the 2005 Odyssey, the CR-Z has an ACE body structure (see safety section for more information). The CR-Z for North America has 5 mph bumpers front and rear.

Aerodynamic Enhancements

Generally, a car with less length offers greater challenges for aerodynamic airflow control since the length where flow control can be carried out is also shorter. Yet, overall aerodynamic efficiency (CdA) equals the impressive achievement of the 2010 Insight, which is 11.7 inches longer. The CR-Z's roof slope and length is critical to its overall aerodynamic performance, and the stylists and engineers worked together to create the longest roof length possible while maintaining the visual balance of the car. The curvature of the A pillars along with the smoothness of the front windshield rain gutter design helps to improve airflow and reduce turbulence in this important area of the vehicle. The rear of the CR-Z has a particularly important role to play in overall aerodynamics and many hours of wind tunnel testing went into refining the final design.

The curvature and shape of the rear hatch and glass area are a part of the significant drag reduction measures along with strongly flared rear fender arches. Airflow is strategically managed over all parts of the rear bodywork, which tapers to prevent air turbulence behind the vehicle. The door side mirrors have been tuned to form a highly aerodynamic shape, supported by a wing form stay, which combines visual appeal with a low drag design. The underbody is also designed for optimal aerodynamics with a flat, even floor. Lightweight plastic parts under the engine bay, the fuel tank and parts of the rear underbody have been added to enhance air flow. The front spoiler and front and rear strakes help direct air flow around the tires and wheel wells.

An air guide under the front bumper directs the flow of air into the engine chamber for cooling. The rear bumper cover's diffuser masks the exhaust pipe on the CR-Z, giving it a balanced look to the rear of the car and aiding the efficient management of airflow under the rear of the car. The diffuser has been coated in a material containing aluminum flakes to give a metallic appearance to the finish.

Windshield, Glass and Overall Visibility

The windshield and front windows take on an integrated, wrap-around look through the use of nearly flush-mounted glass and a gloss black surface finish applied to the A pillars. From a distance the overall effect simulates the appearance of a mono-form cabin design with a single piece of wrap-around glass. The wrap-around effect is made possible through the application of hidden rain gutters integrated into the front pillars that reduce the usual step between the edge of the windshield and the A pillar by 50 percent, contributing to a significant aerodynamic improvement. The angle of curvature at the edge of the windshield of the CR-Z is the greatest of any current Honda model. Not only was forward visibility enhanced by curving the glass around the sides of the car, but a thin A-pillar design that measures 108.8 mm in minimal thickness contributes to forward visibility. The A-pillar strength is optimized through the use of high-grade, high-tensile steel of class 780MPa. From an overall vehicle styling standpoint, the wrap-around windshield positions the A-pillars further back in the side profile, giving the hood a proportionally longer and lower appearance. The rear hatch's split-level window design with a large upper glass section and a smaller vertical lower glass section optimizes outward visibility and accommodates the rear spoiler, which divides the two areas.

Sound Absorption Materials

The CR-Z is designed to provide an exceptionally smooth drive and with reduced noise intrusion into the cabin. Lightweight sound-absorption materials in the roof, carpets and dashboard help keep the cabin quiet and vehicle weight down.

Door Design and Construction

The CR-Z's doors are designed to operate with solid precision with a convenient three-stage detent hinge. Compared to the platform relatives Fit and Insight, the CR-Z's coupe design results in larger doors, so additional reinforcements have been used to increase the connection efficiency at critical junctures around and near the door opening.

An automatic door locking/unlocking system is customizable by driver preference. Automatic locking can be linked to vehicle speed reaching 10 mph, or the gear shift lever shifting from park (on CVT models), or it can be deactivated entirely. Automatic unlocking, configurable to just the driver's door or all doors, can be linked to the ignition switch being turned to the off position, or the gear shift lever being positioned in the park position (CVT models only), or it can be turned off entirely. The factory default for locking is linked to vehicle speed. The factory default for unlocking is linked to the gear shift lever (CVT models) or the ignition switch (MT models), which unlocks only the driver's door when the ignition is turned off (unless reconfigured by the driver). Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for configuring the automatic door lock operations are included in the owner's manual.

Rear Hatch

The split window rear hatch design has been used on multiple Honda models including the original 1984 Honda CRX, both the 2000 and 2010 Insights, the 2008 FCX Clarity, and now the 2011 CR-Z. Compared to a conventional hatch design with a single window, the split-window design allows for a higher roofline to improve aerodynamics while also enhancing the lower field-of-view directly behind the vehicle. The rear hatch incorporates a two-speed, intermittent wiper with washer on the upper window. The width of the opening measures 38.9 inches (990 mm).

Projector Beam HID Headlights

The CR-Z EX is exclusively equipped with Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) projectorstyle low-beam headlights as a premium feature. The HID lights feature a mercury-free design to be more environmentally responsible. The primary operational benefit of the HID projector headlights is a bright and precisely focused light beam for confident nighttime driving, along with an aggressive and technical appearance. It also provides incrementally lower energy usage compared to conventional sealed-beam designs. Halogen high beams are mounted inboard of the projector beams, and offer further nighttime driving confidence with a crisp, bright and focused light beam. The base CR-Z is equipped with halogen projector-beam headlights. The halogen high-beams serve double duty as the daytime running lights (DRL) by operating at a lower voltage. The CR-Z EX adds integrated fog lamps located in an opening below the front bumper.

LED Brake Lights

The taillight system features attention-grabbing LED point lighting for the brake lights and softglowing surface lighting for the tail lights. The sculpted, three-dimensional look of the units adds a distinctive and technical styling element to the rear view of the CR-Z. Additionally, LED lighting uses less power compared to tungsten light bulbs, which is consistent with the vehicle's emphasis on efficiency.

Side Mirrors with Integrated Turn Signals

The vehicle's side mirrors are aerodynamically optimized to prevent wind noise and minimize turbulence. Integrated turn signals in the mirror provide a premium appearance and repeat the front and rear turn signal indicators. To enhance the CR-Z rearward sightlines, the side mirrors reflect a wider field-of-view compared to conventional side mirrors, 1.00R (wide view) vs. 1.400R (conventional), and compliment the view from the rear quarter window. The CR-Z EX models include heated side mirrors.

CR-Z Exterior Colors

Spectrum White Silver Pearl
Storm Silver Metallic
Crystal Black Pearl
North Shore Blue Metallic (exclusive)
Milano Red Pearl

(All interior colors are Sport Gray.)

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