Designers Talk#6
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Offering the joy of driving

Honda must always remember the joy of driving

When a person is driving, information from the outside world reaches the entire body. For example, the difference between smooth and rough asphalt, the size and composition of objects that the tires run over and all the different surfaces one encounters. It’s not just the eye that tells the driver what’s going on. Tactile information reaches the entire body through the tires, suspension, body, seat and steering wheel.

As the automobile has advanced over the years, the trend has been to bring less and less of this type of information to the driver’s attention. The goal, of course, has been to enhance comfort, but pursuing comfort alone can result in shutting out certain kinds of information. A car that fulfills only the final goal of getting one to one’s destination is may be less than inspiring to some.

A car ought to do more than just get us to our destination; it should offer the joy of driving along the way. We want to bring cars and people closer together. Even as cars continue to advance, that’s something we must not forget. That’s why we designed the CR-Z to be a car that once again allows drivers to experience the joy of driving with the entire body.

A low driving position for an exciting drive

When a person gets in the driver’s seat of the CR-Z, he or she immediately notices the low driving position. In combination with the easy-to-handle, small-diameter steering wheel and the pedals with their sporty positions, this posture creates excitement and makes the driver want to start driving immediately.

When the driver takes off, the superior functionality of the futuristic silver bucket seat becomes apparent. Two phases of support on the sides grip the driver during cornering, while the 3D structure gives plenty of elbow room for smooth shifting. Even new drivers will immediately appreciate the support and superior shifting functionality that keep them relaxed and ready for enjoyable driving.

Veteran drivers will also be excited to encounter the totally new experience of driving the CR-Z. Of course, the world’s first 6-speed manual transmission in a hybrid is also available to maximize everyone’s enjoyment.

Our goal in creating the CR-Z was to offer a compact hybrid sports car for a new era that’s truly fun to drive. We gave the meters a futuristic appearance appropriate for a hybrid, and they feature crystal-blue accenting. The driver does not have to make an effort to check the status of the three-mode drive system, one of the CR-Z’s most distinguishing features. Instead, the mode is conveyed to the driver through the color of the illumination. For example, in Sport mode the ring around the speedometer glows red for a sporty driving feel.

In addition, we’ve clustered frequently used controls to the right and left of the steering wheel to help the driver focus on driving. The door grips have an elegant luster and the instrument panel feels good to the touch—both born of a new manufacturing process.

Storage spaces and cup holders are within easy reach for convenience. Whether it’s on a day off or just an everyday drive, drivers will discover enjoyment along the way to their destination.

Bringing cars and people closer together

In designing the CR-Z, we made sure to keep in mind the goal of driving pleasure—not just reaching the destination. In this era of comfort and convenience, we also wanted drivers to enjoy driving as a full-body experience. The driver drives with the entire body, and the CR-Z responds to the entire body. This kind of interaction is what brings cars and people closer together.

The CR-Z is not about maximizing space and convenience. It’s a car for those who want to enjoy every moment of the drive. From the beginning, Honda has created cars that are fun to drive, and the CR-Z is a totally new step in the evolution of that vibrant tradition.

Thanks to Honda’s original compact and lightweight hybrid system, the CR-Z does offer ample space for occupants and their possessions. But this utility is not enough to ensure true driving enjoyment. Executing on the right development concept is all-important. The CR-Z offers a superb driving position with a seat that keep the driver in communication with the car, as well as displays that allow the driver to concentrate and controls that are right where they need to be. Anyone who takes the CR-Z out on the road will immediately appreciate the spirited interaction, and enjoy being at one with this automobile.

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