Does Supercharging a CRZ Finally Make It a Modern CRX?

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Adding boost to Honda’s otherwise tame hybrid ‘sports car’ gives it the shot of character it needs to be a proper CRX successor.

For several glorious months, we tooled around in a 1985 Honda CRX Si. It was purchased, sight unseen, for $200 from the local auction and picked up in a snowstorm. We towed it home, and the first time we took it out for a drive the muffler fell off. It oozed character. Sometimes, not a good character, but beneath the grime was an amazing little car. Power-to-weight is a wonderful formula that can make 91 hp feel heroic, especially with a five-speed manual behind it.

The other day we came across a video about the CRX’s spiritual successor, the CRZ, filmed by auto enthusiast David Patterson, who runs the That Dude in Blue YouTube channel. Now, as you know, the CRZ did not get a rev-happy mill in the same spirit as the CRX. In fact, it got the polar opposite: a hybrid system. There was a six-speed manual in the 2011 Honda CRZ that Patterson drives. At first blush, it’s all hybrid. He notes, “when you stop, the engine shuts off… like a Prius.” Sports car?

“I don’t think it’s even fair to compare it to a CRX,” he says about the stock CRZ. “It’s got a stock exhaust, so it’s pretty quiet.” However, the example he’s driving is far from stock. When he steps hard on the accelerator a particular telltale whine comes in strong. Twin-screw supercharger.

The fun noises are most noticeable from inside the cabin. Patterson relates a story from the car’s owner about revving the engine to show off at a local “Cars & Coffee” meet. It sounded like “a dying cat,” he recalls. Not exactly complimentary, but who’s driving a CRZ to show off? Like our beater Si, you’d do this to have fun. Patterson drops a fun tidbit, saying, “this is the first twin-screw supercharged Honda I’ve ever driven. And I chose to drive the hybrid!”

“This car did its job in being a fun-to-drive hybrid,” adds Patterson, “but it didn’t have any character. That’s what the CRX had over the CRZ.”

Patterson’s verdict? A supercharger is exactly what the CRZ needs. Do you agree? Join us in the forums and let us know what you think.

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Austin Lott is a longtime auto journalist who loves writing about cool cars and hearing the stories behind them. He is a regular contributor to popular Internet Brands Auto Group websites, including Honda-Tech and 6speedonline. Although he's partial to Japanese imports, he'll give anything cool a shot.

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