First Look: 2009 Honda CR-Z Concept

If this looks familiar, take a closer look. Yes, Honda is still calling the CR-Z on display at the 2009 Tokyo motor show a “concept,” but this instance is very close to the production model due in 2010.

How can we tell? Perhaps the best indicator is actually inside the car. The sci-fi gauge cluster and center stacke have been replaced by a much more conventional design, which borrows a number of components from other Hondas, notably the new Insight. The crazy light piping that ran rampant throughout the show car is now constrained to accents above the door panel inserts and around the cup holders. We doubt the touch-screen controls, however, will make their way into the production car — it’s a safe bet switchgear from the Honda parts bin will control the audio lighting and navigation systems, along with the door locks and windows.

Externally, the car retains most of its original design ethic, although bumpers have been thickened to actually lend some form of crashworthiness. On the downside, this meant designers had to revised the hood stamping, and the tweaked nose no longer seems to carry the attractive curvature of the original. The CR-Z also now sports traditional door handles and mirrors, and it seems the rear quarter windows have been enlarged to provide some additional visibility.

If anything, we’d expect Honda to possibly tone down the wheel and lighting design before the car hits the assembly line, but there’s nothing here that strikes us as completely impossible to mass produce. We’ll bring you more photography and our impression upon seeing the CR-Z in person come October 21, when our live coverage of the 2009 Tokyo motor show begins.

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