The 2021 model-year is not shaping up as the most dynamic in Honda’s history, the carmaker's lineup lacking much of anything with a sportier temperament. The disappearance of the Fit and the coupe version of the Civic, as well as the abandonment of the manual-gearbox Accord and the temporary deep-freezing of the Civic Si (pending the new generation of the Civic) add up to a pretty spark-free lineup next year.
The Type R variant of the Civic will sit as a lonely reminder that exciting Hondas can and do exist. Except that there may – just maybe - be a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
The Japanese automaker has filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Intellectual Property Office for the CR-Z designation. Now, registering a name can mean a lot and it can mean nothing at all. In the past, we’ve seen companies make applications simply to preserve the rights to a name. On other occasions, however, it’s heralded the arrival of a new product. Think of the Maverick at Ford.
In this case, we fervently hope that Honda is planning the return of a sports coupe to its lineup.
The CR-Z Hybrid was only on the market for one generation, from 2011 to 2016. The model was conceived as a modern interpretation of the famous CR-X of the 1980s. If Honda ever comes back to the sub-genre, it will be interesting to see what shape the new model takes, over and above the looks. By shape here, we're talking about its mechanical configuration, which could include some form of electrification. And why not a super-light model with the Civic Type R engine?
We're still a long way from seeing a new CR-Z in the flesh, but now that the company has reserved the name again, eyes and ears will be trained for any news that might indicate that a CR-Z comeback is in the works.
And just between us, let’s agree that if there's one company that needs a little spice in its lineup, it's Honda.
See also: Our review of the 2016 Honda CR-Z