Is it an eco car, or is it a performance model? Honda has always claimed the CR-Z hybrid is a little of both, but neither green-minded buyers nor driving enthusiasts have really been convinced. At 37 mpg combined, it's hardly a Prius-beater at the gas station, and a meager 130-hp output won't impress any drag racers.

A new supercharger upgrade from Honda Performance Development won't placate the greens but it does at least give the CR-Z some of the pep it's always cried out for. Available from your local Honda dealer now, the modifications liberate a full 197 horsepower from the 1.5-liter IMA hybrid system, or just under 50 percent more power than stock. The upgrade is long overdue, not just for CR-Z fans desperate for more power, but because Honda promised the official HPD upgrades at last year's SEMA show.

The good news is that it's fully sanctioned by Honda, and therefore retains the balance of the CR-Z's standard 5 year/60,000 mile limited powertrain warranty after fitment. If you're one of the few hardy souls still buying CR-Zs, you've got a good few years of worry-free tuned hybrid motoring ahead of you. It's a thoroughly-engineered kit too, with an HPD air-to-air intercooler, high-flow fuel injectors, an ECU calibrated to meet CARB AT-PZEV regulations (on 91 octane fuel), and an HPD air filter system.

If you're feeling flash with your cash then other upgrades are available from HPD, including sports shocks, uprated and lowered springs, large-diameter brake rotors and specially-designed 18-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Helping control the extra urge is an optional limited-slip differential and an uprated clutch. Front and rear spoilers, a rear diffuser, sports exhaust and various emblems and decals are there for the taking should you wish to add visual aggression to the CR-Z's wedgy shape.

The price for all this performance? $5,495 for the supercharger kit and its associated ancillaries alone. That's quite a lot of money, though also not a great deal more than some other supercharger packages and it does come with that untainted factory warranty. And if you're buying your CR-Z used rather than new, it could make for a genuinely fun small coupe with still-respectable gas mileage. If only Honda had given buyers the option a little earlier...


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