CategoriesArticles News

Temple of VTEC Test Drives the JR CR-Z

Shawn Church at Temple of VTEC got behind the wheel of our Jackson Racing CR-Z after the supercharger system release back in August. After a long weekend with the CR-Z, what was his opinion?

“So what is it like to drive a supercharged CR-Z for a week? Well, I put about 500 miles on Jackson Racing’s development car. I traversed Los Angeles rush hour traffic. Hit the highways for 2 hours of straight line cruising, blasted the back roads and the canyons and commuted back and forth to work on city streets…

…First, let’s cover the tuning of this kit. One of the biggest issues with aftermarket forced induction is that you’re usually depending upon someone of questionable skill to recalibrate the factory ECU to handle boost. And that’s if you’re lucky. Some kits come with piggyback computers that trick the factory ECU. In either case, usually something suffers and poor calibration tends to show up in the worst situations – like stop and go traffic, or trying to start from a stop going uphill, or during extreme hot or cold start scenarios. At some point, you’re going to be reminded that the factory engineers put one to two orders of magnitude more time into their calibration work than whoever sold you the kit did into theirs. Unless its the Jackson Racing CR-Z kit. As a tuner, I’m particularly sensitive to tuning issues and I was, of course, on the lookout for anything on the CR-Z. Worst case scenario would be that I could give Doug MacMillan at Hondata a gentle ribbing if I found something. Except that I didn’t. Really. Absolutely nothing. All that time spent getting this car to pass EPA and CARB testing means that it drives just like OEM, but with more power. Might there be more power if you don’t have to pass those tests? Probably, but in reality, for most owners, this is a set it and forget it kit. My hat goes off to these guys for a fantastic job…

…In the canyons, the JR CR-Z powertrain continues to shine. Smooth predictable power means that you can modulate power to limit wheelspin from the inside tire (no LSD) when powering out of corners. Heel-toe downshifting was intuitive and simple (again, no throttle lag and Honda doesn’t interfere with brake/throttle overlap – yet). The Rotrex blower makes its presence known audibly, but it speaks quietly instead of screaming in your ear. And when the canyons turned into city traffic, the JR kit was nearly transparent, except for the light breathy sound of the supercharger’s recirculation valve when lifting off the throttle at low speeds. Oh and the occasional chirp of the front tires as boost builds in first gear when you give it full throttle to execute a pass. In fact, the factory tires, with 25k miles and a couple of track days, were probably the biggest impediment to speed with the JR kit. From a low speed roll, mashing the throttle in first gear would result in copious wheelspin starting at around 4500 rpm if you didn’t modulate the throttle. With fresher (or simply _better_ ) tires, acceleration at low speeds would be dramatically improved. And speaking of acceleration, with 250 lbs of driver and gear, our best acceleration time to 60 mph as recorded by our Racelogic Driftbox was 6.9 seconds starting with a full 8 bars of charge. Our average time was around 7.2 seconds with 6 or 7 bars. With a better driver (I’m definitely not the fastest drag racer at TOV) and better tires, I think consistent 6.5 second 0-60 times are quite reachable. And while we didn’t have space to run a full 1/4 mile, I would predict a 14.9-15.2 second elapsed time with a 92-94 mph trap speed.

By now, some of you are probably muttering to yourself, “What about fuel economy?” since this is a fuel sipping hybrid with a touch of sport. Well, I think you’ll be impressed. Despite a heavy foot and extensive canyon running, our average over 500 miles was 34 mpg. Excluding the canyon runs, our 60% highway/40% city average was just over 37 mpg. And keep in mind I’m no hyper miler. I set the cruise control at 75+ mph on the highway when I could, I drove the car in sport 90% of the time, and I like to mash the gas around the city. I think that 40 mpg will be easily achievable for most people on the highway which basically means that you’re not really giving up any fuel economy if you don’t want to (IOW – restrain your right foot). In fact, even under our most brutal abuse in the canyons, we were hard pressed to go under 25 mpg. Of course, you are required to use 91 octane with the JR kit, but if you’re looking for the extra power, that’s a small price to pay in my opinion.”

Read more here: The Temple of VTEC: Jackson Racing CR-Z Supercharged Test Drive

Leave a Reply