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Honda reveals hybrid Legend

End of a legend: Honda's fifth-generation Legend has electrically driven rear wheels and hybrid economy, but flagging Australian sales have thwarted any plans to bring it Down Under.

Next-gen Honda Legend gets 281kW AWD hybrid powertrain but no more for Australia

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Honda logo11 Nov 2014

HONDA has confirmed its fifth-generation Legend luxury sedan will be powered by a petrol/electric hybrid system that shares 281kW between all four wheels.

The hybrid driveline is a first for Honda’s flagship and combines a 3.5-litre V6 and two electric motors to return fuel economy of 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres, but despite its low fuel consumption the model will not be coming Down Under.

As reported, slow Australian sales of the current fourth-generation Legend have sealed the sedan’s fate in this country, excluding it from local showrooms for the first time since the nameplate was introduced nearly 30 years ago.

Honda Australia told GoAuto that while the other regions of the world were gearing up for the new model, local sales of fourth-gen Legend had finished with all stock sold and no more ordered.

The show will go on overseas however, with the new version on sale in Japan in late January 2015 with other right-hand drive markets likely to follow soon after. The US effectively already has the new Legend as a rebadged left-hand drive Acura.

A front-mounted 227kW i-VTEC engine has an in-built electric motor and sends power to the front wheels via a seven-speed double clutch transmission, while the rear wheels each have a 27kW electric motor.

Under pure electric ‘EV’ mode, just the rear wheels power the Legend but with ‘Hybrid Drive’ mode selected, the V6/electric motor combination joins in to boost performance.

A third ‘Engine Drive’ mode relies solely on petrol power, with the V6 generating electricity for all four wheels and offering the highest performance.

The Legend's hybrid system decides how power is most efficiently distributed and uses the rear axle motors for regenerative braking in all driving modes.

Cylinder deactivation technology also boosts fuel economy by cutting three cylinders under light load conditions.

In addition to fuel efficiency benefits, Honda says the Legend's all-wheel drive system also enhances its handling and road-holding characteristics, with torque-vectoring and vehicle stability systems incorporated in to the multi-motor technology.

A new suspension system complements the chassis with double wishbones up front and a multilink set up at the rear, which Honda says provides “superb handling stability and refined ride comfort”.

More comfort and “hospitality” is also provided by the new Legend's interior, which features “high quality” leather, generous rear leg room and low noise due to active engine mounts and special vibration deadening foil in the tyres.

Rear passengers are treated to sunshades and a large central armrest, which houses a large colour monitor for controlling comfort features and entertainment systems.

At the front end, Legend drivers have a head-up display and Honda's ‘sensing’ driver assistance system, which uses a radar and camera to detect collisions.

The system can warn the driver of an impending collision or provide steering and braking assistance to avoid the incident if the driver does not respond to alerts.

Just five Legends have been sold in Australia this year, clearing out local stock of Honda's $76,135 luxury sedan.

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