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Honda Jazz Hybrid to debut at Paris

Paris hatch: Honda's Jazz Hybrid will use the same drive system as the Insight.

World’s first light-sized hybrid confirmed to make its world premiere at Paris

26 Aug 2010

HONDA has confirmed the Jazz hybrid – which it bills as the world’s first B-segment, or light-sized, petrol-electric production vehicle – will make its world debut at the Paris motor show on September 30.

The Jazz hybrid will go on sale in Japan in October and has also been confirmed for release in the UK in early 2011, but remains under consideration for Australia, where it could become the fourth Honda hybrid to be sold here following the existing Civic sedan, this year’s upcoming Insight hatch and next year’s CR-Z coupe.

Honda’s smallest hybrid will be powered by the same IMA petrol-electric drive system as seen in the Insight, meaning a 65kW/121Nm SOHC eight-valve i-VTEC 1.3-litre i-VTEC petrol engine combined with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), with a 10kW/78Nm synchronous AC motor sandwiched between the two to create a parallel hybrid system with total outputs of 75kW and 199Nm.

Like the Insight and Civic Hybrid, it will be able to run on electric-only power in some low speed conditions.

Honda says the hybrid version will come with the same practicality and flexibility of the current Jazz, but will also offer reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions that will be comparable to the Insight – first official details of which will be formally revealed at Paris.

15 center imageLeft: Honda Jazz Hybrid. Below: Honda CR-Z ENCAP crash test.

As we reported in July, however, pre-release information announced in Japan indicated the Jazz hybrid will emit just 77 grams of CO2 per kilometre – 12g/km less than the ‘cleanest’ new vehicle currently available in Australia – Toyota’s Prius (89g/km).

Official Honda documents also state the hybrid Fit – as the Jazz is known in Japan – returns fuel economy of just 30km/L (3.33L/100km), according to Japan’s 10/15 fuel consumption standard, or 26km/L (3.85L/100km) when measured using the JC08 standard.

While the Prius has lost its mantle as Australia’s most fuel-efficient new car to Ford’s Fiesta Econetic (3.7 v 3.9L/100km), those sort of figures should allow the Jazz hybrid to lower that mark further if it is sold here.

Honda says the cleaner Jazz is visually distinguished from mainstream variants by revised headlights with blue surrounds, clear-lens tail-lights, a new front grille, restyled bumpers and a chrome tailgate garnish. It will be available in a range of existing colours, plus a bespoke Lime Green metallic.

The Jazz hybrid’s interior will also be unique, courtesy of a darker, single-colour dashboard designed to contrast with the blue lighting of the dials and instruments. According to Honda UK, the Jazz hybrid will also be the first Jazz to be available with leather trim.

Meanwhile, Honda’s forthcoming CR-Z hybrid has also been handed a five-star crash test rating from the European NCAP program, with a commendable 93 per cent adult occupant protection result and 80 and 71 per cent returns in the child and pedestrian categories respectively.

It also received an 86 per cent score in the ‘safety assist’ category, which takes into account crash-avoidance features such as electronic stability control.

Euro NCAP testers did note, however, that Honda’s recommended child restraints will not fit in the rear if the front seats are set to the normal test position, prompting separate tests to be performed to determine both adult occupant protection (using Euro NCAP’s usual front seat positions) and child occupant protection (for which the front seats were moved forward to accommodate the child restraints).

The CR-Z is not scheduled to reach Australian showrooms until the second half of 2011, while Honda’s Insight dedicated hybrid due here in November this year has also received a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.

In addition to CR-Z, Euro NCAP also handed down five-star safety ratings to three other vehicles overnight: the new-generation Suzuki Swift and Citroen C4, and the Hyundai ix35.

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