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Honda has hybrid hiatus

Discharged: Honda's accomplished CR-Z hybrid coupe offered exciting dynamics, CR-X-reminiscent looks and wallet-pleasing economy, but slipping sales have relegated it to retirement.

CR-Z, Jazz and Civic hybrids all gone from Honda line-up but more on the way

28 Jan 2015

HONDA Australia has dropped all three of its hybrid models with orders no longer being taken for CR-Z coupe, Jazz Hybrid compact hatch or Civic Hybrid sedan.

The company says the cull is to prepare the ground for a new wave of Hybrid Sport vehicles under the Earth Dreams Technology umbrella, but ebbing consumer interest in the fuel-sipping trio is likely to have been a contributing factor too.

In the case of its sporty CR-Z coupe, sales had taken a pummeling, down from the 370 units sold in its first full year, to the 86 sales in 2014, prompting previous speculation of the model's future.

Despite dwindling sales of its small hybrid vehicles, the Japanese car-maker is not giving up on the fuel-saving technology, with a hybrid version of the Accord on its way in the first half of this year.

While off the table for now, the little petrol-electric Jazz will make a return with the next-gen car, possibly in 2016, although timing for its arrival is yet to be confirmed.

A third hybrid model will also hit showrooms next year when the hyper quad-motor NSX supercar lands, taking the crown as Honda's halo car – a role that has been notably unfilled in recent years.

Honda Australia public relations manager Melissa Cross said Honda’s next hybrids would take a step up from the outgoing fleet.

“This new technology is significantly more advanced than what has been available in the past and will provide an outstanding driving experience,” she said.

With potent mid-mounted V6 turbo performance combined with three electric motors and four-wheel drive, Honda's sportscar offering will create a link between its hybrid technology and performance pedigree.

The hybrid version of Honda's ninth-generation Accord will bring low fuel consumption of 3.3 litres per 100km thanks to its 2.0-litre 102kW petrol engine and 124kW electric motor combination.

The combined output beats the standard 2.4-litre petrol Accord's 147kW and 7.9L/100km, and even exceeds the 206kW of the V6 powered flagship variant.

Power from the Earth Dreams Hybrid i-MMD powertrain gets to the Hybrid's front wheels via CVT with switchable driving modes.

Honda says a plug-in hybrid version of the Accord is capable of 1.42L/100km, and can offer electric-only driving of up to 38km when the battery is fully charged, although this version is not under consideration for Australia.

Hybrid Accords are already on sale in the United States where it goes head to head with Toyota's hybrid Camry – a rival it will face on Australian soil.

Pricing for Honda's future hybrid range is still a long way off, but will be critical to its success, with the CR-Z's $38,490 price tag almost certainly contributing to its demise against more affordable but similarly performing rivals.

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