While Nissan, Mitsubishi and GM are focusing on electric vehicles (EVs), Toyota and Honda – pioneers of mass-produced hybrid models – continue to not only improve their hybrid technologies but also offer more hybrid models. At the Paris Motorshow this week, Honda officially unveiled its Jazz Hybrid which marks the first time a parallel hybrid model is available in the B-segment.
The Jazz Hybrid has the same exterior looks as the Jazz with the normal petrol engine but its there are some cosmetic differences. The headlights are different and have a blue surround, the grille is also unique and the rear lighting units have clear plastic covers. An exclusive colour – Lime Green Metallic – is also offered for this variant, though customers can also order it in the other colours that are available for the Jazz range.
One of the things about hybrids has been the space which has to be allocated for the battery pack and other hybrid system hardware, intruding into the cabin area. However, Honda’s the Jazz Hybrid does not lose any of its practicality with the compact nature of the Honda IMA (Integrated Motor Assist – Honda’s name for its hybrid package) system allowing the hatchback to retain its ultra-flexible "Magic Seats" and 300 litres of boot space.
The IMA battery pack and power control unit have been integrated in the area under the boot floor, retaining the normal boot area and allowing the "Magic Seats" to fold in the same manner as non-hybrid versions. This means that the seats still fold entirely flat or the seat bases can be folded up vertically to accommodate tall items within the car.
Hybrid package for Jazz Hybrid is similar to the one for the CR-Z (left) and Insight
Honda IMA package is compact and battery pack (right) does not take away cabin space
The IMA hybrid system is shared with the Insight and CR-Z hybrids, taking advantage of the proven reliability of the technology. It has almost two decades of development, 10 years of sales behind it and over half a million vehicles on the road.
The IMA system has a 1.3 litre i-VTEC engine and power delivery is via a CVT. Honda says that the CO2 output is the lowest of any automatic car in the B-segment.
The cabin has a fresh look with a darker single colour dashboard which contrasts strongly with the blue lighting of the dials and centre console. The dashboard integrates a version of the Eco Assist function which uses the ambient lighting of the speedometer to advise the driver on how their driving style is impacting on their fuel economy. The Eco Assist function helps drivers to achieve maximum economy during daily driving by making them aware of how their use of the brakes and throttle – in real-time – affects their fuel bills and the environmental impact.
While prices have not been announced, it is confirmed that the Jazz Hybrid will go on sale in some European markets in the early part of 2011. Availability in Malaysia will likely depend on whether the government continues with incentives for hybrid cars which enable their prices to be more acceptable. Without incentives, the cars cost more than most people are willing to pay as they would rather buy a bigger model for the same money.

To know more about the Civic Hybrid available in Malaysia, click here.

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