Honda Fit Hybrid: First Look

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Honda Fit Hybrid

Honda Fit Hybrid

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As the European brands chase the benefits of diesel in smaller cars--though they're sticking their toes in the hybrid/electric waters as well--the Japanese automakers continue to push forward with their established hybrid systems. The latest is Honda, which has revealed a new hybrid version of its Fit (Jazz) hatchback.

Honda is one of the few companies to focus its hybrid efforts on smaller cars. Most of its competitors are using the systems to boost fuel economy for mid-size and larger cars, leaving the smaller cars to conventional power for their efficiency. It's usually cheaper and more cost-effective to do so, but Honda thinks hybrid drive is the future of small cars, putting its cards on the table with cars like the new Fit Hybrid.

Set to make its world debut next month at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, the Fit Hybrid shares many of its components with the larger Insight, including its hybrid drive system. In this case, the drive system consists of a 87 horsepower 1.3-liter gasoline engine matched to an electric motor and sending drive to the front wheels via a CVT.

Honda Fit Hybrid

Honda Fit Hybrid

Enlarge Photo

No performance figures have been released, but expect somewhere in the ballpark of 60-65 mpg for fuel economy and CO2 emissions of around 100g/km.

As for its appearance, the new Fit Hybrid looks largely unchanged from the standard model. Badging and exterior trim are the only cues used to distinguish the hybrid from a distance. Inside, there’s a single-color dashboard and blue-lit dials and instruments.

No word on any U.S. release date but concerns about price and benefit for the small-car segment could jeopardize things. The current standard Fit starts at just $14,900, and doesn't run far above $20,000 even when outfitted with every available feature. That doesn't leave much room to add the expected $1,500-$2,000 for the cost of the hybrid system, meaning Honda will be pressed to make the Fit Hybrid a good buy against similarly-sized and featured vehicles. First sales start in Japan and Europe early next year.


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Comments (4)
  1. "...meaning Honda will be pressed to make the Fit Hybrid a good buy against similarly-sized and featured vehicles. "
    (where're they found)
    SHOW ME *** ANY *** COMPARABLE VEHICLE (cargo area size, 5-door configuration, fuel-efficiency) SOLD IN - OR ANTICIPATED FOR - THE US MARKET THAT THE FIT/JAZZ COULD BE COMPARED TO, PLEASE???
    Hopefully, the Fiat TwinAir and it's hybrid iteration will arrive soon - with four passenger seating and fantastic fuel economy - but what ELSE even comes CLOSE??!!
    Who the hell is keeping fuel efficient vehicles from our borders (beside that arcane 25-year import restriction), and why the hell aren't the most fuel efficient engine options offered on those that DO find their way through our domestic "force field" of stubbornly held inefficiency???
    Can it truly be possible that the "powers that be" fail to realize that most of us "common folk" would GLADLY sacrifice 0~60 performance for 60 MPG, any day??!!

  2. A substantial penalty for the American version of the Fit is the interference by the Insurance Industry through their enforcers in the NTSB. The Fit, as sold here, is, well, downright ugly. That gob of hideous iron that overhangs the front wheels spoils all the Jazz's elegance. Bad car is bad car design and we should be able to buy this car as originally designed. Safety, shmafety, keep the Insurance lobbyists out of the car design business, give us elegance and beauty not their version of the uglies.

  3. @James: You are proposing, in effect, that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rescind its new and tougher testing routines? I suspect that suggestion would widely be interpreted as pushing for cars that are far less safe--which seems to me a political nonstarter.

  4. I knew I wouldn't win this. I know it is probably impossible to get a Euro or Asian Jazz into this country. Why does the design work go into prduction, that design gets promoted and when one shoes up at the dealership, with tht model in mind, dizzingly duped. It's not just the Fit it's all American sedans - sedans that get to its destination five minutes before the driver does. I think the NTSB did not geberate this but was bidden the obligation by the Insurance Industries. Anyway ugly is ugly.

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