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All-New 2015 Honda Fit Appears, Hybrid Model Too (Not For U.S., Though?)

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The Honda Fit today is the oldest subcompact sold in the U.S., but there's an all-new one on the way.

Now Honda has released the first official photos of the entirely redesigned Fit for the Japanese market, though only so far in the form of the Fit Hybrid model not sold in the U.S.

The images show a more angular but otherwise recognizably all-new Honda Fit (also known in some markets as the Jazz).

While Honda released few specific details, the latest Fit will likely retain its "Magic Seat" folding and removable rear seat--the feature that makes the current Fit the most flexible and capacious subcompact on the market.

New small hybrid system

Equally important, though, Honda has released some details of its all-new Sport Hybrid i-DCD small hybrid system for subcompact and compact cars.

The new system replaces its Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) mild-hybrid system, first used on the original two-seat Honda Insight in 1999, and subsequently revised in several iterations over the years.

The latest generation of the IMA system is still sold in today's 2013 Honda Insight, CR-Z, and Civic Hybrid models.

But as we detailed last November, Honda has been discussing its new small hybrid system for the past year or so.

New Honda Fit Hybrid (Japan-only model)

New Honda Fit Hybrid (Japan-only model)

Enlarge Photo

Separate, second hybrid system

This is, we should note, a different system than the far more powerful two-motor hybrid system for larger vehicles--mid-size sedans and perhaps, one day, even minivans--now used in the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid.

That system will roll out nationwide in the non-plug-in (and much higher volume) 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid when it goes into production at Honda's Marysville, Ohio, factory this fall. (Plug-in models will continue to be built in Japan.)

The new, smaller hybrid system Honda has described for the next Fit will likely be seen in the U.S. in an updated Civic Hybrid, as well as replacement models for the current Insight subcompact hatchback and CR-Z sports coupe.

i-DCD replaces IMA

As detailed last fall, Honda's new hybrid system--to be known as Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive, or i-DCD--will feature a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, running on the ultra-efficient Atkinson Cycle.

A single electric motor, as before, will sit between the engine and transmission, with output of 20 kilowatts (27 hp) or more. The combined power output of the engine and electric motor is 134 hp (100 kW).

But now the i-DCD hybrid system will use Honda's first-ever dual-clutch automatic transmission, with seven speeds.That replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) previously used with the IMA hybrid system.

1.5-liter engine with Sport Hybrid i-DCD system used in Honda Fit Hybrid (Japan-only model)

1.5-liter engine with Sport Hybrid i-DCD system used in Honda Fit Hybrid (Japan-only model)

Enlarge Photo

Honda says the new Fit Hybrid will be 35 percent more efficient on the Japanese test cycle than the previous Fit Hybrid model was.

It is rated at 85.6 mpg (36.4 km/liter) on the Japanese test cycle--which typically returns much higher fuel efficiency numbers than the U.S. EPA gas-mileage ratings.

Electric-only, at last

The new i-DCD system permits both electric-only acceleration from a stop and more efficient electric-only coasting.

Unlike the IMA system, it can decouple the engine and gearbox while using power from the electric motor, or regenerating it when coasting or braking.

On initial takeoff, low- or medium-speed cruising, and deceleration, the system operates with only the electric motor, decoupling the gasoline engine from the gearbox via a clutch.

During hard acceleration and high-speed cruising, the electric motor system adds torque to that of the engine, letting the engine run at higher and more efficient speeds.


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Comments (7)
  1. Might take me a while to get used to the look.
     
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  2. It looks like they have refined the aerodynamics - the crisp edges on the back will help form a Kamm back, and the hatch "spoiler" is flush and curved in the right direction. Do we know the Cd of this new model? Will they be selling the i-DCD hybrid in the USA?

    I hope they kept the Magic Seat...

    Neil
     
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  3. "mid-size sedans and perhaps, one day, even minivans--now used in the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid."

    Minivans? Finally!!!! I can get on board with Honda plug-in hybrid minivan.
     
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  4. "Honda suggests the CVT powertrain will boost gas mileage about 10 percent, while reducing acceleration times by about 15 percent, compared to the current Fit engine with the five-speed automatic." Disappointing. My current Fit is rated 28/34, leaving it to expect about 31/38 at best in the new version, largely behind the competition already.
     
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  5. Context Damien...context! The new Fit will be more then 10% fuel efficient then the current generation. The statement you quoted ONLY refers to the new transmission, the CVT, contribution to better mileage. The obvious better aerodynamics, likely lighter weight, and usual Honda tweaks to the motor will likely bring at least another 10% mpg bump. I look for the new, third gen base CVT Honda Fit built for the USA to get about 32/42 mpg. Those are pretty good numbers considering all that the Fit can do/hold along w/ stellar Honda reliability

    Lets hope the 15% acceleration drop from new CVT is offset by a lighter, more aerodynamic, and more torquey Fit. The Fit was never a burner at the line so I'd be real surprised if Honda made it worse
     
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  6. There are many gaps in this story. If the higher price of a Hybrid Fit can't justify the fuel savings, how is Toyota apparently able to do so with its Prius C....which consumes more fuel in the Japanese test cycle? Is this because the new non-hybrid Fit is so efficient already? How can a hyrid Fit be cost justified in some markets, but not in others? Is it all related to gas prices? If so, it won't be long until North American gas prices increase to what others pay now.
     
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  7. @Ted: You say that "... it won't be long until North American gas prices increase to what others pay now."

    How do you figure that this is the case? The bulk of the difference in gasoline prices between the U.S. (~ $4/gallon) and European countries ($8 to $9/gallon) is added taxes. Oil and refined products are fairly fungible, and will go where the market demands them.

    Do you expect the U.S. to add $4 per gallon or more in taxes to the price of a gallon of gasoline? Because given the current dysfunction in our capital, that seems highly unlikely. Congress today can't even pass a budget, let alone agree on and pass any kind of U.S. energy policy.

    So where does your prediction come from?
     
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