New Honda Fit Hybrid (Japan-only model)
Where once the Honda Fit Hybrid sold in Japan and Europe used the same mild hybrid Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) powertrain as that of the current Insight, the new Fit Hybrid uses a new SH i-DCD layout.
SH i-DCD stands for Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive, giving some clues as to how the full hybrid system works. Its 1.5-liter engine capacity is larger than before, and the engine itself is all-new, utilizing an Atkinson combustion cycle like that of hybrids from rival Toyota.
This is paired with an electric motor, sitting between the engine and a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission--replacing the continuously-variable transmission (CVT) that divided opinion in the old car.
Unlike the IMA car, the electronics can decouple engine and transmission while using the electric motor, allowing drivers to pull away entirely on electric power. While the old system could run on electric power alone, it was a less sophisticated system that still turned the engine over, with no ability to decouple.
The upshot is a system with much greater efficiency than before--a healthy 85.6 mpg on the very city-biased and low-speed Japanese test cycle--and potentially more fun, thanks to the dual-clutch gearbox and combined 134 bhp output.
It's worth noting that the Fit's Hybrid system is different from that of those found in the Accord Hybrid and the upcoming Acura NSX, and has been developed specially for the firm's smaller cars.
Nor will it be coming to the U.S, though the Fit itself will appear next Spring when Honda's Mexican assembly plant is in full swing. The regular hatchback model will be followed by a Fit sedan and even a compact crossover--likely to be influenced by Honda's Urban SUV Concept shown earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show.
Would you buy the new Fit Hybrid if it was offered in the U.S? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.