Honda hybrid a frugal little lady
OILY rag sniffing is becoming a serious business. NEIL DOWLING reports on the latest fuel miser
PETROL pump-beating small cars continue to befriend wallets and delight fuel-conscious Australian buyers. The latest is a baby hybrid from Honda that claims a miserly 4.5 litres/ 100km and has an affordable $22,990 price tag.
The automatic Honda Jazz Hybrid is the smallest — and cheapest— hybrid on the Australian market, sliding in at $1000 cheaper than the Toyota Prius C.
Hybrids, which use an electric motor to supplement the power of a small and economical petrol engine, are seen as the most efficient way to combine performance with low engine emissions.
Because of the pollutantfree electric motor and an automatic stop-start system which closes down the petrol engine when the car is stationary, they are also ideally suited to city traffic conditions.
Honda Australia sales and marketing director Stephen Collins expects sales of 50 a month with most interest from female buyers.
By comparison, Toyota’s Prius C averaged 156 sales a month in 2012 and in January sold 204 units. The Honda hybrid is expected to lift total Jazz sales that in 2012 averaged 750 a month.
But though the $22,990 price is affordable, it is $3200 more than the closest specification of the petrolonly Jazz VTi automatic hatchback. It takes about six years to recoup the purchase price difference despite the hybrid’s superior fuel economy.
The hybrid version also carries the battery for the electric motor and this reduces cargo space to 722 litres from the petrol-only model’s 848 litres.
The Jazz Hybrid has a 72kW/167Nm output from the combination of a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a pancake-style electric motor that is only 50mm wide.
The transmission CVT automatic.
Honda claims 4.5 litres/ 100km with an emission out-
is a put of 107g/km of CO2. This compares with the Prius C at 3.9 litres/100km and 90g/km CO2.
The Jazz Hybrid retains all the clever features of the standard Jazz VTi, including the flexibility of the ‘‘magic seats’’ system and equipment including six airbags, electronic stability and traction control, Bluetooth and iPod/USB connectivity, audio switches on the steering wheel and 15-inch alloy wheels.
Externally, the hybrid is different to other Jazz models with blue headlight surrounds, blue-chrome grille, clear rear LED tail lights and chrome tailgate trim. It misses out on the VTi’s body kit but gains climate airconditioning and privacy glass.