Honda hy­brid a fru­gal lit­tle lady

OILY rag sniff­ing is be­com­ing a se­ri­ous busi­ness. NEIL DOWLING re­ports on the lat­est fuel miser

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

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.

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