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Honda Jazz hybrid confirmed

New hybrid Jazz to debut in Paris
New hybrid Jazz will debut in October

New hybrid Jazz will debut in October

Honda has confirmed that a hybrid version of the Jazz supermini will debut at the Paris Motor Show in October.

The Honda Jazz is already a Which? Best Buy – we love it for its practicality and reliability. And now its emissions are set to tumble with the introduction of a petrol-electric hybrid version. It’ll be the first supermini or ‘B-segment’ vehicle to be offered with hybrid technology in Europe.

Electric-only power

The new car uses the exact same Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) engine and electric motor set-up as the Honda Insight – a 1.3-litre ‘i-VTEC’ petrol mated in parallel to an electric motor and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic gearbox.

The Jazz is Europe's first supermini to go hybrid

Europe’s first supermini to go hybrid

Unlike in some rivals, the electric motor doesn’t entirely disengage from the petrol engine. But the Jazz hybrid, like the Insight and the Honda Civic hybrid, is capable of running on electric-only power for short periods.

The greenest Jazz currently available is the 1.2-litre petrol, which emits 125g/km CO2 while returning 52.3mpg (according to official EU testing figures). The hybrid will certainly offer significant improvement.

Hybrid Jazz ‘comparable to Insight’

Full fuel economy and emissions details are yet to be confirmed, as Honda is saving these for the motor show proper. But the hybrid Jazz is said to return ‘comparable’ results to the Insight.

At its best, the Insight manages 101g/km CO2 and 64.2mpg (according to official EU testing figures). The Jazz is taller, and therefore less aerodynamic, but smaller so likely to be lighter – hence the claimed comparison.

Honda has made a few detail changes to help the hybrid Jazz stand out from its close relations. On the outside, revised headlights feature a blue surround, there are clear rear lights, a new grille, restyled bumpers and a chrome strip on the tailgate. The existing paint line-up is supplemented by a new lime green metallic, pictured here.

Inside the new Jazz

On the inside, there’s a darker, single-colour dashboard, blue lighting for the instruments and the option of leather trim for the first time on any Jazz in Europe.

There’s no word yet on how the integration of the hybrid technology will affect the class-leading Jazz interior packaging; some compromise is likely to accommodate the additional batteries and electronics.

Full pricing and specification details for the Honda Jazz hybrid will be announced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. However, we would expect the hybrid to become the most expensive Jazz model available, slotting in between the top spec Jazz EX-T at £15,770 and the entry-level Insight SE at £16,325.

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