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Honda Jazz Hybrid economy

Technology gets cheaper as it becomes more common. Flat-screen TVs are a prime example -- once only found in a corner of high-end electronics stores, these days they are to be found in the supermarket trolley among the fish fingers and soap powder packets.

Petrol/electric hybrid vehicles are going the same way thanks to efficiencies and economies of scale in the industry. Honda introduced the first hybrid vehicle, the Insight, to Australia in 2001 when it sold for almost $50,000.

Now the cheapest example of the genre has just hit the Australian market and it comes from the same company. At $22,990, plus on-roads, the Honda Jazz Hybrid in price trumps its closest rival, the Toyota Prius c, by a grand.


The powertrain of the new Jazz is shared by the latest Insight – a 1.3-litre petrol engine and electric motor combined with a continuously variable transmission – with which the maker claims fuel consumption of 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 107 g/km on the combined urban/highway cycle.

The 1.3-litre SOHC i-VTEC engine puts out 65 kW of power at 5800 rpm and 121Nm of torque at 4500 rpm, while Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist system, comprising an electric motor, starter and generator, delivers 10 kW at 1500 rpm and 78 Nm of torque at 1000 rpm.

Over the past decade, the IMA battery pack and control unit have evolved and become more compact and lightweight, ensuring the car’s practicality is not sacrificed in the hybrid. The battery has an eight-year unlimited kilometre warranty and can be recycled through a Honda dealership.

The petrol engine does its bit to save fuel too. During deceleration, for example, when the cylinders are under no load, combustion is completely cut out, enabling the IMA to increase energy recovery to charge the battery.

This Variable Cylinder Management is also used to shut all four cylinders when only a little torque is required – during low-speed cruising for example. In this mode the Jazz Hybrid is powered by the electric motor only, with the pistons running idle; no fuel is used and no CO2 emitted.

A Multi-Information Display informs the driver how the car is being powered – by the engine, electric motor or both. After working on the car’s management system the team was able to cut the differences to 12 per cent.

The cabin has similarities with the conventional Jazz. The dashboard incorporates a version of the Honda Eco Assist function, which uses ambient lighting of the speedometer to tell drivers how their driving style is impacting on fuel economy – blue for bad; green for good.


On the outside there’s little to tell the hybrid from the conventional Jazz. Differences include Hybrid headlights with a chrome-blue surround, clear rear LED tail lights, chrome-blue front grille and a chrome tailgate garnish.

The Hybrid also has its own palette of colours – Alabaster Silver, Fresh Lime Green, Rallye Red, Taffeta White and Polished Metal.

Honda Jazz features include what the company modestly calls ‘Magic Seats’. These can be configured in 18 ways allowing room for up 722 litres of gear to be carted. The Hybrid can take up to five on firm, quality material upholstered seats, with space in the cargo area for 223 litres (two suit cases) of luggage. Head room and leg room are good to generous all round.

Other standard equipment includes 15-inch alloy wheels; Bluetooth and USB connectivity; and Vehicle Stability Assist stability and traction control, six airbags and Honda’s ACE body structure.


On a run of more than 100 kilometres in Sydney suburban and country driving during the media launch the Jazz Hybrid recorded around six litres of petrol per hundred kilometres. That is 33 per cent over the numbers measured in a laboratory.

During development of the Jazz engineers found there were significant differences in the fuel economy achieved between drivers – at an average of 30 km/h, up to 21 per cent. So the driver can make a huge difference to the efficiency of the car.

An Eco Assist function helps the driver aim for the ultimate economy from the car in various situations and gives drivers continuous feedback on how their brake and accelerator work is affecting fuel consumption and impact on the environment. A stop/start engine function also plays its part.

In the Econ mode, which in the Jazz, is brought into action by pressing an Econ switch, power output is limited (except during hard acceleration); driver acceleration action is smoothed along with the CVT shift pattern; regenerative brake energy is increased; air-conditioning recirculates more often; fan power is reduced more frequently; and during idle stop the air-con cuts out.

Buyers are expected to be made up of mainly tech savvy, environmentally conscious females wanting practicality and versatility in a vehicle.

Built in Thailand, the Jazz Hybrid is covered by a three-year 100,000 kilometre warranty, other than the aforementioned extended warranty on the special battery.


Derek Ogden
Contributing Journalist
Derek Ogden is an automotive expert with decades of experience under his belt, and works as a journalist for Marque Motoring.
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