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Honda Jazz to 'normalise' hybrids

Date: 13 January 2011   |   Author:

The Honda Jazz hybrid

Honda is looking to "normalise" hybrid technology with the launch of its new Jazz Hybrid.

The latest petrol-electric model is the first European Honda hybrid to be based on an existing model, rather than a stand-alone vehicle like the first- and second-generation Insights, the Civic Hybrid and the CR-Z.

"We see hybrid as part of the range of Jazz not stand alone," said a spokesman. "We want it to be just another engine choice depending on what you want the car for."

The firm is claiming several world firsts for the hybrid Jazz, with it being the first hybrid supermini, the lowest-emitting automatic model in its segment and the most affordable hybrid in the UK.

The Japanese company has again defended the Jazz Hybrid's 104g/km emissions figure, coming in as it does above the 100g/km cut-off for free congestion charge access in London, free VED and what will become the lowest rate of company car benefit-in-kind tax in 2012.

"We could have got to 100g/km but it just wasn't the focus - we would have lost things people buy the cars for," said the spokesman, who pointed to the Jazz retaining its class-leading interior flexibility and a boot space of 300 litres that outpoints the larger Toyota Auris hybrid by 73 litres.

The only concession compared to the petrol Jazz is the loss of 35 litres of underfloor storage that now houses the batteries. Honda claims improving the efficiency would have meant fitting larger batteries that would have impacted too heavily upon interior space and flexibility. "It still has versatility and space - we want hybrid to be normalised," said the spokesman.

Honda is also looking to increase the corporate ratio of its Jazz sales across the board with the refreshed model, which went on sale at the turn of the year alongside the hybrid derivative. At present, Jazz sales are 77% retail, compared with a sector average of 65%, and Honda is predicting growth in fleet.

"A lot of people are coming out of bigger cars because of the benefit-in-kind advantage," said the spokesman. "Jazz is a great car for downsizers, it offers loads of space but it's refined like a premium model in the sector."

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