Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Honda FIT Hybrid Review: A trip to work in the new Honda Jazz Hybrid

Just because we won't get the FIT/JAZZ Hybrid right away doesn't mean we can't see what it's all about, here's a good read on the Jazz Hybrid....

IF you are considering buying one of the brand new Honda Jazz Hybrid cars due to be released in the UK in the New Year, you can be sure that your daily commute into work will take on a whole new meaning.

That warm feeling will begin over breakfast as you munch your way through your piece of toast, reminiscing about how you came to choose this latest Honda hybrid car over the others available.

Certainly there was plenty of choice. You admit that you were sorely tempted by the CR-Z with its mighty 1.5-litre petrol hybrid engine and reputation for being the sporty hot hatchback that delivers outstanding performance and yet has a fuel economy of just 56.5 mpg and emission levels of just 117g/km of CO2.

The Civic Hybrid also took your eye. This beautifully designed saloon came with a host of features like keyless entry, alloy wheels, climate control, a multi-function drive computer and all the accoutrements that you would expect on an executive vehicle. Yet this Civic hybrid still came in at well under £20,000 and gives outstanding levels of performance, achieving 61.4 mpg from a 1.4-litre petrol hybrid engine, which emits just 108g/km of CO2.

You had almost bought the Honda Insight. This hybrid car boasts astonishing levels of economy with a 1.3-litre petrol hybrid engine giving 64.2mpg and just 101g/km of CO2 emitted. That combined with the now customary level of reliability afforded by Honda hybrid cars, not to mention the build quality, meant that you almost, almost had opted for the Insight.

However, there was just something intriguing about the brand new Jazz Hybrid. It had certainly created a stir when it debuted at the Paris Motor Show in October in its lime green metallic livery, but it was not just the colour that made this latest design from Honda stand out and catch the eye.

Just why you opted to select the car becomes evident from the moment you kissed your partner and children goodbye and hurried out of the front door and into the welcoming embrace of your new vehicle.

As soon as you are sat inside the car you realise why you made your choice. The new Jazz Hybrid may be bracketed alongside other 'supermini' vehicles but the interior feels anything but. Unlike other models in the same class, you do not have to bend your head awkwardly to get into the car.

The seat is comfortable, the driving position perfect. Even the seatbelt clicks into place with that satisfying click of quality engineering that resonates from every pore of the car.

As you turn the ignition, the dials in front of you light up thanks to stylish blue lighting that gives the interior a fresh and fashionable feel. A quick glance in the rear-view mirror reveals that your partner has left the backseats down from the weekend, when even the spacious 300 litre capacity boot was not enough to fit all the Christmas shopping, some weekly purchases and a new microwave oven into. Not that it mattered of course, as a quick press of the 'Magic Seats' button ensured the back seats slid down to expand the space available in the back to a massive 841 litre capacity, more than enough to accommodate a lot of extra shopping.

As you pull out of your garage, the silence that greets you has gone from being initially disquieting to comforting. The 1.3-litre petrol hybrid engine, managed by the Honda Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system, means that the car not only performs superbly but drives quietly, too. It took a little while for you to get used to how quiet the vehicle was when compared to your old petrol engine car, but now the silence is as welcome as it is impressive.

Turning left onto the road, you drive past the local small park and play area and allow yourself a small smile of satisfaction. With just 104g/km of CO2 emitted from the vehicle, not only does this mean that you are only paying road tax of just £20 a year, under current government legislation, but also that you are doing your bit to ensure that future generations can enjoy the environment by lowering your carbon footprint.

As you continue to enjoy the tranquil drive to work, you begin to notice the nuances of driving the new hybrid Jazz. You marvel at the fact that the battery is charged every time that you brake and that the IMA instinctively knows when to use the power of the petrol engine and the economy of the electric motor to allow you to drive as practically, safely and economically as possible.

Economy! Now that is something you have really noticed. You remember filling the car up late last week; since then it has made several trips to and from work, been used on a major Christmas shopping trip at the weekend and taken the children to the park at the weekend.

There was a time when this would have necessitated a trip to the petrol station about now to fill up. Instead, you look at your blue-lit petrol gauge and discover the tank is still over half full.

Well, when you are achieving 64.2 mpg you do not need to visit the petrol station quite so often.

That feeling of contentment is enhanced as you relax into your leather upholstered seats, your new Honda Jazz Hybrid being the first car in the European market that the vehicle manufacturer has offered this upgrade to. The interior feels as opulent as it looks.

The same is true as to how the car looks to others. Your friends at work were quick to notice the brilliant new paint scheme, the blue-tinted headlights and the newly designed grille and bumpers. They cast their admiring glances once again through the office window as you pull into your parking space, apply the handbrake and step out of the car.

As you walk into work with a smile on your face you ponder that perhaps the greatest aspect of all is that the new Honda Jazz Hybrid has not only made the trip to work quieter, cheaper and greener, but infinitely more enjoyable too.


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