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Honda will launch the Fit Hybrid at the Paris Auto Show this Fall, expanding the Japanese automaker’s hybrid lineup down-market. The new model will be the first hybrid sub-compact model offered and is possible because of Honda’s low-cost Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid setup.
While no official details have been released the car is expected to use Honda’s 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine combined with a 9.7 kW electric motor for roughly 97-hp and 90 ft-lbs of torque. While no rocket-ship, it is expected to offer impressive fuel economy. Currently the Fit gets a rating of 28/35-mpg (city/highway) and the Fit Hybrid is touted to get a more economical rating than the Insight, which is currently ranked at 40/43-mpg.
And it won’t just be the engine that is helping reduce emissions and increase fuel economy as the hybrid Fit is also destined to get a new aerodynamic body kit, brake energy regeneration and a start-stop system. It’s also likely to get Honda’s “Econ” mode button, which limits throttle response to ensure a more efficient drive. Both a manual transmission and CVT will be offered in Europe where the car will be badged as the Jazz Hybrid, although it’s not yet clear if Honda intends to sell this new model in the U.S.
Honda has just confirmed that it will build two additional hybrid models that will go on sale in Japan starting in February 2010. The first is the highly-anticipated CR-Z hybrid and the second is a hybrid version of the sub-compact Fit.
Both models will use Honda’s IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system, a less sophisticated setup to the one currently running in cars like the Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion Hybrid. Honda did say, however, that it is developing a new hybrid system, which will most likely be an updated two-mode system capable of running for a certain distance on just electric energy. That system will initially be used in mid to large -sized vehicles, like the Honda Accord.
The CR-Z first launched at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show and now that the Insight has been introduced the resemblance is obvious. We just hope the CR-Z stays true to the fun driving dynamics of the CRX and doesn’t use the out-dated torsion beam rear suspension of that the Insight uses.
Honda did not say if either model would be available outside Japan.
GALLERY: Honda CR-Z
Official release after the jump: