Hybrid Honda Fit Is Zappy
The Honda Fit is a proven hit for the Honda Motor Company, a car sold as the Jazz in some markets. Slotted below the Civic as a subcompact, the Fit recaptures what Honda was like when the automaker first began to sell cars in the U.S. in 1973. And that original Civic was a subcompact with a surprisingly cavernous interior, economical and affordable.
Honda isn’t satisfied, however. The Japanese automaker has been playing second fiddle to Toyota in the hybrid market for several years even thought they got their Insight to the market ahead of the Prius. Today, the Prius is by far the best-selling hybrid model on the market, a capable five-passenger sedan with hatchback.
The Honda Civic Hybrid and current generation Insight are the two hybrid offerings from Honda, but neither car is selling very well. The former model is attractive, but just isn’t getting the sales. The latter model is homely, but has been finding buyers willing to overlook its looks — with a base MSRP of $20,000, the Insight is the value leader.
Still, Honda needs a car that has the potential to change everything and they may have found that in the Fit. The Fit hybrid will share the same hybrid system used by the dedicated hybrid Insight which means the 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine/electric engine combination will get at least 40 miles to the gallon city, 43 miles to the gallon highway. Some reports have increased that number to 54 highway, but that seems unlikely.
Before you get excited about the Honda Fit Hybrid I must warn you: the car isn’t slated to be sold in the U.S. and Canada, at least initially. Designed to compete in the European market and select markets around the world, Honda seems concerned that by offering the Fit, they’ll cut into sales of the Insight and Civic Hybrid. Especially the Honda Insight given its look.
Following its introduction at the 2010 Paris Motor Show speculation began that the 2010 Honda Fit Hybrid might show up by the following year, but that information is being confused with news that the Honda Civic Hybrid will be receiving a significant update about the same time. The plans, at least for now, is for Honda to keep selling the Insight and Civic Hybrid stateside and reserve the Fit/Jazz for other markets.
One overriding factor will be Honda’s projected gas mileage numbers for 2016 when much higher fleet-wide fuel requirements kick in. By then, Honda may need to offer more hybrids or they could kill the ugly model, the Insight, and go with the Fit Hybrid instead.