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by Tim Beissmann

Honda Australia will fire the next shot in the hybrid war with Toyota when it introduces the Honda Jazz Hybrid in December.

The Jazz Hybrid will give Honda a direct rival for the city-sized Toyota Prius C, which went on sale in March from $23,990, usurping the $29,990 Honda Insight to take the title of Australia’s cheapest hybrid.

Honda Australia director Stephen Collins says he is not interested in entering a “price war” with Toyota and says making the Jazz Hybrid the cheapest petrol-electric vehicle on the market is not the primary goal. Regardless, he is hopeful Honda Australia’s fourth hybrid – following the Civic, Insight and CR-Z – will be priced below $25,000 when it launches in the coming months.

“It depends on a few things, but I think for a Jazz light car [sub-$25,000 is] pretty much in the ballpark of where you’ve got to be,” Collins told CarAdvice.

“We’re not setting out to have the cheapest hybrid. The key for us is making sure the Jazz Hybrid offers good value for money. We’ll make it as competitive as we can, we’ll spec it well, we’ll price it as good as we can, and ultimately the market determines where it goes from there.”

The Honda Jazz Hybrid teams a 65kW/121Nm 1.3-litre petrol engine with a 10kW/78Nm electric motor for a combined output of 75kW of power and 199Nm of torque. A continuously variable transmission sends drive to the front wheels, helping the Jazz Hybrid accelerate from 0-100km/h in 12.1 seconds.

According to the European combined test cycle, the Jazz Hybrid uses 4.5 litres of fuel per 100km, making it 22 per cent more fuel efficient than the conventional non-hybrid 1.3-litre Jazz GLi, but still 15 per cent thirstier than the Prius C at 3.9L/100km.

Honda will be hoping its Jazz Hybrid can mirror the success of the Toyota Prius C, which has become the top-selling compact hybrid in the country over the past three months. A total of 652 Prius C hatches have been delivered so far this year, putting it ahead of the Lexus CT200h (633), the standard Prius (443), the CR-Z (147) and the Insight (124).




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