The new 2014 Honda Fit Hybrid (known as the Jazz Hybrid over here) has been crowned Japan Car of the Year.
Benefitting from better kit as standard and increased interior space, the third-generation model also features a new one motor Sport Hybrid i-DCD system which achieves fuel economy of around 36.4 km/litre (equivalent to 103 mpg-but more likely to be rated at around 85mpg under Euro NEDC)-the highest of any vehicle currently available in Japan.
This new hybrid system-featuring a 1.5 litre petrol engine and a new 7-speed dual-clutch-performs from start as an electric model, switching automatically EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive to adapt to driving conditions.
We’ll have to wait until next year before we hear of a new generation model for Europe, but there will also be a diesel engine to add to the range to meet demand here for oil burners. A new hybrid for Europe is not likely to appear before the end of 2014.
Mitsubishi’s new Outlander plug-in hybrid (PHEV) also claimed the Innovation Award at the Japanese Car of the Year 2013-2014 awards in recognition of its new fuel-saving technology.
In particular, the judges were impressed by the way Mitsubishi managed to combine the advantages of an SUV with plug-in hybrid technology for improved fuel economy.
Newly launched in mainland Europe, we’ll be waiting until next March for the hybrid SUV to arrive here.
Featuring a permanent twin motor 4WD drive system, the new model has a total driving range of up to 524 miles and is capable of 32 miles on electric power. Fuel economy is expected to be in the region of 147.8mpg while emissions stand at just 44g/km CO2 emissions. The 117 bhp, 2.0 litre petrol engine powers the front wheels, while front and rear 60 kW electric motors enable the car to operate with permanent four wheel drive.