Honda Jazz Hybrid 2013 Review

August 17th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

As a piano player I’ve often used the excuse of ‘play a mistake, play it again, call it jazz.’ In fact, Miles Davis said “If you’re not making a mistake, it’s a mistake.” So, will Jazz Hybrid ownership provide you a lilting and harmonious melody, or a seething pit of arrhythmic dissonance?

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You can only get the Jazz Hybrid with a 72kW 1.3-litre IMA i-VTEC engine. It’s full of ‘economy-enhancing technology’ like VCM (variable cylinder management) for optimising power and efficiency, and drive-by-wire electronic throttle control, according to Honda. And, of course, it’s connected to the hybrid-y electric bits.

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The engine is accompanied by a CVT gearbox, as is becoming popular. This is quite noisy under full acceleration. The Jazz is destined to be a town car driven shorter distances, so a CVT is the sensible choice with its superior fuel economy on the urban runs. You can expect your fuel economy to sit in the 5-6l/100km range. I achieved 5.3l/100km driving from Ponsonby to Arkles Bay and back into Whangaparaoa (about 40km of urban and motorway driving), without trying to drive economically, and without having the eco switch turned on. That’s not bad, but Honda claims 4.5l/100km, so obviously I’m a leadfoot.

You can’t instruct it to drive under just battery power. Instead, the Jazz turns off the engine as you’re coasting to a stop, and thus saves petrol when you’d ordinarily be burning it at the lights, plus it will provide some power during cruising by managing the petrol engine. Continue reading “Honda Jazz Hybrid 2013 Review” »

Honda’s CR-Z Mugen hits the open road (+video)

June 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Development of the Honda CR-Z Mugen concept has reached its conclusion and to celebrate Honda has released video footage of the supercharged hybrid model hitting the open road. The clip should send Honda fans into fever pitch before the models official launch at the upcoming 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK next month.

This special CR-Z was born in a joint development between Honda UK and its in-house tuning shop Mugen Euro. To get any real performance out of the car, extensive mods were done to the 1.5-liter i-VTEC petrol engine including the introduction of a supercharger. Honda’s hybrid IMA system was also tweaked. The exact result in terms of output remains a mystery but is rumoured to be around the 150kW mark. Mugen has also pulled out 50kg of excess weight and made changes to the suspension, brake system, aerodynamics and lightened its unsprung weight too.

“Performance figures already look promising for this supercharged Honda CR-Z, as early tests with a prototype car based on a standard CR-Z and a mid-tune engine giving 0-60mph times around that of the Civic Type R,” Honda said in a statement.

To see Honda’s CR-Z Mugen in action, check out the clip below. Continue reading “Honda’s CR-Z Mugen hits the open road (+video)” »

Honda Insight S 2011 Review

April 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Honda’s new Insight hybrid is a little like the Terminator – a character made famous by the sci-fi films of the same name. Like the staunch film figure the Insight is here on earth to terminate something – excessive fuel usage. And like the film’s character the Insight isn’t the first model but is stronger, and more advanced than its predecessor. But unlike the Terminator we’ve seen on screen, the Honda Insight isn’t going to be killed off after two hours. The Insight represents a genre of vehicle that is here to stay and while Toyota’s Prius may be winning the battle so far, it feels like the hybrid wars are just beginning. Honda’s Insight is a machine that’s important for the future so Car and SUV enlisted for a test drive today.

The first generation Insight, a two-door coupe is a rarity on NZ roads, but is easily spotted because it looks odder than a $3 note. For the sequel, Honda has opted for a more practical four-door hatchback body shape and few of its predecessors styling cues remain.

Up front, Honda’s corporate face is accented by blue-tinted headlight lenses and a grinning front bumper with recessed fog lamps. Along the flanks, flattened wheel arches are partially filled by 15-inch 7-spoke alloy wheels – standard on our tested S spec model. At the rear an almost flattened rear windscreen works into a tinted vertical glass panel in a look that’s reminiscent of the second generation CR-X. Despite the aggressive styling, the windows are large and visibility is very good all around, including its radical rear. There are clear similarities in wedge like shape between the Insight and Toyota’s Prius caused by both cars’ designers chasing down optimum aerodynamics. Continue reading “Honda Insight S 2011 Review” »