Honda re-enters hybrid segment with Fit e:HEV

Honda offers an affordable hybrid model once more in the form of the Fit e:HEV

The Honda Fit recently replaced the Jazz nameplate that adorned Hondas compact, yet practical, hatchback for many years. The launch of the new Honda Fit also saw Honda re-enter the local hybrid market for the first time since they offered the CR-Z in 2016.

Carrying Honda’s e:HEV badge, the flagship Fit model has been engineered to deliver a blend of performance and efficiency and is the first model in Honda SA’s line up to carry the e:HEV branding that will adorn all of the brand’s hybrid vehicles in future.

This particular e:HEV system was developed especially for the Fit and engineered to deliver an enjoyable driving experience, while at the same time offering the benefits of a hybrid system.

The system consists of two compact yet powerful electric motors connected to a 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and an innovative fixed-gear transmission all managed by an intelligent power control unit that ensures that all the hardware works together to provide a smooth and responsive driving experience.

The total system output measures 80kW and 253Nm, which allows the Fit to accelerate to 100km/h in 9,4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 175km/h. While acceleration is brisk, fuel economy is the name of the game and the Fit hybrid will use as little as 3,7 litres per 100km.

The result is an effortless and comfortable driving experience, whether travelling in urban areas or cruising on the highway. This is achieved thanks to the fact that the advanced hybrid system is able to seamlessly select from three driving modes.

In EV drive mode the lithium-ion battery supplies power to the electric propulsion motor directly. In hybrid drive the engine supplies power to the electric generator motor, which in turn supplies it to the electric propulsion motor. Engine drive mode sees the petrol engine connected directly to the wheels via a lock-up clutch with drive force transmitted directly from the engine to the wheels.

During urban driving situations, optimum efficiency is achieved thanks to seamless transitions between EV drive and hybrid drive. At highway speeds, engine drive is used, supplemented by an on-demand peak power boost from the electric propulsion motor for fast acceleration.

In hybrid drive, excess power from the petrol engine can also be utilised to recharge the battery, via the generator motor. EV mode is engaged when the car is decelerating and by doing so energy is harvested through regenerative braking to recharge the battery.

The transmission is a newly developed electronically controlled continuously variable transmission with a single fixed-gear ratio that creates direct drive between moving components. This results in a smooth and reassuring transfer of torque with a linear feel no matter the drive mode.

In hybrid drive mode the all-new e-CVT control logic uses the electric motor to provide torque, while the engine provides a direct and linear feel during acceleration, mimicking the feel of a multi-stage transmission.

In short, a lot is happening to ensure the right amount of propulsion in the most efficient way. However, switching between the three modes is unnoticeable to occupants thanks to seamless transitions.

Contemporary exterior design

During the design phase engineers completely reimagined the model from the ground up and in doing so introduced a simplicity to the timeless shape of the outgoing Honda Jazz. Smooth contours follow the short nose, long roofline and cabin forward style of previous generations. A smooth exterior surface treatment sees all the exterior surfaces, including the C-pillars and rear taillights, blended together, devoid of any lines.

Inside story

The same philosophy continues inside with a clean minimalist interior, which combines practicality and functionality in a simple, uncluttered ergonomic cabin. With Honda placing ultimate usability at the core of the design ethos, the central HMI nine-inch touchscreen and seven-inch full TFT instrument cluster, which is standard across the range, are simple and easy to read. The infotainment package combines intuitive technology with in-car connectivity. A comprehensive suite of built-in apps can be supplemented by smartphone mirroring via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The Fit retains the practicality that made the Jazz so popular, on hybrid models the boot measures 298 litres and can be increased to an impressive 1199 litres with the rear seats folded down. The Fit has also retained the versatile rear Magic Seat configuration that allows for fold-flat or flip-up seat flexibility that accommodates the carrying of cargo of various shapes and sizes.

The Fit incorporates a standard suite of active and passive safety technologies including six airbags. Enhanced Honda Sensing active safety technology, available exclusively on the hybrid model, adds a variety of driver assistance features as standard. This new and improved Honda Sensing system incorporates a wide-angle, higher definition camera that is able to detect a comprehensive range of road surfaces and traffic characteristics. The sensing suite of technologies includes Collision Mitigation Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Road departure mitigation and auto high beam.

Peace of mind

The Fit Hybrid is sold with an extended eight-year/200 000km warranty specifically covering the battery and related components of the hybrid system as well as a four-year/60 000km service plan.