Honda greens Jazz/Fit with Hybrid [Live images]

Capable of averaging nearly 54 mpg combined, Honda's Jazz Hybrid bowed in Paris today but isn't bound for North America.

Honda has added a new hybrid to its portfolio: The long-awaited Jazz Hybrid (known in North America as the Fit in non-hybrid form). Debuting today at the Paris Motor Show, the Jazz Hybrid is not for the North American market.

Erik Berkman, VP of corporate planning and logistics for American Honda, confirmed to Inside Line that the model isn't destined for the U.S. Although Berkman didn't go into details as for the reasoning behind the decision, it is very likely due to the obvious overlap that would have existed between the Fit Hybrid and the dedicated Insight hybrid models.

Powertrain details
The Jazz Hybrid will share the same drivetrain as the dedicated hybrid Insight, a 1.3-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder paired with a CVT gearbox and a parallel hybrid electric system. In the U.S., this drivetrain returns an EPA-rated 40 city, 43 highway mpg. The gas engine contributes 98 horsepower at 5,800 rpm, and 123 lb-ft of torque from 1,000 to 1,700 rpm, while the electric motor adds in 13 horsepower at 1,500 rpm and 58 torque at just 1,000 rpm.

The Insight is just slightly larger than the Jazz (Fit) Hybrid, but even still Honda is eluding to the fact that the Fit Hybrid will be similarly rated in terms of fuel economy with this statement, "Much of the Jazz's practicality is derived from its height but despite being taller than the Insight, the Jazz Hybrid manages to maintain fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on comparable levels."

For now, Honda says that the Jazz Hybrid will sip fuel at a rate of 4.4 liters per 100 km, which works out to about 53.5 mpg U.S. We'll have to wait until official figures, however, as Honda says that rate is derived from internal testing only.

The Jazz hybrid is distinguished from the current Jazz range with revised headlights, with a blue surround, clear rear lights, new front grille, restyled bumpers and a chrome tailgate garnish. The new hybrid will also be available in a range of existing colors plus a bespoke Lime Green metallic (pictured).

Inside, the cabin is also given a fresh look with darker single color dashboard, which contrasts with the blue lighting of the dials and stereo.

Honda says that the Jazz Hybrid retains its unique "Magic Seat" setup, a folding second row of seats. As such, the car retains the same storage capabilities of standard gasoline-only Jazz models.

Pricing was not yet released, but based on pricing set for Japan, it is expected that the Jazz Hybrid will undercut the slightly larger, dedicated hybrid Insight by as much as a few thousand dollars.

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