Honda's Paris motor show stand is packed with models that show the brand's current and future commitments to reducing the environmental impact of its vehicles. Paris sees a production and concept world debut and both demonstrate Honda's long-standing passion for and commitment to the Environment.
- World Debut of the Honda Insight Hybrid Concept Car
- European Debut of the all-new Honda Jazz
- World Debut of restyled Civic Hybrid, Type R Special Edition, Type S and 5-door
- World Debut of Honda's i-DTEC Automatic gearbox
- FCX Clarity and CR-Z show Honda's Low Emission Future
The two major debuts will be for the long awaited Insight Concept, which shows the direction of Honda's latest addition to its petrol electric hybrid line-up. Making its debut alongside the Insight Concept, will be the eagerly anticipated all-new Jazz, which brings even greater fuel economy and lower emissions than ever before to the astonishingly flexible B-segment hatch.
Insight Hybrid Concept
Pride of place on the Honda stand will go to the Insight Concept car, which heralds the return of a dedicated hybrid to the Honda model line-up. The Insight Concept is the start of a new phase of Honda's hybrid strategy, with it showing a glimpse of the first of three new hybrid models that will appear within the next four years. The Insight Concept shows a car which offers a practical and flexible family car that has ample space for both passenger and luggage as well as low emissions and excellent fuel economy.
A key part of the Insight Concept is to bring hybrid vehicles into a price bracket where a broader range of people can afford them. This strategy is driven by the company's desire to see the wide spread adoption of lower CO2 in order to bring about a meaningful reduction in overall CO2 output. The Insight Concept is the culmination of over 20 years of hybrid development and more than 35 years of lower impact petrol engine development, which started with the CVCC engine in 1972.
All-new Honda Jazz
Visitors to Paris will also be able to see the full range of the Honda Jazz for the first time. Customers who visit the Honda stand will be able to see the 1.2, 1.4 and 1.4 i-SHIFT Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) models. Those who venture into the new generation of Honda's award winning 5-door hatchback will find it offers a tempting proposition for those looking to downsize to a more efficient vehicle.
The new Jazz packs an incredible amount into a small package, with class leading luggage and interior space and the newly improved one-motion operation Magic Seats giving the car practicality only usually found in the segment above. With 399 litre of boot space even before the seats are folded, the latest small Honda, can easily cope with the huge range of tasks customers will utilise it for.
The new model's practical interior is complimented by a pair of new i-VTEC engines, that give more power, better fuel economy, lower emission and improved NVH performance.
Restyled Civic Hybrid, Type R, Type S and 5-door
With the influx of new hybrid models due in the Honda line-up, the award winning Civic Hybrid hasn't been pushed aside. The 4-door sedan has been given a restyle as it continues to shatter sales targets across Europe. The fuel sipping family car will benefit from cosmetic changes, including tweaked front and rear lights, a more aggressive bumper and a new design of alloy wheel.
The changes to the Civic Hybrid will also carry across to the conventionally powered 1.8 litre 4-door Civic sold in selected regions across Europe.
Also debuting at Paris is the Civic Type R Special Edition, restyled Type S and 5-door Civics. This model change brings a number of exciting new developments to the Civic range, with an LSD for the Civic Type R Special Edition, a new 1.4 engine and additional transmission options.
i-DTEC Automatic Gearbox
Paris will also see the debut of Honda's new automatic gearbox for the i-DTEC diesel engine. This new gearbox has been developed in response to European customer demands for an automatic option for the 2.2 litre diesel. The new gearbox has been developed exclusively for the i-DTEC turbodiesel, in order to compliment its flexibility and broader spread of torque. Honda's thorough approach to engineering would not allow the use of a third party gearbox, which might compromise the effectiveness of its newest engine.
CR-Z Hybrid Sports Concept Model
The Paris stand will also see the CR-Z, a small sports concept car, which shows Honda's future direction of offering small petrol electric hybrids across a number of niches, in order to broaden their appeal. The CR-Z will form the basis of a new small coupe hybrid that will join the growing Honda hybrid line-up and further broaden the appeal of low CO2 vehicles. The sporty 2+2 uses the split level glass rear window, which has been used through three decades in the CR-X, the original Insight coupe and more recently the Civic 3 and 5-door.
FCX Clarity Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car
The French show will also play host to Honda's production fuel cell car, the FCX Clarity, which was delivered to the first customers in the US at the end of July. Early adopters who have seen the potential of a car that emits only water vapour from its tailpipe include Actress and Environmental Campaigner Jamie Lee Curtis and Film Produicer Ron Yerxa. The FCX Clarity began production in Japan in June and the first lease customers in Honda's home country will receive their cars towards the end of this year.
The presence of the Civic, Insight Concept and CR-Z petrol electric hybrids alongside the FCX Clarity, gives an indication of Honda's vision of the future. The Japanese manufacturer sees the Hydrogen fuel cell as the zero-tailpipe emission solution for automobiles while the hybrid powertrain provides an excellent lower CO2 solution in the medium term, until the FCX Clarity becomes a mass produced vehicle.
Honda Gives an Insight into the Future of Hybrids
Honda has always intended Hybrid vehicles to be a bridge to a hydrogen powered future, the potential of which has already been demonstrated by the FCX Clarity. The Insight Concept has clear stylistic links to the world's first production fuel cell car, with both vehicles' forms shaped to maximise the efficiency of their respective drivetrains.
The Insight Concept is the stylistic inspiration for the production version which will go on sale in 2009. From this unique position in the marketplace, Insight will open hybrid technology to a new generation of customers.
The 1.3 litre Insight is powered by Honda's acclaimed IMA system, which has been extensively modified to reduce its cost and weight. With careful engineering of key components and refinement of manufacturing processes, the cost of the hybrid system has been significantly reduced. This ensures that Insight can be sold at a very competitive price without compromising ability, quality, environmental performance or profitability.
The Insight will benefit from a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components resulting in the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. This dedicated hybrid vehicle will be offered as a 5-door hatchback with seating for five passengers and built on a newly developed platform. Engineers have mounted the compact control unit and battery beneath the boot space to give the Insight both a low centre of gravity and the practicality of a conventionally powered hatchback.
This reduction in cost has not been brought about by compromising the quality of the Insight, instead the Japanese manufacturer has tasked its engineers with finding more intelligent cost reduction solutions.
Insight will utilise various technologies, including a function to assist more fuel efficient driving giving customers a further improvement in real world fuel consumption. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at Honda's Suzuka factory in Japan which recently has expanded hybrid motor production line.
CO2 emissions and fuel economy are targeted to be at a similar level to the existing Civic Hybrid, giving drivers a flexible and highly practical lower environmental impact car. At its expected price point, Insight will have a unique combination of passenger space, luggage capacity, emissions and economy.
"The original Honda Insight launched in 1999 was the pioneer of hybrid technology in Europe and remains an iconic symbol of Honda's environmental innovation," said Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO. "This new Insight will also break new ground by providing an affordable hybrid to an expanded number of customers craving great fuel economy and great value."
The Insight will form the first part of Honda's new hybrid strategy, which will see a further dedicated hybrid model, derived from the CR-Z show car and a hybrid version of the Jazz. The strategy will make hybrids both more accessible and more appealing to a range of customer types.
The Insight Concept is the culmination of two decades of hybrid petrol electric hybrid research and development. The Insight production vehicle will go on sale in Europe, Japan and North America during the first half of 2009.
The World's First Production Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle
The FCX Clarity fuel cell car will return to Europe for the first time since being delivered to customers in the US.
The first customers in the US have started to take delivery of the world's first production fuel cell car. Early adopters have included Hollywood actress and environmental campaigner Jamie Lee Curtis and Cold Mountain Producer Ron Yerxa.
The FCX Clarity is a next-generation, zero-emission, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle based on an entirely new Honda V Flow fuel cell platform, and powered by the highly compact, efficient and powerful Honda V Flow fuel cell stack. The latest FCX features tremendous improvements to driving range, power, weight and efficiency and boasts a low-slung, dynamic and sophisticated appearance, previously unachievable in a fuel cell vehicle. The FCX Clarity is a significant landmark as Honda continues building the real-world performance and appeal of the hydrogen-powered fuel cell car.
The FCX Clarity's aerodynamically led form strongly influences the design of the Insight Concept, which also debuts at Paris. Honda is showing the future of the car lies with the fuel cell. The CR-Z and Insight concepts show Honda's low CO2 path until the hydrogen fuel cell is available as a mass production technology. Honda firmly believes that hydrogen fuel cells present the best technology for zero exhaust emission cars. The FCX Clarity combines practicality, range, driving experience and a refuelling time that electric vehicles cannot currently match.
Eager to provide a vehicle that can be used, rather than just making a statement, Honda is developing the Home Energy Station. This highly efficient unit generates, power, heat and the hydrogen for refuelling the FCX Clarity. By generating power locally, and therefore avoiding the huge line losses from centralised power generation, the Home Energy Station produces electricity far more efficiently.
Honda is researching, and currently runs a hydrogen reformer that uses solar energy as its sole source and is working on advances will mean that fuel cell cars can be fuelled carbon neutrally in the future. The flexibility of hydrogen as a fuel means that the FCX Clarity can be refuelled from a Home Energy Station or in less than 5 minutes from a commercial station. Calculated on a well-to-wheel fuel use basis, emission of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, when run on hydrogen reformed from natural gas, are just 50% of those of an equivalent petrol powered vehicle.
CR-Z Joins Insight Concept to Show Honda's Growing Hybrid Family
Honda's CR-Z sports hybrid concept model, returns to Europe to star alongside the Insight Concept and FCX Clarity fuel cell car.
Honda believes that hybrid technology is today's most effective form of low fuel consumption technology. Taking advantage of Honda's light-weight hybrid system, CR-Z adds a sporting aspect to Honda's green technology.
Honda's sporting DNA is clearly visible in the CR-Z, with the sporty hybrid model playing homage to the iconic CRX model. The abrupt Kamm-style tail with lower glass hatch is a signature Honda style, which links the cutting edge CR-Z with its popular 1980's forbear.
The CR-Z's style seamlessly blends nostalgic touches with cutting edge LED lighting, a centre exit exhaust and a panoramic full length glass roof. The result is an attractive, aggressive coupe design that has been created with a balance of engineering and aesthetic requirements.
This styling concept, shows the direction of a future Honda hybrid model that will join the Insight, Jazz and Civic in the manufacturer's future hybrid line-up. CR-Z demonstrates Honda's green commitment, by providing a lower environmental impact hybrid model across a number of small car niches.
A vehicle based on the CR-Z concept will join the Honda line-up in the near future and will be a cornerstone of the manufacturer's aim to make 10% of its cars sold hybrid by late 2010.
Restyled Civic Hybrid Debuts at Paris
Honda reveals a revised version of its current lowest CO2 car, the Civic Hybrid at the Paris Motor Show. Even with sales still exceeding all targets across Europe, the economy and emission focussed Civic Hybrid is being given a mid-life facelift.
Most noticeable of the changes is the restyled front bumper, which now has a more aggressive appearance and incorporates a pair of fog lights. The headlights have also received a mild tweak, with a smoke chrome surround giving a higher quality look. This is complemented by a redesigned grille that blends with the new front lights.
In response to customer feedback, the current car's alloy wheels have been replaced with a newly designed 5-spoke wheel. Finally the rear-end of the 4-door saloon has been freshened up with a new lamp colour treatment.
Inside the seats have a new fabric design and the indicators are now one-touch items for easy lane changing. Mechanically the Civic Hybrid retains its award winning drive train, which combines an economical low emission petrol engine with an electric motor for exceptional urban fuel efficiency and minimised emissions.
Like its predecessor, the new Civic Hybrid will have an 8-year warranty on the vehicle's battery pack and Honda will recycle any old batteries through its dealer network.
The All-New Honda Jazz
Honda's all-new Jazz is once again set to redefine the B-segment parameters of practicality and interior space. The 5-door hatchback will achieve class leading interior space and combined it with significantly improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
The exterior design is at first glance an evolution of its predecessor, but this subtle change of appearance is only one small part of the thousands of changes that push the all-new Jazz forward. It retains the concepts of the previous Jazz with its centre fuel tank layout and Magic Seats which gave it world beating interior flexibility. Yet while the best features are retained, including cabin space to rival mid-sized saloons, new Jazz brings change to every area, raising the bar even further and promising to expand on its success in the supermini segment where it was given more than fifty awards and has sold over two million around the world since its 2001 launch.
A slightly larger, ‘cab forward' style body brings better visibility and means Jazz is even more spacious, benefiting rear legroom and boot space in particular. The Magic Seats now dive down in one easy action and their versatility is now complemented by a new Double-Trunk boot feature in the luggage bay.
There are greater levels of safety equipment including the introduction of Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, active front seat head restraints and VSA. Larger wheels, revised suspension and a longer wheelbase/wider track bring greater agility while enhancing ride comfort.
New 90 PS 1.2-litre and 100 PS 1.4-litre i-VTEC engines deliver better performance characteristics while boosting economy to exceptional levels. They are designed to appeal to customers who might be downsizing as well as those looking to achieve fuel economy comparable to diesel powered models. Their balance between economy and lively performance are unmatched in the class. Adopting Honda's VTEC variable valve timing technology, the new 1.2 and 1.4-litre four-cylinder engines are connected to either a 5-speed manual transmission or, on 1.4 models, Honda's i-SHIFT 6-speed automated manual transmission which includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Offering 90 PS compared to the 78 PS of its predecessor at a slightly higher 6000 rpm and torque up from 110 to 114 Nm for improved performance, the 1.2-litre engine nevertheless achieves lower emissions and improved fuel economy.
It is a similar story with the new 100 PS, 127 Nm 1.4-litre engine, compared to the previous i-DSI unit which produced 83 PS and 119 Nm, with significant improvements to CO2 emissions and fuel economy.
1.2 and 1.4-litre models are equipped with an evolution of the previous 5-speed manual transmission with gear ratios optimised for a more sporty driving experience while ensuring good fuel economy.
Key improvements include a revised clutch pedal stroke, carbon-type synchroniser on third gear to minimise shift load, crisper shifting through reduced clutch disc inertia and improved refinement.
Manual transmission-equipped models feature the new SIL (Shift Indicator Light) within the centre of the rev counter, also found on the latest Honda Accord. Providing the driver with a visual prompt of the best gear shift points to maximise economy, it has been demonstrated to provide meaningful fuel economy savings.
As well as a 5-speed manual gearbox, the 1.4-litre engine can be teamed up with Honda's latest i-SHIFT transmission, first introduced in the Civic range. The first time a 6-speed automated manual transmission has been offered in this vehicle class, the gearbox offers better fuel economy than is possible with either a true automatic or a CVT (continuously variable transmission). The unit is a development of the system first fitted to the Civic, with improvements made including; reduced gear change times, smoother shifts and more intelligent automatic mode shift logic.
At 3900 mm long, 1695 mm wide and 1525 mm tall, the new Jazz occupies its own unique niche between superminis and compact MPVs, offering the style of the former and the practicality of the latter.
Overall height remains the same, but the length of the new Jazz is up by 55 mm and it is also slightly wider - by 20 mm. A wheelbase increase of 50 mm, and front and rear track increases of 35 mm and 30 mm, respectively, aid handling stability.
Despite those increased dimensions, the turning circle at 9.80 m kerb to kerb is no larger than that of the previous Jazz and together with improved visibility, the new car's around town abilities are even better.
Even more efficient safety performance results from the introduction of the ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body structure, a concept that is being progressively rolled out across the Honda range. Its structure, in particular a front polygonal main frame, helps to prevent misalignment between vehicles of different sizes and construction and multiple energy absorbing pathways disperse impact energy to prevent cabin deformation.
Standard on all models are dual front and side airbags, full length side curtain airbags and three-point seatbelts in all five seating positions, those in the front with load limiting pretensioners. The front passenger airbag can also be deactivated to allow a rear facing child seat to be fitted to the front seat and for the first time Jazz is equipped with seatbelt reminders for both the front and rear seats. Front seats are also fitted with active headrests to minimise the potential for whiplash injuries.
Two ISOFIX fittings in the left and right rear seats together with tether anchors in the roof ensure correct child seat installation.
The ingenious interior layout of the previous Jazz, with its compact suspension and centrally-mounted fuel tank liberating more load space, together with the increased external dimensions of the new model, mean interior comfort has been taken to a new level.
Rear seat passengers now have 18 mm greater knee room, while the distance between front and rear passengers is up by 30 mm. The slightly wider body also means shoulder room increases by 44 mm in the front and 43 mm in the rear.
Visibility gets a considerable boost, too. Reduced width A-pillars, a larger windscreen and quarter windows three times the size of those in the previous model make for more relaxed driving, while retractable rear headrests ensure the view out of the rear window is now totally unobscured.
Given the popularity of the previous Jazz's innovative ‘cinema' style rear seats, it comes as little surprise that Honda chose to offer a similar arrangement in the new car; but while the latest Magic Seats operate on the same principle, they are even more convenient since they have a one-motion, dive-down operation. No longer is there a need to move the front seats forward to collapse the rear seats. Instead, thanks to headrests that are virtually flush with the seatback, the 60:40 split rear seats are able to clear the front seats even when the latter are slid back to their rearmost position.
The outstanding practicality of the Magic Seats concept is complemented in the new Jazz by a flexible luggage area based on similar principles to the arrangement found in the Honda CR-V. Standard on 1.4 models, which are equipped with a tyre repair kit, the Double-Trunk boot features an underfloor storage area concealed by a double hinged panel - Regular Mode. The 230 mm deep, 64 litre capacity lower compartment is ideal for stashing sports gear or wet items, and once covered, won't soil other luggage.
The floor can be removed altogether or folded up against the rear seats to make full use of the total depth available - ideal for particularly tall objects (Tall Mode). Alternatively, rather than folding the complete panel against the seat backs, its rear half can be folded up to create a load shelf at half height - so creating a double load space - Upper/lower Mode. Heavier items can be stored below, while lighter items can be placed on the upper shelf, and since it incorporates a load net, is perfect for carrying awkwardly shaped items, preventing them from moving around.
Total luggage space available is 399 litres in models with a tyre repair kit, greater than that of some compact MPVs and class-leading in the supermini sector. The previous Jazz had a total of 380 litres (VDA).
High-quality, pleasant-to-the touch materials, stylish design and tasteful colours give the cabin a more upmarket feel.
More comfortable front seats with better support, a driver's footrest, a height adjustable driver's seat, a steering wheel adjustable for reach and rake and larger rear seats are just some of the features that contribute to the more cosseting, more relaxed cabin environment. Extra sound insulation and the increased body rigidity also play their part in making the Jazz a pleasant place to be. And for a real sense of spaciousness, the Jazz 1.4 EX is equipped with a panorama roof that extends over the rear seats for a great aerial view. Heat absorbing glass and a power sun shade ensure a comfortable cabin environment all year round.
The Jazz goes on sale in some areas of Europe from the end of October 2009.
Honda Unveils Automatic Gearbox for i-DTEC Engine
Honda has unveiled the eagerly awaited automatic gearbox for its i-DTEC engine which debuts at Paris in the recently launched Accord.
The Japanese manufacturer has refused to compromise the performance of its critically acclaimed i-DTEC engine by using an externally supplied gearbox. Honda has instead developed their own gearbox in-house, to ensure the ratios and behaviour of the unit compliment its second generation diesel engine.
Honda have developed the new 5-speed unit in response to customer's requests and after finding the petrol Accord's automatic gearbox unsuitable for the sophisticated 4-cylinder diesel. The new auto uses the same straight gate layout and paddle shift system first seen on the new Accord this year.
Accord Large Project Leader, Hiroyuki Ikegami is proud of what has been achieved with the new gearbox, commenting: "Having equipped the Accord with a newly developed engine, it would have made no sense to compromise the exceptional flexibility of our 2.2 diesel. Therefore, despite it taking more time, we have undertaken an extensive development programme for our gearbox in order to bring an automatic diesel to Europe."
The automatic version of the Accord i-DTEC will begin sales in some markets in early 2009.
Special Edition Civic Type R and New for 2009, 3 and 5-door
The 3 and 5-door versions of the Honda Civic are to undergo a mild restyle to keep the radically designed coupéesque hatchback at the leading edge of car design.
The biggest change is the adoption of a new 1.4 engine equipped with Honda's celebrated i-VTEC technology, which reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as well as increasing torque and power outputs over the previous 1.4 unit. The new engine will now be available in the 3-door Type S model, as well as the 5-door, giving customers a broader body style choice for a lower capacity Civic. The new engine also has improved noise vibration and harshness (NVH) performance which is complimented by a number of NVH reducing measures applied across all 3 and 5-door Civics.
Manual versions of the latest Civic will gain the Shift Indicator Light system (SIL) first seen on the new Accord, which combined with the existing Eco lights provides drivers with unambiguous feedback to achieve better fuel economy. Diesel versions will benefit from slightly revised gearing, which gives a small improvement to the CO2 output of these models.
The 5-door version will adopt a different grille, with cut outs either side of the ‘H' badge punctuating the continuous clear line across the Civic's front. Exterior plastics have been given a fresh texture, which combined with a new rear combination light cluster, give a heightened sense of quality to the stylish hatchback. Inside the car has been given a new feeling, with new darker brushed metal effect trim and a matt finish applied to the area surrounding the instrument binnacle. The seats are also given a new look with different seat fabrics, further altering the ambience of the cabin.
In response to customer feedback, iPod connectivity is now offered on higher grades, allowing customers to control, charge and enjoy their player effectively. On the iPod enabled grades the player can be placed in the centre console where auxiliary, USB and power outlets are discreetly fitted. The device can be controlled through the stereo controls and track information is displayed on the stereo or navigation if fitted. Higher grades will also benefit from the standard fitment of rear parking sensors, complete with graphic display contained within the Multi-information Display in the centre of the rev counter.
Honda will offer four transmissions on the 2009 model with the 6-speed manual carried over from before. The first change is a new i-SHIFT Automated Manual Transmission, which comes in a single mode form for the 1.4 5-door or Type S or dual mode for the 1.8 litre engine available for Type S only. Both transmissions change gear more rapidly and with improved shift quality and logic. The 1.8 litre version features a second sportier mode for more enthusiastic driving, giving the driver even greater control. New for this model year will be the availability of a 5-speed automatic exclusively for the 5-door 1.8 litre model gearbox, which has been added to offer customers a comprehensive choice of transmission solutions.
Crowning the range, a new higher specification Civic Type R special edition will see the high-revving 3-door given a Limited Slip Differential to further sharpen the car's handling. During testing the special edition Type R was 1.44 seconds per lap quicker round the Japanese Tsukaba circuit than the standard car.
Special edition Type Rs will be distinguished by their Championship White paint finish, which evokes memories of Honda's first F1 car in 1963. This iconic colour has never been offered on a Civic in the EU before and the new body colour will be complimented by the white 18" wheels fitted to the top Type R. To provide contrast to the white body, the special edition cars will have a smoke chrome finish on the badges, door handles, fuel lid and front grille. The new range-topping Type R will be equipped with an unchanged 2.0 litre i-VTEC engine, which produces 200 PS at a spine tingling 8000 rpm.
The Type S 3-door model will more closely resemble the Type R, with a mesh grille and clear rear combination lamp to further distinguish it from the 5-door version. Body coloured bumpers and skirt are also derived from the Type R, giving the 3-door model a sportier and more aggressive stance. The Type S will also gain the same interior upgrades found in the 5-door model as well as retaining the stylish Alcantara seats.
On-sale dates for the 2009 Civic will be announced shortly.