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back to article Honda Jazz Hybrid

In the last 10 years, Honda has shifted over 3.5m examples of its Jazz hatchback, and now the evergreen runabout so beloved by the over-60s is getting hybrid power. Presumably, Honda, like Toyota with its Auris Hybrid, thinks a familiar exterior will prevent hybrid-fright among it’s more conservative customers. Honda Jazz …

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FAIL

Ah but...

The Toyota iQ seats 4, does 65.4mpg combined, dishes out 99g/km of carbon and therefore qualifies for FREE ROAD TAX. It also costs only £10,000 OTR and is in insurance group 2.

And it's not even a hybrid, it's a regular petrol car.

So why would anyone pay an extra five grand to pollute more and get less mpg?

All that hybrid tech in the Jazz actually can't compete with a small, light car with a highly efficient engine. Probably because it has to haul around the extra weight of that electric engine and battery.

Silly, isn't it?

I'm all for fully electric cars once the infrastructure is there, but hybrids are just pure FAIL.

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Re: Ah but

The Jazz has a boot, the iQ, to put it nicely, does not. That's why you might buy a Jazz. Alternatively, you could get a Skoda Fabia Greenline Estate, a regular diesel with a very large boot, and only emits 89g of CO2 per km.

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IQ<Jazz

Try getting four adults in an IQ. Pure FAIL.

I'm 6' tall. In the Jazz, if I adjust the drivers seat for myself, there is enough room in the back behind the drivers seat for me to fit.

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Flame

Yeah but...

1) It's a Skoda

2) It's a diesel so the fuel is more expensive because of higher duty because the emissions are more toxic

3) According to Auto Express, "It’s a surprise to see Skoda has missed the magic sub-100g/km CO2 emissions target that would see it qualify for free road tax: instead, it produces 109g/km"

So....ner.

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Re: Yeah but

1) It's a re-badged Volkswagen

2) Diesel is taxed at the same rate as petrol. You get about 25% more miles per gallon from diesel compared to petrol, and it costs about 4% more.

3) 109g/km is for the 1.6l diesel. The 1.2l is 89g/km.

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Flame

F**ktard Vehicle of the Century it is

Guys,

Either get a job as a car journo or quit covering them completely. There's nothing that says old f**ktard slow pathetic driver ahead alert that to see any derivative of a Ja**.

Just look out next time you're on the road behind a queue of 10 others who have lost their overtaking skills and thee f**ktard vehicles with either be at the head of the -10Mph/limit group, or part of it.

Blue Hair Momma's mobile, Dad in 4-ups and paisley jumpers, for all that i sacred nuke these cars off the road!

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Bless

It's nice to see the 'English as a seventh language' crowd are here practising their skills.

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Dead Vulture

#corrections

in a similar pedantic vein: "a familiar exterior will prevent hybrid-fright among it’s more conservative customers."

Egads!

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Unhappy

I worry too...

About how sore your arse will be after a long drive. Those seats are only about two inches thick.

And that boot lid / boot space is a joke...

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Happy

There's 3 kinds of people drive the Jazz

1) Mums

2) Grandparents

3) Dad obliged to drive wife's car.

They are utterly suited to these people though - easy to drive, room for kids and child seats, "magic" folding back seats for storage - which, crucially, are lightweight, so folding the seats up/down doesn't require bulging muscles.

Shame the new ones (while being mechanically better) have spoiled the dash. It now looks like the radio and heating controls were sneezed out of the designer's nose, instead of arranged in a pleasingly funky console.

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re: Ah but...

Agree totally ... hybrids seem to contribute little other than complexity, weight and posing value.

I drove a 2004 (Mark 1) Jazz 1.4 for three years and never got worse than 49 MPG - more typically 54 MPG. Why on Earth would I want this Honda Jazz Hybrid?

I now drive a Toyota IQ2 and seldom see worse than 60 MPG. I'm not an eco freak - I drive 500+ miles per week and badly need to control costs.

There's a lot of 'out of town' in my driving so maybe I'm not typical. However it seems even on urban cycles and with a heavy (regenerative) braking driving style, one is struggling to gain a measly couple of MPG over the vanilla models.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Cucumber C Face

One important matter here is the spread of MPGs on standard vs. Hybrids

As an example your 1.4 Jazz has figures of (urban / combined / extra urban) 42 / 51 / 58 with probably the 51 figure quoted on the literature and towards the top end seen as you do mostly extra-urban (motorways). As a comparison the Hybrid Jazz gives 61 / 62 / 64 - which means you will do virtually as many miles to the gallon crawling round London as you would cruising along the M1

For you, no real difference, but for most people doing short commutes and school runs there would be potentially 30%-40% reduction in fuel use.

As for the iQ - I could only get one official MPG figure from Toyota's website - I will be generous and assume it is the combined figure - but a little research shows you many people complaining that on an urban run with passengers (adding 1 adult and 2 kids at about 180Kg will make a much bigger relative difference to a 950Kg car than a 1200Kg one) getting sub-30 Mpg. I suspect these are more based on whining than reality but there will be a grain of truth in the overall complaint of nothing like 60Mpg in real use.

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CVT

Bit confused about the CVT, given mention also of 7-speed box?

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Anonymous Coward

@ David Gosnell

IIRC it does have CVT but then it uses 7 predefined settings when "manually" selecting gears (ie to manually change down to get a speed boost) - at least that is how the Insight does it and they have basically the same train.

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Thank you

That would make sense!

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Stop

Someone was shortsold

"In the last ten years, Honda has shifted over 3.5, examples of its Jazz hatchback"

Who got the half car?

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Toyota hybrid system complex?

I keep hearing this quoted, but I don't see how you come up with the idea that Toyota's hybrid system is complex. Sure, it's difficult to understand how it works, but, mechanically, it's just about the simplest transmission of any car currently made. It consists of a simple epicyclic gear mechanism (essentially a basic differential) plus two brushless electric motors, and that's about it. The clever bit is in the electronics that controls it. It doesn't actually have a "gearbox" as such, so all the complex and wear-prone bits like clutches, gear selectors, brake bands, etc are omitted. (Reverse is selected by cross-phasing the two motors) It also swallows up the functions of the alternator and starter motor, so that's another two bits you don't need to worry about.

This Honda system seems to be an electric motor bolted onto a conventional transmission, which must make it more complicated, with a lot more bits to go wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

It's simple

Honda's system has the motor inline with the engine. It's a simple bolt-in, as it were. So, although you're adding other parts to go wrong, it's not significantly less reliable, and is of course balanced by working the engine a bit less and dramatically extending brake life.

Honda's problems with IMA have been due to the inferior batteries (problem will be gone once they're fully on Li) and over-aggressive use of the battery (now adjusted with software at the cost of some mileage). They've also had some issues with the reliability of their CVT, but that's a separate issue.

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Not really

Ok, but it's still more complicated than a conventional transmission, and a lot more complicated than the Toyota system.

I think that the thing about the Toyota system is that, although it's mechanically simple, it's difficult to get it right. Apparently Toyota spend an enormous amount of time and money in doing that - and then patented it to the hilt (Understandably, to stop anyone else freeloading off their hard work). That's probably part of the reason Toyota's hybrids have a price premium (although it's starting to come down now) - they want to cover their R&D costs.

One criticism of the Toyota system is that the driving experience is unfamiliar, until you get used to it, which frightens off some people. (Things like engine sound, throttle response etc). The latest Prius seems to have been fitted with a fake "gearstick" to make things look more familiar (a bit silly, in my opinion).

I've heard about Honda's battery problems, but I don't think the use of Lithium Ion will solve them. This technology has an inherently short life, with wearout issues which are very difficult to overcome (they decay even when they're not being used). The alkaline technology used by Toyota is basically an environmentally-friendly development of the old NiFe/NiCd cell system (without the cadmium). These batteries last almost indefinitely when treated properly. I've had thirty-year-old NiFe cells still working OK. A big part of Toyota's work was getting that bit right, so the batteries could achieve their required lifetime. I'm hearing reports of batteries still going strong at 500000km and failure rates below 0.01%, so they seem to have succeeded there.

I've heard stories that some American company has a patent on environmentally-friendly alkaline batteries above 10 amp-hour. Apparently they're refusing to make any, or to licence anyone else to make them (an example of the broken US patent system). If it's true, it could help expain the preference for Lithium Ion, in spite of its problems.

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Boffin

You're thinking of this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobasys#Criticisms

(Sorry for the Wiki link, but it seems reasonably sensible)

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WTF?

IQ indeed...

The Toyota iQ is in a completely different size class to the Jazz. Agreed it's cheaper and more economical but it's smaller and slower, has two less doors and if you move the rear seats back so that anyone other than a dwarf or under-8 can get in the boot vanishes. Makes as much sense as a comparison as saying a Fiesta is cheaper and more frugal than a Mondeo - of course it bloody is.

As for Jazz drivers, well my experience is that if I am stuck behind some twerp driving at 35mph in a 50 zone for no good reason said twerp is usually behind the wheel of a Nissan Micra or something with a Rover badge on it.

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Boffin

Here in the states

Our options for regular petrol or diesel based fuel misers are limited. No Citroen, no Toyota iQ.

There was a recent "Think City" event here in town where they allowed people drive pure electric vehicles, in this case, the Think City.

Like the Leaf, it gets 100 miles to the charge.

Like any small cars, and most hybrids here, they get no respect from the rest on the roads.

With gasoline being over $4.00 US per gallon (maybe not much to you Brits, cause you're currency is the bee's knees compared to ours) there is more resentment to people who drive small cars or hybrids.

I have owned a Honda before, but never again. I will keep driving my 2002 Toyota Prius until it literally falls apart. 52 MPG that I can get with it is better than the 40 MPG that my brother gets with his brand new Honda Insight.

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Coat

In the states...

Your idea of an eco town car is a pick up with a V6 instead of a V8 - :D

jjk :p

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Pint

$4.00US per gallon!

According to Google that's around 64p a litre. Now, I filled up my diesel tank last at 141p a litre ($8.79US per gallon) and you can see why bee's knees currency or not we're much worse off ;-)

Am hoping I did my conversions right now else I'd look pretty stupid! :)

Beer because alcohol prices are another thing we Brits like complaining about.

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Paris Hilton

Even worse

In Paris last Friday, while avoiding the Mountbatten family wedding, I saw unleaded on sale for €1.79/l ($10/gallon). Diesel was €1.56, much the same as the UK.

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Alert

CVT / 7-speed override

If you put the gear selector in 'D' the system works like a regular automatic gearbox but if you move the lever to 'S' you can use the steering column paddles to manually select seven fixed drive ratios.

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Diesel

I can get 68mpg out of my 2007 Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCI and it cost me £7k to buy and £30 a year to tax. Why Just as much space, leather seats etc. I really cant see the justification for these hybrid cars when they cost so much more to purchase, and there already diesel cars out there which have lower emissions and better economy but for half the price.

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FAIL

2004 only worse

In 2004 I bought a preregistered Renault Clio 1.5dci.

It seated 5 (just), had a reasonable boot, had 100hp, did 0-10 in 10sec, did 65mpg officially AND cost £8k with 2 miles on the clock.

Now ok it was French and bits fell off over the 4yr I had it but it regularly exceeded 60mpg driven pretty hard every day and I saw 86mpg one occasion.

Things only seem to be getting more complex and more expensive to achieve a worse outcome.

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MPG

The urban cycle (or equivalent) fuel consumption is the figure most often quoted. That is supposedly and average spread of driving conditions. Cars used for commuting spend a much larger proportion of the time in the rush hour crawl than that. That is where hybrids are (supposed) to excel. Averages are no good here.

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One suggestion

Next time you show "rear seat legroom" would you mind having a person in the pic for comparison? Since there's little else to show scale, it's kind of hard to judge.

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Hybrids - a flawed concept?

I'll admit I have a Honda Insight. It's a comapny car, so cheap on the tax. As a family we like our Insight, it has a nice big boot and is very comfortable.

Someone earlier posted about the IQ being a good car. I'm sure it is, but with families and friends and 5 seats, the Honda's make more sense to me from a practicality viewpoint. As I spend a lot of my driving time on motorways and major roads, I've always found tiny cars like the IQ very wearying.

Previously I hade a diesel Citroen C4 with the flappy-paddle gearbox. It was supposed to do about 60mpg - but in 3 years it only managed 40mpg overall. The Honda, in the last month or so I've had it, is doing 51mpg so far but improving as the car gets run in. The petrol engine in the Insight is very quiet normally (see comments below) and so much easier to drive than an oil burner for sure.

The biggest thing about these hondas to my mind tho, is that silky smooth CVT gearbox which is seamless, especially compared to the Citroens glacial-change in auto mode (Hint for Citroen users: use the paddles and change gear using the accelerator like you would with a manual - it's faster and smoother than the auto change).

Sadly, an idea like these 'mild' hybrids is flawed. Why? Because the engine is still running and drawing power.

The Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) is only partially effective. Motorway driving can be a chore if you need to accelerate to overtake a lorry for instance. The engine will whine and eventually get going, little assisantce from the electric motor. Starting moving from a standstill uses a lot of engine power and very little motor power it seems.

I've changed my driving style to suit the car now, I'm much more relaxed and use the cruise control on all longer journeys. Lower consumption, less noise, less stress. thats the way to do it.

On an associated topic:

I read an old, but interesting article from James May (top gear) recently. Should we really be eaking out the last of the oil? If we use the sodding stuff up quickly then we'll get all this much talked of new technology to replace it. As long as we continue to hoard and sip away at oil, the longer it will take before we get replacement technology. 10 years ago, this idea would have been brilliant, but now with petrol over £6 a gallon, who of us can afford to guzzle the gas?

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Real Life MPG

I replaced my 2.2 diesel Civic in Nov 10 with an Insight, got 52 PPG rom the Civic I get 53 MPG from the Insight after 12,000 miles all with econ button on, I suspect this is the real worl figure rther than the 62 MPG.

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@Clive Harris

I worked on a Ford project back in 2001-3 (hybrid Explorer, called the Maverick over here) which put an uprated Prius powertrain in an SUV. Partly to prove it could be done, and partly bcos USians just won't buy anything that isn't the size of a house.

As has previously been mentioned, getting smooth control out of this thing is an absolute bear. Sure, it's all under software control. But that makes the software *hugely* complicated. You need starting and stopping the engine to be seamless, and that is best described as "non-trivial". Add in the complexities of keeping the batteries topped up, running the engine in its most efficient load range as far as possible, and the impact of regen braking on everything, and you're talking some very serious control software.

Plus it's a notch up on safety-related, compared to a normal powertrain. With a regular engine you can always disengage the engine from the wheels if anything goes wrong with the engine controller, and you've got brakes too. And it takes a little while for the engine to rev up. But with a Prius, the engine controller can disengage the brakes (for regen braking); and with an electric motor geared directly to the wheels, instant maximum torque in either direction is only a software command away, with no way of stopping it. So you really really *NEED* it to work - or at least for it to be able to recognise that it's got its sums wrong, and either fall back to some less-efficient get-you-home mode or simply stop and wait for the recovery truck. That means you need to test it to death, and then test it some more for good measure.

It also has a knock-on effect on the rest of the car. Power steering is mostly mechanically driven from the engine - Ford developed electric power steering specifically for this SUV. Air-con ditto. You've got a nasty recursive problem that you can't start the engine without the HV electrics, but if the HV battery is dead then you can't start the engine to charge the HV battery. And of course you've lost the get-you-home fallback strategy of just running with the engine, if the HV side breaks for some reason (this is a car; things go wrong).

That doesn't make the Prius powertrain a bad idea. Mechanically it's rather straightforward, which is great for manufacturing and maintenance. But you've only moved the complexity to software. If you've already got the software nailed like Toyota, then great - but if you haven't then you've got a lot of work to put in (translation: a small army of people, a fleet of test vehicles, several years work, and a shitload of money).

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@Graham Bartlett

Yes, I agree with all you said. The engineering challenge is enormous, with a lot of complex, subtle problems. It reminds me a bit of the early development of the jet engine - simple in concept, but fiendishly difficult to get right, yet with the bonus that, when you have got it right, you end up with a massive improvement over the earlier technology. I'm told that the first prototype Prius, when first demonstrated to the Toyota top brass, rolled about 100 yards and then locked solid! The algorithm which balanced power flow between the two electric motors went into some sort of loop, something which the computer simulations hadn't predicted.

There is also the fear of, and resistance to, anything new and unfamiliar. I was told that the first Japanese-spec Prius had to have significant changes made for the USA market to give it more familiar-sounding engine noises, with some resulting loss of efficiency. Americans didn't like an engine whose revs were computer-controlled and bore little relationship to the actual road speed. A lot of work was put into making it sound like a "normal" car. (Something which an engineer probably wouldn't think of).

That hybrid explorer sounds a bit like the Lexus RX400H which my wife recently bought (second-hand). Basically an uprated Prius powertrain with an extra 90HP electric motor bolted onto the rear axle. It's a neat way of getting 4WD without needing a prop shaft or any sort of front/rear drive splitter. It basically works as front-wheel-drive at light loads and then engages the rear axle when needed. She won't let me drive it, but she seems to like it. I doubt if she'll ever take it off-road, but it looks reasonably capable if she did. Also, apparently Top Gear hated it, so it must be good!

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IT Angle

Bah

Hybrids are an inelegant engineering solution. Why does a car need two engines to get you to the supermarket and back?

The marginal improvement in fuel efficiency can be achieved by other means, for instance the Fiat 500 TwinAir (a 2-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine) is rated at 84bhp and 95g/km.

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El reg needs some memory improvement pills

It is _SIXTH_ time lucky, not THIRD

Original Insight - frankly amazing vehicle for what it is. Excellent to drive, acceleration, aerodynamics.

Civic Hybrid MK1- not noticed as it looked same as a normal Civic sedan

Civic Hybrid MK2 - US mastodon which always looked out of place on a British street.

Insight MK2 - abuse of a good trademark, Prius look-alike.

CR-Z - should have been called Insight instead. It is closer to the original Insight than the Prius lookalike.

Jazz is No 6 (at least in the UK).

All of these use IMA and all are pretty much the same mechanically and electronically. All have partial or full idle/deceleartion cylinder cut off (that is what VTEC actually is) and idle stop.

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Interesting technology, in a dull shell

The hybrid technology is interesting and seems like it could be a pragmatic step forward for engine technology (with a bit more work), but why does the rest of the car have to be so dull looking? Honda could've really done something special here, but they seized on mediocrity. Not for the first time, either.

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FAIL

it all seemed good until

the quoted MPG figure of 62, all that effort and money for that? Our 8 year old Citroen C3 1.4 Diesel does better than that, easily. Progress? I think not, go away and try again, pathetic! With fuel prices now touching £1.50 a LITRE we need better MPG than that.

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Boffin

slippery-ness

I thought it was the lower the Co-efficient of Drag the better.

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all ICE cars are hybrids

Electric starter motor + internal combustion engine.

(or hand-crank human power + internal combustion engine :) )

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FAIL

Oh, FFS

1964 Humber sceptre - 1600 or 1725- 35mpg 6-speed gearbox - 4 door saloon - £2500-3000

2011 Toyota Prius - 1800 - 45mpg (indicated) CVT - 4 door hatch - £15000

Guess which one is faster and better to drive - and no prizes for guessing its not the Prius. Not to mention you can push start a Sceptre, and even use the starting handle if it comes to it. Oh yeah, and it doesnt catch fire when theres a 'r' in the month. Get one and shove the H120 lump in it, and you'll be able to do over the tonne - not to mention servo disk/drum brakes and 0-60 in 10.2, yes, in 1963!

1991 Renault 5 1108 4- speed - 4/5 seater plus reasonable boot - 93mph & 52.2mpg and thats with me running at motorway speeds with it giving all its got.. with an engine that was 25 years old when the car was new... 1.7 baccara, aircon, fuel computer, all electrics and leather...

Hybrid cars are utterly utterly pointless, they're a gimmick and nothing else. A properly designed ICE engined car with an engine that can pull the weight that its attached to, and you will get good mileage. And you can guess that most of the geriatrics who buy them wouldnt even notice that they've burned out the electric motor - since they never manage over 2500rpm - glazed bores, meet burned valves...

A case in point is the Renault 25 2.2i and its replacement 2.0 12v - the 2.2i could easily manage 35mpg - good for a large exec - yet the 2.0i 12v never managed more than 25mpg - because the engine was substantially more strained, even with a much more aerodynamic body.

And to the guy who mentioned the reg not doing reviews of cars - they suck at all the other reviews so why change a winning formula...

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Alert

Again,

We mention small cars that aren't available here in the states. The humber sceptre does sound interesting, though.

It's great that you guys have so many choices, and have had so many choices for good mpg over there.

Here in the states, if you want good mpg, you have to get a bona-fide hybrid like the prius, or, if you really really have to have a honda, the insight or the cr-z.

All other hybrids are known as "hollow hybrids."

The only exception to this rule, is interestingly enough, the Ford Escape/Mercuriy Mariner/Mazda Tribute hybrid.

a small-ish suv that gets 36 mpg.

Ford licensed the toyota hybrid tech to do this. this may have been what happened to the "maverick" project somebody else was referring to.

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engine turns over but closes the valves???

Really?

How does that work then. Would you not just be endlessly compressing and recompressing gas in the cylinders that will soon get jolly hot

Does the engine actually go into an idle (with the valve timing altered by VTEC) to minimise fuel burn whilst power is delivered to wheels by battery/motor.

If the valves really do close then I for one insist reg show us how this works pictorially ideally with Playmobil!

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@ justkyle

Actually, the R5 series 1 was available out there for several years - you know it as the 'Le Car - but if you are feeling particularly suicidal you could opt for the Gordini Turbo with the motor where the back seats would be. The later car, known as the supercinq never made it out there, which was a shame. Fast, moderately comfortable in most models - Turbo model ballistic missile, Baccara, rarer than dragons teeth - electric everything, leather and a 98hp 1700 engine.

Renault 25/21 mixed up together plus a few mopar bits - welcome to the Eagle Premier - although you dont get the nice voice warning system as fitted to the GTX 25s upwards - but then again you dont get the 25 mk 1 phase 1 awful brakes.'

The Safrane is a cheap buy at the moment 92-00 - the 2.5i RT Exec in manual or automatic is the sensible choice - the insurance excess is the Biturbo model, left hand drive 4x4 with a twin turbo 263hp engine and getrag 5 speed.

A little research will find you some good smaller car choices in the US, and you can bet there will be a few importers.

Oh. and if you want the american version of the Humber Sceptre... welcome to the Sunbeam Alpine :). There are probable some sceptres about in the US if you look hard enough, and they're a sight cheaper than the Alpine out there.

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