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Honda Jazz Hybrid: World's first hybrid supermini breaks cover

Honda's all set to bust out a hybrid version of its funny-looking Jazz, making it the first manufacturer to create a hybrid supermini.

Rory Reid
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Honda's just unveiled a hybrid version of its funny-looking Jazz supermini, making it the first manufacturer to create a hybrid in this class.

The Jazz hybrid will borrow most of the propulsion gubbins from its Honda Insight big brother. This consists of an 87bhp 1.3-litre i-VTEC engine lovingly affixed to a 14bhp electric motor, as well as a nickel metal hydride battery pack that'll drive the vehicle in electric-only mode -- but only under "some medium and low speed conditions."

Honda has yet to release final fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures for the Jazz hybrid, but says its numbers will be "comparable" to those of the Insight. As a result, punters should be able to expect 64mpg and 101g/km of CO2 emissions, which is a significant improvement on the 53.3mpg and 125g/km achieved by the standard petrol-driven Jazz 1.2-litre.

Let's not get too carried away though. Even these improved numbers would pale in comparison to figures achieved by the Jazz hybrid's rivals. Bog standard diesel superminis such as the VW Polo Bluemotion achieve 70mpg and 102g/km, while diesel hatchbacks like the Seat Leon Ecomotive return 74.3mpg while spewing a mere 99g/km of carbon dioxide.

The Jazz hybrid's pricing could also be a concern. The standard car costs a reasonable £10,995, but if the addition of an electric motor and a shedload of batteries increases the cost beyond what you'd pay for diesel or petrol-driven alternatives, consumers may be reluctant to go down the hybrid route.

Still, we'll reserve judgement until Honda releases official economy figures and pricing for the Jazz Hybrid at the forthcoming Paris Motor Show. CNET UK's Car Tech massive will be travelling to the land of garlic and stripy jumpers to go hands on with this bad boy, as well as Honda's other offerings such as the 2011 Insight, CR-Z, CR-V and the new Accord.

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Pricing for the Jazz hybrid is unconfirmed, but here's hoping it's unlikely to be in line with its non-hybrid rivals.

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