An all-new, third-generation Honda Fit (also called the Jazz in some markets) is on the way and Honda has released preliminary photos of the car which will make its debut in Japan in September.
The Japanese lineup will include a hybrid model, although it is not yet known if the hybrid will be sold in North America when it comes to market here next year. What is known is that the new Fit for North-America will be built in Mexico, beginning some time in 2014.
Along with photos, Honda has released some details of the new Sport Hybrid i-DCD small hybrid system to be used in the Fit and probably in the next Civic Hybrid, replacing the original Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) mild-hybrid system, which was introduced in the Insight in 1999.
It was used in updated form in several subsequent models, including the current Insight, CR-Z, and Civic Hybrid..
The company introduced a new two-motor hybrid system in the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid and it will also be used in the non-plug-in Accord Hybrid which is scheduled to arrive this fall.
But the new system set to debut in the Fit is different again. It is called Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive (i-DCD) and features a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that runs on the Atkinson Cycle.
As with the IMA system, a single electric motor sits between the engine and transmission, in this case a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic – Honda's first – which replaces the IMA system's CVT.
Significantly, the new i-DCD system can decouple the engine and gearbox while using power from the electric motor, or when coasting or braking, which the IMA systrm could not do. As a result it will enable electric-only acceleration from a stop as well as more efficient coasting and regeneration when decelerating.
During hard acceleration and high-speed cruising, the electric motor system will provide supplementary torque to assist the gasoline engine.
The Honda Urban SUV Concept introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIS) in Detroit is also expected to be produced on the same platform as the new Fit.