While hybrids are still seen as a bit of a novelty in some parts of the world, the technology has come a long way. In fact, it's almost the norm in Japan already. Looking around Tokyo, just about every car you might encounter there is a hybrid.
So to bring hybrid power to a much larger audience, Honda will be putting in their new two-stage hybrid system in more cars in the coming years. Dubbed the i-MMD Sport Hybrid system, it's short for Intelligent Multi Mode Drive. This system has been in service for a while already. However, it's commonly seen on larger Honda vehicles such as the Odyssey, Accord and CR-V. Now, they want to put that new tech on their smaller cars.
That could mean models like the Jazz/Fit, City/Grace, and HR-V/Vezel will be getting the new i-MMD system. While there are hybrid versions of these vehicles today, those still use the i-DCD hybrid, also known as Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive. With an all-new Jazz on the horizon, we could be seeing Honda's plan in motion as early as October 2019. The City, known as the Grace in its home market, could follow suit in just months.
What's the difference of i-DCD and i-MMD then? First, there's the transmission. Instead of using a dual-clutch transmission like the i-DCD, i-MMD uses an e-CVT. Also i-MMD uses the latest dual-stage motor system to ensure more efficiency and it also has the capacity to deliver greater range in pure electric mode. That means you can go on short trips without having to use the engine at all, further maximizing fuel efficiency.
For now, Honda isn't saying which engine they will pair the i-MMD system to as it is currently mated to a 2.0-liter engine. In its current guise as seen in the Accord, CR-V, and Odyssey, it makes 212 PS. It's unlikely that we'll see that much power in the Jazz, City, or HR-V. A likely candidate is the 1.5-liter engine, and it could be more than the 137 PS rating the current i-DCD model has listed.
Could that mean we might see a Jazz or a City with more power than a standard 1.8-liter Civic in the future? Whatever the case may be, it looks like Honda isn't just keen on making hybrids more mainstream, they want to make them fun too.