New Sport Hybrid Powertrain Debuts in Redesigned Honda Fit

Jeff Youngs | Jul 19, 2013
This fall, a redesigned 2014 Honda Fit goes on sale in Japan, powered by a new Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive (i-DCD) gas-electric hybrid powertrain claimed to get 86 mpg on the car's home-market cycle. Characterizing the new Fit Hybrid as the first model to receive the company's Sport Hybrid i-DCD powertrain, Honda says its new hybrid system is designed for use in smaller vehicles.

Unlike the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) gas-electric hybrid powertrain currently offered in the Honda CR-Z, Honda Insight, and Honda Civic Hybrid, which is a "mild hybrid" system in which the electric motor merely assists the gasoline engine and cannot power the vehicle on electricity alone, the new Sport Hybrid i-DCD system is a "full hybrid" system with an EV Drive Mode, Hybrid Drive Mode, and an Engine Drive Mode.

To create the Sport Hybrid i-DCD system, Honda pairs a new 1.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that contains an electric motor. A Lithium-ion battery stores electricity, and is recharged by a new, more efficient regenerative braking system. Honda claims a 35% improvement in fuel economy compared with its current IMA hybrid technology.

Sport Hybrid is the name that Honda is applying to its new hybrid powertrains because they are engineered for excellent fuel economy combined with an enjoyable driving experience, the company says. Honda says the new Fit Hybrid will, in addition to providing the highest fuel economy of any hybrid sold in Japan, deliver a "rhythmic and linear acceleration feel" and "acceleration g-force more powerful than conventional models."

If this sounds compelling, you may need to lobby Honda in order to buy one, because Automotive News reports that the Fit Hybrid will not be coming to America. Instead, the Sport Hybrid i-DCD system is reportedly destined for installation in a small sedan and small crossover slated to arrive for the 2015 model year, according to Automotive News. A redesigned Fit is also expected to arrive in the United States for the 2015 model year, equipped with a conventional gasoline engine.

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