Japan’s Favourite Hondas Are All Hybrids – Drive Safe and Fast

Cars

Published on December 5th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair

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Japan’s Favourite Hondas Are All Hybrids

Since the middle of 2017, Honda Malaysia have been offering the company’s latest generation of hybrid vehicles. Although Malaysia is the first country outside of Japan to receive this technology, i-DCD has been a favourite in Japan since 2013, as hybrids account for a large number of domestic Honda car sales.

To give us a taste of the hybrids in their natural habitat, we went on a drive. We began at the heart of Tokyo. From the carpark of our hotel, we embarked upon our journey to Mount Fuji, driving nothing but Honda’s compact i-DCD powered cars.

The i-DCD system is one exclusively built by Honda in Suzuka.

In Japan the Jazz and City are also found, but they’re slightly different and called the Fit and Grace (pictured above).

But there are also other cars that are powered by i-DCD. In fact, since 2013, more and more of their cars have received the system.

Left to right: Freed, Vezel, Grace, S660 (non i-DCD powered), Fit and Jade

Along with the two aforementioned models, there’s also the Freed (2nd gen), Jade, and Vezel. We really like the Freed and Jade. They’re large, practical cars that can be easily propelled by the relatively small i-DCD package. But the Freed and Jade are probably not going to come our way. What really excited us was the Vezel. You may know it as the HR-V.

The Vezel Hybrid is a pretty sigficant upgrade to the HR-V that’s currently on sale in Malaysia. There’s no official word, but we have a feeling we will see this in Malaysia come 2018.

The Hybrid HR-V will swap the 1.8 i-VTEC engine and CVT gearbox for the i-DCD powertrain, which consists of a 1.5-litre Earth Dreams engine, a 7-speed DCT with an electric motor built into the first gear.

Our drive took us from Mount Fuji to the Fuji Speedway.

And from there, we made our way to the Hakone Skyline, where we had some real fun on the iconic mountain roads surrounding Tokyo.

The i-DCD system fits in with Honda’s carmaking philosophy perfectly. In the city, it sips fuel and offers a quiet, comfortable ride. Out in the twisties, they’re well sorted, responsive and torquey. We’re not surprised that they’re as popular as they are in Japan.

Between September 2013 and September 2017, over 256,000 units of the Fit Hybrid were sold in Japan. In Malaysia, the success of the Sport Hybrid models are also reflected. By October, Honda Malaysia hit their 3 month sales target of 1200 hybrid cars in 2 months. With an 8 year battery warranty and a guaranteed battery replacement price, we’re not surprised.

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