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Honda to bring more affordable hybrid variants to Australia


Honda Australia plans to expand its Hybrid portfolio in the future by offering the efficient drivetrain technology in more affordable model variants

Honda Australia director Carolyn McMahon has confirmed that the Japanese brand plans to expand its highly praised hybrid drivetrain system from only being offered on top-spec variants to being available in more affordable grades.

Ms McMahon said the brand’s initial focus with introducing its i-MMD (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) hybrid system has been to establish each new-generation model with a hybrid flagship as the halo variant, but that going forward we can expect hybrid availability to become more widespread.

Honda’s new ZR-V is the latest model to launch with a hybrid option in Australia

“The next step is to introduce more [hybrid] variants within each model,” said Ms McMahon.

“With Honda ZR-V and of course with new CR-V, there will be a hybrid top-grade spec in those models. And then as we move through the lifecycle [of each nameplate], you’ll see more variants coming in on the hybrid range,” she said.

At present, Honda Australia offers its i-MMD hybrid drivetrain in the HR-V small SUV, ZR-V midsize SUV, Civic hatch, Accord sedan and soon, the new-generation CR-V, though only in the highest-priced variants of each model. 

Honda Civic eHEV 2023 front 3/4 suburbs 2
Only the flagship grade of the Civic is offered with a hybrid system currently

In the HR-V and Civic in particular, the Hybrid variant also brings a significant lift in standard equipment.

But this will change in the future, as more efficient drivetrain technologies become the expectation of all buyers, not just those willing to pay for it.

In western Europe and the UK, for example, Honda automotive only offers hybrid drivetrains (apart from the Civic Type-R) – usually in at least three grades – with the new-gen CR-V being offered in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.

Honda Civic eHEV 2023 engine
Honda offers its hybrid system with 1.5- and 2.0-litre engines

Consisting of a naturally aspirated petrol engine, two electric motors, a lithium-ion battery and an integrated electronic CVT transmission, the i-MMD hybrid system offered by Honda in Australia comes in two guises – a 1.5-litre version in the HR-V Hybrid, and a 2.0-litre direct-injected version in the Civic, ZR-V, Accord and new-gen CR-V Hybrids.

When questioned by Chasing Cars about what the current variant split is between petrol and hybrid models, Honda Australia declined to comment, stating “we cannot share specific volume information and hybrid/petrol split, however we believe we have secured the right amount of [hybrid] stock to meet customer demand.”

Historically, Honda Australia has been quite prolific with its hybrid model line-up, starting with the two-seat Insight in 2001 – beating the Prius to market by six months in this country – and then continuing with the Civic sedan hybrid (2003), five-door Insight (2010), CR-Z coupe (2011), Jazz Hybrid (2013) and Accord Hybrid (2013). 

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