Honda's new hybrid: the spy photos

Published: 17 July 2008

Is this Honda's new global hybrid car? Our latest spy photos from America scoop a new Honda model that looks like a home-grown green car rival to the petrol-electric Toyota Prius. But CAR's new spyshots raise as many questions as answers.

Honda president Takeo Fukui confirmed in May 2008 that the company would launch a slew of new hybrid models – including a more affordable family car, a hybrid production version of the sleek CR-Z concept, a petrol-electric Jazz and a successor to today's green Civic hybrid.

So is this secret new Honda one of those hybrids?

That's the big question. We at CAR don't like to make false claims – and we're just not quite sure if this is the new cheaper hybrid, dubbed New Global Hybrid. It's clearly not the CR-Z, Jazz or Civic, but it doesn't quite match the description of the more affordable model, either.

Why not? Our sources vow the New Global Hybrid will be smaller and cheaper than today's Civic Hybrid, and our spy photos depict a much bigger car.

In fact, many here noticed more than a passing resemblance to the Toyota Prius, especially at the aero-fashioned, teardrop rear end, but our man in the US swears this car is being developed by Honda engineers. And it does share many styling tips with the FCX Clarity fuel-cell car, which is destined to influence a new generation of cleaner Hondas.

Click 'Next' to read more about the clean new Hondas in the pipeline
So the mystery continues. What do we know about the new hybrids?

We'll see a concept for the New Global Hybrid at the Paris motor show in October 2008, followed by a production version in UK showrooms by March 2009. It promises the latest, simpler and cheaper iteration of Honda's IMA hybrid petrol-electric powertrain.

Interestingly, Honda is pursuing hybrids for its smaller cars – and is relying on clean diesels (and, ultimately, fuel cells) for its larger cars. That's why the next batch of petrol-electric models will all be smaller models:

New Global Hybrid, on sale spring 2009
CR-Z Hybrid, on sale 2010
Jazz Hybrid, follows that
Civic Hybrid, follows that

Honda sources vow that all future hybrids will be global models to maximise returns – ruling out the chance that Honda is developing a direct rival to the bigger Prius just for the US market.

What do you think this car is? Click 'Add your comment' and start sleuthing...

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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