Honda Jazz

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Honda Jazz

That's right, the Honda Jazz hybrid isn't just making its first show appearance here at the Paris motor show, it's also breaking new ground as the world's first ever hybrid in the B-segment (that's a supermini to you and me).

We should get used to world firsts as more and more manufacturers launch hybrids in various segments, but we'll give the Honda Jazz, which arrives in the UK early next year, the limelight for now.

Using the same 1.3-litre engine-based system as the larger Insight, average fuel economy for the hybrid Jazz improves markedly on the 1.2-litre's 53.3mpg with a figure of 64.2mpg.

Do the numbers add up?
That's great, but emissions of 104g/km mean the Jazz misses out on a couple of tax breaks for cars that emit less than 100g/km.

Sure, VED (road tax) is free in the first year, but it's 20 a year after that when a sub-100g/km car pays nothing.

A 10% company car tax band is also satisfyingly low, but there's the danger the Jazz will miss out on Boris Johnson's proposal to give 100% exemption from London's congestion charge to any sub-100g/km car, no matter what technology drives it.

Honda says it won't allow the development of its technology to be driven by targets and incentives such as these, which strikes us as very strange. Other manufacturers can successfully tweak emissions to reap the benefit, so we don't understand why Honda won't join do the same.

Then there's the price. A standard Jazz starts at just under 11,000, but the hybrid is more likely to cost 15,500.

A world first without a doubt, but the most impressive number from the hybrid might still come from one of the car's existing assets the 831 litres of boot space available with the clever interior.