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First look: Honda heralds Jazz facelift

And all that Jazz: Honda's baby Jazz hatch is due Down Under in January, but the hybrid version remains a year away.

Facelifted Jazz emerges for Europe ahead of its Australian release in January

Honda logo30 Nov 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

HONDA has revealed a facelifted Jazz for Europe, providing a clear indication of what to expect when the upgraded Japanese light-car goes on sale here in January.

On sale from February 1, the UK’s revised Jazz range will also include the Jazz Hybrid, which remains at least a year away from Australian shores.

Honda Australia last week committed to releasing four new hybrid models over the next 18 months, starting in December with the small Insight five-door priced from under $30,000 and also including the CR-Z three-door next July, the Jazz Hybrid in early 2012 and a replacement for the current Civic Hybrid sedan later in 2012.

Already on sale in Japan, the Jazz hybrid will be available in three specification grades in Britain, with the entry-level HE version priced at the same £15,995 ($A25,872) as the top-shelf Jazz 1.4 EX CVT.

Powered by the same electric drive system as the Insight, the Jazz Hybrid returns a combined fuel consumption figure of 62.8mpg (4.5L/100km) and CO2 emissions of 104g/km in the UK.

15 center imageLeft: Honda Jazz. Below: Honda Jazz Hybrid.

According to Honda, that makes the Jazz Hybrid the lowest-emitting automatic B-segment vehicle available in the UK but, while it is also marginally more fuel-efficient that the Insight (4.6L/100km in Australia), Ford’s manual-only Fiesta Econetic remains the fuel economy leader at 3.7L/100km and Toyota’s Prius and the overseas Lexus CT200h continue to be the CO2 emissions yardsticks at 89g/km.

Apart from the first hybrid variant, the European 2011 Jazz range also brings fresh cosmetics and improved ride and handling.

New front and rear bumpers and fresh projector-style headlights are similar to those seen on the Japanese model released in September, which Honda says reduces its smallest model’s aerodynamic drag coefficient from 0.336 to 0.330Cd.

The same continuously variable transmission (CVT) seen in the hybrid is now available with premium 1.4-litre versions of the Jazz in the UK, where a smaller 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is also available.

It is not clear if the CVT will be fitted to the upgraded Jazz in Australia, where 1.3 and 1.5-litre petrol fours are currently offered, matched with both five-speed manual and (conventional) automatic transmissions.

The UK’s Jazz Hybrid HX flagship will come standard with leather trim, which will be an option on the top-spec petrol model, the Jazz 1.4 EX.

It joins a number of other ‘premium’ touches for the UK’s 2011 Jazz interior, including chromed rings for the air-vents, instruments, climate controls and dashboard, while a darker new dash material is designed to contrast with orange and blue back-lighting of the dials, gauges and displays (blue only for the hybrid).

For Europe, the 2011 Jazz also features a rear seatback that reclines by 73mm.

Finally, Honda says it has improved both the ride comfort and handling of the UK’s Jazz, which also offers improved steering feel at higher speeds – although no specific changes have been revealed.

Overseas, four new exterior paint colours will join the petrol-only Jazz line-up – Azure Blue, Polished Metal, Urban Titanium and Ionized Bronze – while the Jazz Hybrid will be available in new Lime Green Metallic, Taffeta White and Azure Blue colours.

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