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First look: Honda evolves Jazz

Jazzed up: Honda's redesigned light-car gets a little wedgier. Images: www.vtec.net.

Acclaimed Honda light car will be revamped next year, as pics of the 2008 Jazz prove

27 Aug 2007

EVOLUTION, not revolution, is the theme for the second-generation Jazz, official sales brochure images of which were revealed on Honda fan-site forums across the Internet over the weekend.

Set for a late October unveiling at the Tokyo motor show, Australian sales are not expected to commence before the second quarter of 2008.

The five-door light-sized hatch sticks with the same design cues as its six-year old predecessor, but features a completely new body and interior.

Whether the 2008 Jazz is actually larger than the original remains to be seen, although the images do suggest a slight increase in size in all directions, which should result in significantly more interior room.

Once again, an eight-windowed monobox profile of seemingly identical proportions to today’s Jazz is employed, but with edgier detailing that appears to pay lip service to the current Mercedes-Benz A-class – especially around the tail-lights.

A typically contemporary Honda headlight and grille treatment dominates the new Jazz’s nose, with the bonnet now boasting a sort of ‘power bulge’.

As with the new Euro Civic hatchback, triangular and hexagonal themes dominate, particularly around the air-intake and foglight openings.

After the aforementioned Civic’s futuristic interior, the new Jazz’s neat but fairly mundane dashboard may disappoint some, but it does highlight the importance of this model in conservative markets such as Asia and North America.

15 center imageMirroring the current Jazz is the three-binnacle instrumentation layout, although the brochure image points to an increased use of higher grade trim materials, while up-spec versions feature a full-sized screen for navigation and audio functions.

Honda’s ‘Magic Seats’ – referring to the rear cushion and backrest that folds down flat into the floor well where in most other similarly sized cars the petrol tank resides, resulting in a much larger load space – will almost certainly return in the new Jazz.

If this is the case, expect the current car’s MacPherson strut front and space-saving torsion beam rear suspension set-up to be carried over, but with detailed changes to solve the handling and ride-related deficiencies that some critics have levelled at the Jazz.

The same should also apply to the baby car’s expected electric power steering system.

New 1.3 and 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engines are expected, with Honda’s advanced i-VTEC “intelligent” variable-valve technology to be introduced across the range.

For some time now rumours have circulated that the next Jazz will adopt a development of the 1.3-litre IMA petrol/electric drivetrain found in the 85kW/170Nm Civic Hybrid.

If this comes to fruition, the Jazz Hybrid will employ a CVT continuously variable transmission.

Like today’s cars, a CVT is also expected in the petrol-only Jazz models, although speculation suggests that this will gain a type of torque converter for more instant acceleration and response.

A four-door sedan to replace today’s Jazz-based Aria is also on the cards, although whether we ever see it in Australia remains unclear.

Since its debut at the Tokyo motor show in October 2001, sales of the current Jazz – or Fit as it is known in Asia and America - has exceeded two million units.

Australia had to wait a year for its first taste of the Jazz. Initially sourced from Japan, our versions have come from Thailand since early 2006.

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