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First look: Honda retunes Jazz

Mid-cyle makeover: The Jazz's changes are hard to spot.

A facelift and revised trim should keep Honda’s popular Jazz singing along

15 Jun 2004

GOAUTO can reveal the first published photos of Honda’s facelifted Jazz light car.

Known in Japan as the Fit, the five-door hatchback is expected locally around October, in time for the Sydney Motor Show debut.

The changes, which are mainly cosmetic, are the first since the Jazz’s Australian release in October 2002.

It will take a keen eye to spot the new grille, headlight cluster, front and rear bumpers and front air-intake design.

Two variations of the latter exist – one with a more aggressive crosshatched mesh-style opening that’s expected to feature on the sportier VTi-S version.

Redesigned tail-lights, Mercedes-style wing mirror indicators and new colours complete the exterior body titivations, while the hubcaps and alloy wheels have also been restyled.

Mimicking the lively hues found on the Mazda 2, Honda has gone for pastels. Alongside the current red, black, silver and white, they include a champagne brown, pistachio green, electric blue, bronze, charcoal and off-white.

15 center imageInside there are materials and trim alterations, a new steering wheel and a revised dashboard with improved storage capabilities and more sophisticated heater and audio controls.

In the 1.5 seven-speed CVT automatic, the current car’s toggle switch-style steering wheel-mounted shift controls give way to F1-style paddle shifts similar to those found in Ferraris.

Some upscale models also sport a fully automatic climate control set-up and a large monitor for GPS satellite navigation or television reception, although the latter is unlikely for local consumption.

Mirroring Toyota’s super-successful Prius II, Honda now also offers a card entry system in place of a conventional key.

Mechanically there’s a small jump in power for the 1.3-litre i-DSI four-cylinder engine, from 61 to 63kW at 5700rpm. Torque output remains static at 119Nm at 2800rpm.

There are no changes to 1.5-litre VTEC engine outputs, which continue to be 81kW of power at 5800rpm and 143Nm of torque at 4800rpm.

Both motors now record lower fuel consumption figures as well as carbon dioxide emissions.

According to Honda Motor in Japan, the revised 1.3 unit returns 4.17L/100km (previously 4.8 according to the Australian AS2877 highway cycle) while the 1.5 achieves 4.88L/100km (previously 5.2).

On the safety front side airbags are now available, along with the addition of EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution, aiding the standard ABS Anti-lock Brake System.

Honda Australia says the entry level $15,990 GLi will continue despite running at around one-third of total Jazz sales.

However it is unclear whether the current GLi’s five-speed manual model will be offered, as the 1.3 now appears to be a CVT automatic-only proposition in Japan.

The 1.5 five-speed manual gearbox will continue though, along with the seven-speed CVT.

Year-to-date figures for Australian Jazz sales are 811 versus 2282 for the larger 1.5-litre variants.

The Jazz has been a huge critical and commercial success for Honda.

Launched at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show, it has been one of the company’s consistent bestsellers, far exceeding the effort of its predecessor, the unseen-locally Logo.

A three-box four-door sedan variant, known as the Aria, is also manufactured.

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