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Tokyo show: Honda says new Jazz sets the standard

Dual-motor hybrid and greater comfort feature in fourth-generation Honda Jazz

23 Oct 2019

HONDA claims its new fourth-generation Jazz has been developed to set the compact-car benchmark while at the same time creating a new standard for its vehicle development.


Revealed at the Tokyo motor show today in five new guises to suite various lifestyles, the Jazz – known as the Fit in some markets – will also become the first Honda compact car to offer the Japanese company’s two-motor hybrid powertrain that it has now dubbed e:HEV.


Honda promises better forward visibility due to redesigned A pillars, more comfortable seats with softer padding, better safety due to a new Honda Sensing package, and enhanced useability through improved ride, better performance, advanced connectivity and more storage.


Australian launch plans for the new Jazz are yet to be confirmed, with Honda Australia public relations manager Naomi Rebeschini telling GoAuto that it was too early divulge details.


The current third-generation Jazz that has been on sale in Australia since July 2014 after taking a year to make it into local showrooms following its reveal in Japan. If that is any guide, the Australian launch of the all-new model might be in the second half of 2020.


So far, Honda’s global headquarters in Tokyo has released scant details of the new model, with dimensions, a full powertrain list and performance and fuel economy figures all still under wraps.


However, it has said that the Jazz was developed as a benchmark small car “with the intention of becoming the globally accepted standard for compact cars suited to this new era” without compromising its hallmark spaciousness and useability.


Unveiling the Jazz at the Tokyo show, Honda president Takahiro Hachigo said the Jazz was not developed merely as a means of transportation for Honda customers.


“We strived for a vehicle which will become a part of our customers’ daily lives and make their daily lives more comfortable and enjoyable,” he said. “This is a compact car for the new era, and this vehicle will set a new standard for Honda automobile development.” 


The new Jazz maintains its high level of cuteness – a major selling point of the original Jazz that debuted in 2001.


Now with a snub nose and LED light clusters at the front, the latest Jazz nevertheless retains the tall-boy cabin that contributes to its spaciousness.


To cater for a wide range of customers, the new Jazz will be dressed up in five ways: a standard variant called Basic, a warm and homely version called Home, a vibrant variant for sporty types called Ness (as in Fit Ness), a faux SUV version with black wheelarch extensions called Crosstar and a leather-upholstered upmarket flagship called Luxe.


The hybrid version of the Jazz – to be sold alongside conventional petrol variants in some markets – is likely to get a scaled-down version of the two-motor hybrid powertrain introduced in overseas markets on the CR-V mid-size SUV.


The CR-V pairs a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with two electric motors, dispensing with a transmission, like a pure-electric car.


Honda has not disclosed the engine size for the Jazz hybrid, but a smaller – 1.5-litre, say – engine would seem logical in the lighter car.


Honda previously offered a mild-hybrid powertrain in the second generation of Jazz in Australia, but that was dropped from the local in the current generation, even though it was available elsewhere.


Safety-wise, the new Jazz gets the latest Honda Sensing crash avoidance system that includes a wide-view camera and eight sonar sensors mounted in the front and back of the vehicle.


This autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system will be standard on all Jazz variants.


And even though the Jazz is one of the entry-level cars in the Honda range, it will debut the company’s newly developed Honda Connect system that – with an extra-cost premium package – will include General Motors-style emergency alert systems in case of a crash or other emergency.


In Australia, the Jazz was once Honda’s second-best-selling model after the CR-V, but it has now fallen to fourth place in the ranks behind HR-V and Civic as well.


So far in 2019, Honda has delivered 4478 Jazz hatchbacks – a 19.2 per cent decline over the same period of last year in a segment down 13.3 per cent.

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