1 Sep 2008
AFTER six years and 51,000 sales in Australia, Honda has reinvented its Jazz light car with an all-new body and interior, revised mechanicals and significantly improved refinement, dynamics, safety and space levels.
Virtually nothing has been carried over from before, but the old Jazz’s front-wheel drive configuration, tallboy five-door hatchback design and flush-with-the-floor ‘Magic Seat’ rear seat-folding arrangement (made possible by a centrally mounted fuel tank) remains.
Increases abound, in the new car’s 3900mm length (+55mm), 1695mm width (+20mm) and 2500mm wheelbase (+50mm), to front and rear tracks that are 35 and 30mm wider than before, at 1492 and 1475mm respectively. Only the 1525mm height is shared.
The second-generation Jazz now boasts a Mercedes-Benz A-class-style monospace silhouette, with A-pillars that are positioned more forward than before to liberate as much cabin space as possible.
Here are some of the resulting interior dimension changes, which Honda claims give the Jazz medium-car space.
About 90 per cent of the new Jazz’s platform is new, with only the fuel tank and “a few bolts” carried over from before.
Extensively revised versions of the previous car’s MacPherson strut front and H-shaped torsion beam rear suspension systems have been employed, with increased wheel travel via larger springs incorporated to address the old Jazz’s brittle ride. Improving steering, handling and roadholding qualities were further goals for the new car.
The GLi uses a variation of the old 1.3-litre unit, but gains Honda’s i-VTEC ‘intelligent’ variable valve timing technology in lieu of the old twin spark i-DSI system.
This 1339cc engine produces 73kW of power at 6000rpm and 127Nm of torque at 4800rpm – representing a rise of 12kW and 8Nm over the old 1.3-litre engine.
Meanwhile, the revised 1.5-litre 16-vavle engine in the VTi and VTi-S delivers 88kW at 6600rpm (up from 81kW) and 145Nm at 4800rpm (previously 143Nm). Honda says this engine provides best-in-class power output.
However, the new Jazz’s official combined average fuel consumption figures have also risen.
The 1.3 five-speed manual GLi returns 5.8 litres per 100km – up 0.1L/100km – while the automatic’s 6.6L/100km represents a significant 0.8L/100km jump.
It’s the same story on the carbon dioxide emissions front, with the new 1.3 model’s 138/157 grams per kilometre output for the manual/automatic respectively falling short of the old car’s 135/138g/km outputs.
Similarly, the 1.5’s 6.4L/100km (manual) and 6.7L/100km (auto) outcomes are 0.4 and 0.7L/100km worse than before, as are the 151g/km and 159g/km CO2 readings (previously: 142/144g/km).
Honda’s decision to scrap the old car’s CVT Continuously Variable Transmission for a conventional five-speed automatic gearbox on grounds of improved response and driveability is one reason.