Honda reveals new details of 2020 hybrid-only Jazz
14 February 2020 - Autocar
Popular supermini will exclusively feature a petrol-electric powertrain capable of around 63mpg
Honda says its new Jazz, to be sold exclusively as a hybrid, will "raise the bar in terms of comfort and driver enjoyment". It's the fourth iteration of the supermini, which is known as the Fit in other parts of the world.
The Jazz uses a similar dual-motor hybrid system to the CR-V Hybrid, but downsized for its supermini application. Honda says the powertrain "provides an exceptional blend of strong and effortless driving performance and impressive fuel economy".
The CR-V Hybrid pairs two electric motors with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a CVT. However, given its smaller dimensions, the Jazz will use a 1.5-litre petrol engine and a pair of smaller electric motors. These will send a combined 108bhp to the front wheels through a bespoke gearbox with a single fixed-gear ratio for a more linear acceleration curve.
Honda claims a 0-62mph time of 9.4sec and a top speed of 108mph. It says the Jazz is capable of achieving 62.8mpg on the WLTP combined cycle while emitting 102g/km of CO2 in its standard form.
Three driving modes are available, allowing drivers to choose between running on the engine, the motors or a combination of the two. Regenerative braking functionality features, sending charge to the battery pack under deceleration.
The Jazz is the first in Honda's current line-up to go hybrid-only, with other models soon to follow suit. Honda announced last year that all of its combustion-engined models in Europe will be offered with hybrid powertrains by 2022.
The firm said: "Honda will expand the application of its i-MMD dual-motor hybrid system, with the introduction into smaller segment cars an important first step."
Currently, the only model it offers as a hybrid is the CR-V, which indirectly replaced a diesel variant of the compact SUV. Petrol variants are also sold. Honda UK has seen great success with the CR-V Hybrid, which accounts for 55% of the model's sales.
Following the launch of the hybrid Jazz in 2020, the next electrified model will be the Civic in 2021. The next-generation Accord due to launch in Japan next February will also be a hybrid.
Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo confirmed at the Tokyo motor show that all future electrified Hondas would be sold under a newly-created e:Technology sub-brand. All models powered by Honda's two-motor hybrid system will be called e:HEV.
Honda UK sales boss Phil Webb said the maker will launch a campaign to help educate on the hybrid Jazz given the older age of many of its loyal customers. He predicts a dip in sales when it first arrives on roads in summer, but anticipates it will bounce back to between 18,000 and 20,000 units annually in the UK.
The new Jazz must remain familiar enough to appeal to those loyal owners, while also bringing in new people to Honda's entry-level model.
The styling is a minor evolution over the previous model. The space-maximising upright profile and tall glasshouse remains – allowing for a load capacity of up to 1203 litres with the rear seats folded – but with more curved lines and redesigned lights, bumpers and bonnet. One notable feature is the split A-pillars, designed to increase forward visibilty. The windscreen wipers have also been hidden below the top of the bonnet line.
Honda claims the new Jazz's seats offers comfort similar to that of a premium saloon. The rear seats are said to retain the flexibility of previous Jazz's in how verstaile they are. The forward cabin design is a simple one, with clean lines and a touchscreen mounted in the centre console.
In Japan, five different versions of the new Jazz will be offered: Basic, Home, Ness, Crosstar and Luxe. They are different trim levels, that climb from a simple version on steel wheels through to a model with leather seats and extra chrome trim.
Honda has not yet confirmed which trims will come to the UK, but says adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, automatic headlights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are among the standard features.