The new Honda Jazz is not much fun to drive, but it is safe and predictable, and the hybrid drive system is easy to achieve with
There is much to say about the new Honda Jazz. Its hybrid powertrain is impressive and refined, based on this short drive, remarkably effective in the real world.
The car retains its smart practices buttons too. But the ride is a bit choppy on 16-inch wheels, and we’re just not convinced this upscale EX edition is the sweet spot of the range, given its price.
We look forward to trying a more modest SR with all the essential kit, the same powertrain, smaller wheels, and a lower monthly rate of funding.
The Honda Jazz certainly did an excellent job of splitting opinion. For fans, it is the supermini that is smart enough to behave like a small family car when needed.
For countless others, it is a small car designed for the conservative older generation.
The Jazz is designed to be both of those things. It’s just that in particular the UK, he fought for almost 20 years out of this love-hate relationship – although Honda insists that the sales figures for the outgoing version well in a market under pressure from small SUVs.
Yet it is time for a new attempt to break the stereotype with the modern Jazz, designed to not only keep the car for its base dedicated to customers but also attract buyers of classic (and yes, it probably means more youth) – people who care about fuel efficiency, operating costs and connectivity as they are practical.
The new car looks are undoubtedly Jazz, mind you. Thinner A-pillars help improve forward visibility, and the roof height has been reduced by 10 mm, but the general pattern is always that of a small MPV more than a supermini.
Below this is what looks like a surprisingly sophisticated powertrain for a small car—called e: HEV, comprising a gasoline engine Atkinson cycle of 1.5 liters and two electric motors.
One of them acts as a propulsion system. The other converts the energy from the electrical gasoline engine, which can be supplied through for immediate use or stored in a small lithium-ion battery that is integrated into the system.
The implementation allows the Jazz to have three driving modes. In the EV drive, used primarily around the city, the electric propulsion motor drives the vehicle, taking its power from the lithium-ion battery of the car.
Hybrid Drive in the gasoline engine is used to drive the second electric motor, producing enough power to the drive motor for driving the wheels while dripping a little juice in the additional battery if possible.
Honda expects this parameter to be used in the conduct of daily and A and B roads.
In the final model, the engine, a clutch bypasses the two electric motors, enabling the combustion engine to drive the wheels.
The car will decide when it is the most efficient method of propulsion available to it – but think “cruise highway,” and you will not be far off the mark.
There is no conventional gearbox, but that does not mean that the Jazz may be hampered by a continuously variable transmission in the same way that former Toyota hybrids.
The system can play with the mixture of the engine and electric motor torque depending on the speed and position of the accelerator of the car, the artificial creation “steps” to make you believe that you are just driving an automatic conventional. Do you have it all?
The range of Jazz is easier to understand. All cars are available with the same e system: HEV so that the choice is the powertrain and transmission of the road. Then you’re finishing levels – and there are only three of them.
It is the entry point, with prices from £ 18,985 (or £ 199 per month on a PCP first agreement).
The essential kit list is solid, with temperature control, a speed regulator, folding heated mirrors, windshield wipers and automatic headlights, 15-inch wheels, and folding rear seats.
It should be noted, however, that this model only gets infotainment five inches system without any smartphone connectivity; for the nine-inch setup, including Android Auto and Apple Wireless carplay, you will need to step up to SR (from £ 20,185), which also provides parking sensors front and rear.
The line head edition is called EX. It increases wheel size 16 inches and adds heated seats and steering wheel, leather steering wheel and gearknob on, a rearview camera, and navigation on the same screen infotainment. This is the version we try here, with a price tag of £ 21,385.
The EX trim level also consistent across the Crosstour, which takes the same specification and has high ground clearance, somebody coverings, an upgrade of the eight-speaker audio system, the option of color on the contrast roof and curiously repellent fabric seat. It costs from £ 22,635.
Do these prices seem high when a classic Ford Fiesta can be yours for only £ 15,885? They do it for us.
But while hybrid technology will not come cheap. And the real objective of Honda for this model could be the new generation Toyota Yaris Hybrid, which is likely to be much closer to the price.
On the road, the good news is that the powertrain is consistent justifies the expense.
This is not the last word in performance, but concerned – 108bhp and 253Nm – enough to make the Jazz appear cheerful if you push, and comfortable, even if you do not.
Compare with editions for mid-spec gasoline turbo three-cylinder rivals, and it remains very favorable; 0-62mph takes 9.5 seconds.
It is too active. The test road Covid-19 traffic levels eased UK Honda, but still, for several hours along with a mixture of motorways, national roads, and tracks of urban rats, we saw an average of 70mpg north on the trip computer.
It’s the real-world economy that even mild hybrids (cars with glorified starter/generators, that is) can not hope to match, and the official figures as little as 102g / km on the test cycle WLTP more difficult are encouraging.
Refinement powertrain is generally upscale. There is a bit of whining electric motor from time to time, but if you are cruising along a motorway, you will not be disturbed by a motor or engine noise.
Hardware acceleration does the engine speed soaring, of course, but even then, the note is quite subdued and relatively smooth.
The chassis is a good match for all these attributes because it is fundamentally sound and resolutely unwilling to thumb all you could call entertainment.
The transmission does not wish to begin with, but management too much playing around the line and did a poor job of letting you know what the front wheels are doing. It is easier to have fun in a Yaris Hybrid – and a Fiesta is a real laugh a minute by comparison.
Surely this should make the character of Jazz – and its likely customer base – but on this point, we have more concerns about the ride quality.
There is sophistication, but it is too easily upset by broken surfaces – the types of roads that we have many in the cities of the UK and cities. There is another reason why most modest trim levels could be worth visiting, as they sit on 15-inch wheels instead of the EX 16s.
The practical side of the Jazz was not forgotten, meanwhile, although it was kept instead of strengthening.
The boot is a respectable 304 liters – more so than in the Yaris or Fiesta – and it unfolds on a useful 1,205 liters (floor to ceiling) if you fold the rear seats down. Similarly, the famous magic seats in the second row are, so that you can bend the basics like a cinema seat to help you drag items on the rear floor.
Passengers are not hard done by, either. Four six-footers can be accommodated without grunts on the knee or legroom, and that those of them with the most haircuts bouffant crown will catch the headlining above the rear seats.
The passenger’s quality complies with the usual standard Honda, and while there are hard finishes, especially in the door trim, almost everywhere that you touch is padded and soft.
And Honda is finally making real progress in infotainment. Nine inches Jazz setup is quick to respond to inputs and has all the connectivity you could want a smartphone – to the point where we would not be worth spending more to get navigation on the EX variant.
|Model:||Honda Jazz e:HEV EX|
|Engine||1.5-litre 4cyl petrol electric|
|Transmission:||Single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive|