In the week that the factory opened up in Swindon after a three month shut down due to the Coronavirus, Honda launched its Jazz model, the most popular car in their range.
This is their fourth generation, which began almost 20 years ago and a while ago it was actually built in Swindon – those halcyon days when the factory were turning out three different models.
The Honda Jazz is without doubt one of the most reliable super minis around the world and one of the customers who had number was Jeremy Clarkson’s mother. She actually drove a vivid pink model.
Well Mr Clarkson would never have let his mother driven one if it was unreliable and over the years older drivers loved the Jazz and bought them in their droves.
Over the years annual Jazz sales in the UK were between 15,000 to 20,000.
The new model will be enjoyed by Jazz owners and there might even be some converts. However there might be one possible complaint. You can only get an automatic gear box and it’s now hybrid-only, with the sole powertrain comprising a 1.5-litre petrol engine, two electric motors and the fixed-gear transmission drives the front wheels.
The Jazz provide an effortless driving experience with efficient and responsive performance delivered by advanced e:HEV hybrid technology as standard. Part of Honda’s new e:TECHNOLOGY range, the next-generation Jazz is available exclusively with e:HEV two-motor hybrid powertrain technology and is the first of six electrified Honda models scheduled to be introduced in Europe by 2022.
Hybrid/electric is now the way of the world for Honda and Jazz is the first model in Honda’s European line-up to wear the new e:HEV branding that will appear on all future Honda full hybrid vehicles. And while the new Jazz has changed as a new model it is still much the Jazz as it always was – totally reliable, bags of room, safe and sturdy.
And Honda continues to improve its models and the Jazz is no exception. This has better and more comfortable seats, improved visibility and a body which has been stiffened to help its handling.
The new Jazz looks a bit improved than the previous model and there are plenty of changes on the inside with an improved dashboard and less cluttered. And being Honda everything works properly including a touchscreen and an excellent infotainment system.
The new models have the magic seats which are quickly folded flat to give you a large, flat loadbay or have their bases lifted up to create a considerable load area in place of the rear seats. There are plenty of other useful storage areas including under the boot floor and two gloveboxes.
The new Jazz comes in at £21,385 and the petrol engine has four cylinders in line at 1.5 plus two electric motors. The top speed is 108mph; 0-62mph in just under 10 seconds and CO2 is 104g/km. Fuel economy is around 60mpg.
The new Jazz has an added on a variant with a Jazz Crosstar. The variant presents a more SUV-style proposition, orientated toward those with active lifestyles. Available with the same hybrid powertrain and interior features as the standard model, the new Crosstar adds increased ride height, water-resistant upholstery and integrated roof rails. The model’s increased presence comes from a bold front grille design, black cladding around the wheelarches and stylish side sills and roof rails. The Crosstar-specific silver and black alloy wheels create an increased sense of stability and enhance
the overall robust visual effect. To further differentiate from the standard Jazz model, the Crosstar variant is also available with its own unique Surf Blue paint colour, plus customers have the opportunity to specify a contrasting Crystal Black roof.
Honda reckon the Crosstar will add an extra 10 per cent to its sales.
There are numerous safety systems like Collision Mitigation Braking; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Keeping Assist System operates from 45mph on urban and rural roads; Road Departure Mitigation assists the driver to not stray from the road; Blind Spot Information; Traffic Sign Recognition; Intelligent Speed Limiter recognises traffic speed signs and sets the speed limit; Auto High-Beam which works at speeds of more than 25mph and the new wider angle, higher definition camera replaces the multi-purpose camera and City-Brake Active System sensor set-up of the previous-generation Jazz.