This is the new Honda Jazz, which will make its comeback to India sometime in mid-2014. The Jazz was always a great hatchback; in fact, we rated it as the best in its class.
But it was let down by its price tag, and even a steep price cut didn’t help boost sales, forcing Honda to discontinue the model. However, with this new Jazz, Honda is looking to correct that. The new Jazz will come powered by the 1.5-litre i-DTEC ‘Earth Dreams’ diesel engine as well as a 1.2-litre petrol engine. It maintains the basic quasi-MPV-hatch proportions of the earlier car.
The car you see here is the hybrid model powered by Honda’s 1.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine and Honda’s Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive (i-DCD) gearbox that supposedly improves the car’s fuel efficiency by more than 35 percent and also features the best fuel economy of all the hybrid models in Japan. But, we doubt this engine and gearbox combo will make it to India. The conventional car will have subtle differences in styling such as differently designed wheels and tail-lamps.
The car’s grille now sports more aggressive, almost Civic-like, headlamps and a sleeker grille as well. The new bumper is dominated by large air-vents which add to the sporty appearance of the front, and on the side, there’s a prominent rising beltline, not on the previous car, which flows neatly into the new tail-lamps. The headlamps come with metallic inserts. And there are turn indicators on the wing mirrors as well. The Jazz has always come with a spacious and extremely practical cabin, and this is a trait that will definitely be maintained.
Honda will produce the car at its Tapukara plant, using a large amount of content locally to keep costs down. And since the Jazz shares its platform with the new City (due here in early 2014), it will definitely be more affordable than the earlier car. Honda doesn’t want to go and make that mistake again. The new Jazz’s wheelbase has increased by approximately 50mm (resulting in better rear legroom) but we expect the overall length to stay similar to that of the older car. The older car measured in at 3900mm and if Honda sticks to its sub-four-metre length, the Jazz, with its 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine, will fall under the definition of a small car, making it eligible for an excise benefit.
Honda was rumoured to be losing money on the earlier Jazz, leading to fewer models being produced than demand for the car, which meant long waiting periods and irate customers. Another factor was the introduction of the Amaze. Honda was anticipating huge demand for its Amaze compact saloon, and needed to concentrate its available resources towards the Amaze.
So, when the new Jazz does make its way here in 2014, it will be interesting to see where Honda positions it. Our sources say that it will slot right in between the Brio and the Amaze, which could possibly play in the Jazz’s favour. Good news for Honda Jazz fans in India.