Honda Jazz preview
Honda’s clever city supermini, which is evolving into its fourth-generation guise in 2020. The Jazz has always had a bit of a reputation as something that only suits pensioners, but that is to overlook its clever interior packaging and smooth, reliable drivetrains. The Mk4 will also introduce hybrid drivetrains to the Jazz in a bigger way than before, as Honda looks to move into an electrified future.
What will its rivals be?
The usual B-segment run-arounds, like the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, SEAT Ibiza, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Micra, Opel Corsa, Peugeot 208, Citroen C3 and Renault Clio. But its part-electric power will put it mostly in direct competition with the Yaris, as Toyota has majored on hybrids for many a year now, while it could also be seen as an alternative to full city electrics like the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, BMW i3 and new Peugeot e-208.
Any tech info?
Honda is keeping remarkably tight-lipped on this score. It is known that the Jazz will use a variant of the Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid system that has already seen service in the CR-V Hybrid, but it is unlikely the smaller car would use the CR-V’s 2.0-litre engine as the onboard combustion unit. Instead, expect either a 1.0-litre three-cylinder or 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, likely derived from the VTEC Turbo units in the Civic line-up, to be given the part-electric treatment.
What will the range be like?
Again, we don’t know anything at this stage about how far the Jazz Hybrid will be able to drive on electric power alone – if it can do any distance at all. The CR-V Hybrid with i-MMD doesn’t use its electric engine for motive power per se (it has a 2km electric-only range), but instead employs a parallel (non-plug-in) set-up to improve fuel economy. It’s not clear whether the Jazz will have more zero-emissions range, although if it did, there’s the fear it might be stepping on the toes of Honda’s all-new, all-electric city car promised for 2020, the e.
Fairly high, although the Jazz has never been an exciting car in its previous generations (save for the Jazz Sport Mk3 and various Japanese tuner versions of the Fit – which is what the Jazz is marketed as in many other countries). However, Honda has made the Jazz Mk4 look a bit more interesting that almost all of its predecessors and, if it can nail the hybrid part of the car’s brief, this could be a very strong contender in the supermini marketplace.