Jazz puts in a boot
Honda aims for young and old with a grown-up version of a favourite hatch, writes NEIL McDONALD
IN THE light-car class, hatches rule. But Honda has taken a leaf out of the Toyota Yaris book and introduced a sedan version of its Jazz, called the City. Toyota’s popular seller is not the only target, though. The 1.5-litre City also has designs on the Holden Barina, Kia Cerato, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Nissan Tiida sedans.
Though Honda is not aiming to eclipse the Yaris, the City is a clear signal that the company is embracing younger buyers and retirees who want to down-size without losing luggage space or the fun factor.
Like the Jazz, the Honda City shares plenty, including 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine and suspension. The big difference is the styling and the big boot.
Honda has given the exterior and interior a more ‘‘grown-up’’ look that is both distinctive and sporty in the light-car segment.
It gets a striking grille, slim-line headlights and a profile that Honda calls ‘‘arrowshot form’’.
At the back there are obvious styling cues from the larger Honda sedan family.
The City’s exceptionally roomy boot holds 10 litres more than a Holden Commodore Omega.
At 506 litres with a 60/40 split fold rear seat the boot is bigger than even the Accord (450 litres) and Accord Euro (467 litres).
Two models are available, the VTi and the VTi-L, with prices starting at $20,490 for the VTi and $22,990 for the VTi-L five-speed manuals. The five-speed automatic adds $2300.
As expected of a Honda, both models are comprehensively equipped.
The VTi gets power windows and mirrors, central locking and an iPod/MP3-compatible single in-dash CD stereo.
The safety kit includes anti-skid brakes, brake assist, dual front, side and curtain airbags and front seatbelt pretensioners.
Electronic stability control is on the agenda but is unlikely to be available for 18 months, according to Honda spokesman Mark Higgins.
ESC is not a high priority in the Asian markets where most of the Citys sell, he says.
‘‘It also needs to be calibrated and tested in our conditions.’’
Though not yet crash-tested, the City can hope for only a four-star rating without ESC.
The Australian New Car Assessment Program requires ESC to be included to achieve the maximum five-star rating.
The VTi-L adds tilt and telescopic steering, 16-inch alloys, chrome door handles, foglights, better trim and leather steering wheel.
the Honda City is coming here after being a big sales success overseas.