Also known as a used import under the Fitt moniker, the latest and third generation of Honda Jazz was released in early July.
Before attending the National Field Days in June I went to the Jazz Press launch, at a swanky winery north of Auckland, to listen to Honda’s PR team brief motoring journalists on its new toy.
It is an incredibly important model for Honda as the small vehicle segment hots up with increasing emphasis on reducing fuel bills, without losing the technology and versatility that is now expected of the modern car.
Available in hatch only with two motors and four models, the biggest news is that not only has the price dropped from the previous Jazz, the electronic wizardry is standard across the whole range. So you’ll have a 7-inch touch screen, reversing camera and Sat Nav, Bluetooth with music streaming, cruise control and computer along with steering wheel mounted controls, heat absorbing glass and alloy wheels on the Honda Jazz S base model, 1.3 litre, 73kW, 119Nm, $23,700 automatic.
I love the space that Honda has found inside. 363 litres in the boot is class-leading, coupled with the ‘magic seats’, Rears can have bases lifted for a flat floor space for tall objects, the seatbacks fold flat and even the front passenger seat folds forward to give 2.2 meters of length; enough for a surf board. 5 star ANCAP rated the safety features including 6 airbags and ESP are all included.
We got to drive only the bigger motored 1.5 litre 97kW 155Nm models, the RS, RS Sort and RS Mugen topping off the price list at $29,500 manual. All the 1.5s are available in both manual and an extra $1400 for the Auto.
Sadly, like more than 90% of all cars, the uptake will be in automatic.
I got to drive the wild black RS Mugen 6-speed manual, which has a Sports Kit, Aero Bumpers, Sports steering and sill garnishes. Also, as in the pic, it is fitted with a $900 sports exhaust system that aids low down acceleration and sounds fantastic at 7000rpm. I drove it west from Highway 16 that connects Auckland with Helensville, turning off to sample the hills and curves that reel in the road to Muriwai Beach; oh so quickly when you have a performance vehicle. Neutral handling on 17inch alloys can switch to a little oversteer on sharp corners when braking through the curve. I found though that while you can provoke it, to induce some excitement, it was easy to place and stay on your patch of the blacktop!
The biggest seller is likely to be the budget 1.3, which is anything but. We didn’t get to drive it as it has not hit our shores yet. I liked the adventurous colour selections like Violet Yellow and Orange that make a welcome change from the boring silvers and greys we get dished up at present.
Honda is betting the farm on a number two position [up from three] and with this car priced incredibly sharply, lavishly equipped and including a new five-year Warranty they might just do it.
Honda Jazz’s lined up for press.
Bright colours available on new Honda Jazz. Note twin exhausts on Mugen.