The new Honda Jazz will be launched at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, sporting hybrid drive and rugged styling to boost its appeal
Honda has teased the new Jazz ahead of its launch at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Unlike previous iterations, which have sported upright MPV-like styling and conventional engines, this fourth-generation model will feature rugged mini-SUV styling and a hybrid powertrain in a bid to boost its appeal.
The Japanese brand’s latest teaser image suggests the new Jazz will feature larger headlamp units, chunky bumpers and a slightly raised ride height over its predecessor. Our exclusive images show the new Jazz will also receive roof rails and black plastic cladding around its wheel arches, which will lend to its mini-SUV look.
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Spy shots have also revealed that around the back, the previous Jazz’s vertically stacked lights will be ditched for more conventional horizontal units sitting beneath the rear window. The rear hatch will cut deep into the back bumper – as on the previous model – so there will be a generous opening for loading bulky items into the boot.
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Despite its chunky-looking dimensions, the Jazz will measure around four metres long, so it won’t grow significantly in size over the outgoing model. Honda is targeting the growing supermini-based crossover market with the new Jazz, where it will rival models such as the SEAT Arona and Citroen C3 Aircross.
Underneath the fresh panelling, the new Jazz is expected to feature an all-new platform, which will offer practicality gains and support for Honda’s latest range of hybrid powertrains, in-keeping with the firm’s plans to electrify its entire range by 2025.
Honda can consider itself amongst the pioneers of hybrid technology – its first production petrol/electric car, the Insight, went into production in 1999. Honda insiders have suggested that this will be the first Jazz to do away completely with traditional combustion-powered petrol and diesel options and go hybrid-only.
This time around, the Jazz hybrid is set to use a similar configuration to the ‘intelligent Multi-Mode Drive’ (i-MMD) set-up used by the CR-V SUV. As a result, in typical driving situations the combustion engine will be put to use as a generator, and rather than driving the wheels directly, it sends charge to an electric motor, which tops up a small battery. When more performance is needed, the engine can drive the wheels directly via a fixed-ratio gearbox.
Although the larger CR-V uses a 2.0-litre engine in its hybrid system, we expect that the Jazz will use a much lower-capacity combustion unit, because of its smaller size and lower weight.
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Inside, the new Jazz is going to take a significant leap forward in terms of both design and tech. Early glimpses of the cabin show a large infotainment screen sitting proud of the upper sweep of the dashboard. Below it sit three large, round dials to adjust the climate control functions. The overall appearance should provide a major step up in perceived quality compared with the current model.
Thanks to its tall body and clever use of interior space, the last Jazz scored strongly on practicality. And this new model is almost certain to retain Honda’s Magic Seats system – consisting of a sliding rear bench and an upward-folding seat squab which opens a footwell-to-ceiling space.
What will the new Honda Jazz have to beat? Check out our list of the best superminis still on sale…
For an alternative review of the latest Honda Jazz Hatchback visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk