Honda said its fourth-generation Jazz, to be sold exclusively as a hybrid, will “raise the bar in terms of comfort and driver enjoyment”.
The Jazz uses a similar dual-motor hybrid system to the CR-V Hybrid, but downsized for its supermini application. Honda says the powertrain “provides an exceptional blend of strong and effortless driving performance and impressive fuel economy”.
The CR-V Hybrid pairs two electric motors with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a CVT. However, given its smaller dimensions, the Jazz will use a 1.5-litre petrol engine and a pair of smaller electric motors. These will send a combined 108bhp to the front wheels through a bespoke gearbox with a single fixed-gear ratio for a more linear acceleration curve.
Honda claims a 0-62mph time of 9.4sec and a top speed of 108mph. It says the Jazz is capable of achieving 62.8mpg on the WLTP combined cycle while emitting 102g/km of CO2 in its standard form.
Three driving modes are available, allowing drivers to choose between running on the engine, the motors or a combination of the two. Regenerative braking functionality features, sending charge to the battery pack under deceleration.
The Jazz is the first in Honda's current line-up to go hybrid-only, with other models soon to follow suit. Honda announced last year that all of its combustion-engined models in Europe will be offered with hybrid powertrains by 2022.
The firm said: "Honda will expand the application of its i-MMD dual-motor hybrid system, with the introduction into smaller segment cars an important first step."
Currently, the only model it offers as a hybrid is the CR-V, which indirectly replaced a diesel variant of the compact SUV. Petrol variants are also sold. Honda UK has seen great success with the CR-V Hybrid, which accounts for 55% of the model’s sales.
Following the arrival of the hybrid Jazz in spring this year, the next electrified model will be the Civic in 2021. The next-generation Accord, due to launch in Japan imminently, will also be a hybrid.
Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo confirmed at last year’s Tokyo motor show that all future electrified Hondas would be sold under a newly-created e:Technology sub-brand. All models powered by Honda's two-motor hybrid system will be called e:HEV. For example, the Jazz’s full name is Jazz e:HEV.
Honda UK sales boss Phil Webb said the maker will launch a campaign to help educate on the hybrid Jazz given the older age of many of its loyal customers. He predicts a dip in sales when it first arrives on roads in summer, but anticipates it will bounce back to between 18,000 and 20,000 units annually in the UK.