From £10,985
Finally, a hybrid to take on Europe's diesel hatchbacks
18 October 2010

What is it?

This is the final piece in the Jazz puzzle that we’ve been waiting for – the Jazz hybrid. It might be the third hybrid model to come forth from Honda in as many years, after the Insight and CR-Z, but strangely, it was actually the first to be configured from the ground up as a hybrid.

According to chief engineer Kohei Hitomi, Honda wanted to first test the ‘hybrid’ waters before launching a petrol-electric version of its hugely popular Jazz.

With a positive response to the Insight and the new CR-Z, they felt the time was now right for the Jazz.

That’s why the 1.3 litre powerplant and IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system sits snugly inside the tiny engine bay, and more to the point, that’s why the bulky battery pack and IPU (Intelligent Power Unit) fit cleanly under the rear floor section without sacrificing luggage space.

What’s it like?

You’ve got to look closely to see the exterior modifications on this new addition to the current lineup. Fully aware that the Insight returns mileage of 84 mpg and that the Jazz’s Cd is less slippery than that of the Insight, Hitomi tells us that his team did everything in their power to reach that same level. And they did by adding a slightly edgier look to the body.

To give the car the best aerodynamic profile as possible, stylists tweaked the headlights and tail light cluster designs and added underbody panels. They also reduced kerb weight by 70 kgs (compared to Insight), added a revised front brake design and special eco tyres, which all combine to give the Jazz hybrid better off the line acceleration.

On the road, the difference is immediately obvious. The lighter Jazz employs the Insight’s 1.3 litre 4-cylinder IMA powertrain with CVT that develops 86bhp/5,800rpm and 89lb/ft of torque at 4500rpm. But it is over one second faster from 0-60mph, than the petrol model and delivers those herbs in a more elegant, quieter way.

“Customers paying a higher price for the Jazz Hybrid will naturally expect a quieter, more comfortable ride than that of the Insight or current Jazz, so we had to reduce NVH substantially,” admits Hitomi. To enable the Jazz to better handle inner-city stop-and-go driving, Honda has added a start-stop system that combines to deliver just 104g/km of CO2.


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“We used a substantial amount of lightweight, sound-absorbing fiberglass wool inside the body panels to reduce engine and CVT whine reaching the cabin,” says Hitomi. And the result is surprising. The Jazz hybrid is significantly quieter at speed than the current petrol version. Pushed hard, the CVT still whines at high revs but the sound deadening material works superbly to drown out mechanical sounds entering the cabin. Oh, and for the record, Honda are not offering the option of a Jazz hybrid with the CR-Z’s 6-speed manual. Not for the time being, that is.

The CVT delivers the best mileage insists Honda. In fact, they are so confident that they say the Jazz hybrid is not only more fuel efficient at low speed city driving (up to 28mph) than a Polo 1.2 BlueMotion, but that the Honda’s 104g/km figure is now on a par with that of the VW. Hitomi also focused on revising the Jazz’s steering, which has come under fire in some circles for its “waffle.” By fitting an additional performance rod and thickening stabilizers by 3mm (from 20-23mm), the Jazz’s steering now delivers better weight and feedback while generating less understeer.

Should I buy one?

Well, if you’ve been looking for a Japanese hatch that can take the mileage, emissions and handling battle right up the diesel dynasties of Europe, then this is your machine.The Jazz hybrid offers a great ride, and at last employs sharper, more responsive handling, too.

But more than that, according to Hitomi, it is the first Japanese hybrid to offer a competitive, well-packaged, small hatch alternative to B-segment diesel hatchbacks in terms of mileage and emissions. And that’s what many potential buyers have been waiting for.

Peter Lyon

Honda Jazz hybrid

Price: £13,300 (est) Top speed: 100mph (claimed); 0-60mph:10secs (claimed); Economy: 84mpg (claimed); CO2: 104g/km; Kerb weight:1130 kg; Engine: 4-cyls, 1339cc, hybrid; Power: 86bhp at 5800rpm; Torque: 89lb/ft at 4500rpm; Gearbox: CVT

Join the debate


18 October 2010

Still don't think it will sell with that 104g/ km co2 figure given nearly all the eco-diesel models in that class and the small family car class will undercut it at sub-99g/ km levels. 5g/ km may not sound like much but its the difference between free road tax/ congestion charge and having to pay, and it affects the company car tax band.

18 October 2010

[quote Autocar]but that the Honda’s 104g/km figure is now on a par with that of the VW.[/quote] No it isn't, the Polo Bluemotion 1.2 TDI achieves 91g/ km, and the 1.2 TDI SE gets 102g/ km.

18 October 2010

If the price is right it is cheap for a small hatch with an auto box.

18 October 2010

This "review" reads like an advertisment for Honda - it's full of superlative quotes and focuses only on the positives of the car (masking the negatives as "they recognized and fixed this or that"), and even heaping praise on the shitbox that is the Insight. Shame on you Autocar!

18 October 2010

£13K? That's the Japanese domestic equivalent price?'s not made clear in the article.

18 October 2010

[quote Autocar]With a positive response to the Insight and the new CR-Z...[/quote]

A what now? Where?

Like someone said already, this reads more like a Honda add than a test drive.

18 October 2010

I normally get annoyed at the "Autocar is biased" diatribe you sometimes find on here and think it's mostly a lot of nonsense, but in this instance I agree that this article doesn't seem particularly balanced. And like others have said: 104 g/km is NOT equivalent to Volkswagen's 91 g/km Polo BlueMotion.

I do like the Jazz, though, and the mechanical changes are welcome. I even like the 'facelift'.

18 October 2010

[quote Autocar]This is the final piece in the Jazz puzzle that we’ve been waiting for – the Jazz hybrid. [/quote]

Surely the 'final piece of the puzzle' would be a diesel engine for the Jazz as every one of it's competitors in Europe has at least one in the range.

18 October 2010

[quote]Surely the 'final piece of the puzzle' would be a diesel engine for the Jazz as every one of it's competitors in Europe has at least one in the range.[/quote]

We are frequently reminded that the days of small diesel cars are coming to an end , as the cost of making diesels meet emissions regulations becomes unsustainable for cheap cars.

18 October 2010

Japanese domestic equivalent price is ¥1.59 Million which is £12,289. Not bad for the 80+ mpg Jazz

Honda UK should Import the 6 Speed manual 1.5L i-VTEC 120 ps Honda Fit RS I guess it Wont happen because like the watered down civic type R Honda UK favor the swindon built cars.


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