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.