Honda says this third-generation Jazz is only a prototype. It said the same thing about the HR-V, but that car is about to go on sale in the US while this latest Jazz is already on sale there and called the Fit.
The all-new Jazz has a sleek, sporty-looking body that is 15mm longer than before and which, thanks to a 30mm longer wheelbase, has more cabin room. It also has an all-new suspension system that Honda claims delivers a more refined and comfortable ride.
Like the new HR-V, whose platform it shares, the fuel tank in the new Jazz is in the centre, a location that according to Honda boosts versatility, practicality and space. On that score, the Jazz also features Honda’s so-called “magic seat” system. This allows the rear seats to be folded up to create a floor-to-roof loading space between the rear passenger doors, or flat to the floor for increased boot space.
Power comes from a new, more efficient 1.3-litre i-VTEC engine driving the wheels through a choice of six-speed manual or CVT auto transmissions. A hybrid version will follow later in 2015.
Despite being called “prototypes”, both the HR-V and Jazz will go on sale next year. Their arrival supports Honda UK boss Philip Crossman’s claim in our recent interview with him that Honda is springing back from the 2008 recession and a self-imposed product hiatus with new models and fresh energy.
He said: “Since the upturn, the investment has gone back in to R&D very quickly. Now, finally, it’s all coming through next year, so I think we’ll be back. We’ll come from not being in the game, to having leading-edge products.”