With the addition of the Honda Jazz Hybrid model, the rest of the Jazz model range has been given some styling and detail changes to enhance its already strong B-segment credentials.
Over 500,000 customers have felt the benefits of the innovative sector crossing Honda Jazz and the latest changes to the range will only enhance the experience. The focus has been on maintaining the key customer benefits of flexibility, practicality and reliability and enhancing fuel economy, emissions, ride comfort and style.
One of the biggest changes is the return of the CVT transmission to the Honda Jazz range with the first European use of a different form of variable transmission. The CVT in the Honda Jazz has been enhanced by fitting a torque converter to the gearbox, giving increased efficiency and improved control at low speeds.
The use of a slope sensor allows the box to decide when the car should gently creep forward and when it should not, helping the driver retain maximum control. The CVT-based transmission proved very popular in the previous generation of the Honda Jazz and its return was prompted by requests from loyal customers who enjoyed its smooth shifting characteristics and ease of driving.
This gearbox is different to the one used in the Honda Jazz Hybrid model, which because of its different requirements does not adopt a torque converter unit.
The CVT gearbox is equipped with paddle shifters on the rear of the steering wheel, giving the driver manual control. When used in "D" mode the paddles can bring the car into a lower ratio, for a "kickdown" effect, with the box returning to automatic shifting afterwards. When the paddles are used in "S" mode they give full manual control over the selection of ratios, for acceleration or engine braking. The manual gearbox remains unchanged, with the five speed unit being ideally matched to the economy and emission requirements of the car.
Exterior changes have made to the car, both to enhance the appearance of the car and reduce the drag coefficient to improve fuel economy. The front and rear bumpers are the main area where aesthetics and aerodynamics have both influenced the new look of the car. These have been designed to reduce drag as the airflow passes over the Honda Jazz's body and avoid turbulence as it detaches from the rear.
The grille and front lights have also been tweaked to give a fresh face to the 1.2 and 1.4 litre versions of the car. The rear lights have also been changed, incorporating a larger area of red in the lenses and further distinguishing the pure petrol cars from the Honda Jazz Hybrid. Two new colours join the Jazz range for 2011 with a lustrous Deep Sapphire Blue and Ionized Bronze which is a metallic brown colour to compliment the revised lines.
Inside the most noticeable change is the adoption of a darker dashboard material in a single colour, which is combined with a new seat fabric to enhance the ambience of the cabin. Dash lighting is now unified in a single orange colour, which provides a strong contrast with the darker dashboard. Chrome rings now define the air vents, instruments and climate control display (where fitted). For the first time in the European Honda Jazz, leather seats are available as a factory fitted option.
One of the most distinctive elements of the currentHonda Jazz and a key factor in its popularity is the Magic Seats design acclaimed for its flexibility and multiple seating and cargo-carrying configurations. The new Jazz not surprisingly retains the arrangement but is now even better with the addition of a reclining function. This new feature offers the customer an even greater level of flexibility, increasing comfort and complimenting the excellent leg and headroom for rear seat passengers.
The rear seats of the Honda Jazz fold completely flat, giving a very low boot floor, this is only possible due to the Honda centre tank layout, which is shared with the European Civic. The bases of the seats drop down into the space normally filled with the fuel tank, which is located under the front seats freeing up usable space in the rear. The front seats don't need to be slid forward to give the rear seat sufficient clearance as it is folded down. Instead, even with the front seats in their rearmost position, the 60:40 split rear seats with their retractable headrests can be collapsed in a simple 'one-motion' dive-down action by means of a lever located on the outside shoulder of the seat.
In 'Utility Mode', Honda Jazz offers a perfectly flat load floor, a maximum 1720 mm in length, sufficient to swallow three 26 inch mountain bikes with front wheels still attached, stood upright. The actual surface area equates to two large and two extra-large Samsonite suitcases laid flat; similarly, three golf bags can be laid lengthwise. With the larger rear seat portion alone collapsed, there is sufficient space and length to accommodate a surfboard laid flat; or two 26 inch mountain bikes stood upright. The available load length is even greater in 'Long Mode' where the front passenger seat is slid fully forward and its seatback fully reclined - opening up a 2.4 m long load space. With seats folded the Honda Jazz boot capacity increases to 1320 litres of space when measured to the roof and excluding the underfloor storage.
To return the rear seats to a seating position, you simply lift the assembly back up; the seat bottom remains locked to the seat back and is simply released by pulling up the leg frame and the seat bottom folded down.
This locking seat base action adds further innovation and Honda Jazz's unique offer, since in 'Tall Mode' the seat bases can be left raised and locked against the seat backs, creating a second load area between front and rear seats capable of holding a variety of objects up to 1280 mm in height, such as tall plants, two mountain bikes with their front wheels removed, a folded wheelchair, and all manner of other items. And since the rear doors now open wider, it is even easier to make full use of this feature.
The same levels of innovation are found in the luggage bay of the new Honda Jazz which still offers a class-leading capacity that betters some B-segment compact MPVs.
Beneath the boot floor lies a secondary storage compartment and on 1.4 models the provision of an emergency tyre repair kit in place of a space-saver spare wheel frees up this space, adding an extra 64 litres to give an exceptional load capacity of 399 litres (VDA) compared to the 380 litres of the previous generation Honda Jazz (9 litres of underfloor storage with space saver wheel).
The practical Double-Trunk boot system is fitted to 1.4-litre Honda Jazz models with tyre repair kit, giving owners greater convenience and perfectly complementing the Magic Seats arrangement.
In 'Regular Mode', the under floor storage area is concealed by a 100 kg-capacity double hinged panel. This panel can be folded against the rear seats in 'Tall Mode' to make use of the full depth of the load space enabling particularly tall objects to be carried.
Alternatively, rather than folding the complete panel against the rear seat backs, its rear half can be raised into a horizontal position, and can be supported by fixtures in the load bay sides, to create a mid-height storage shelf and effectively separating the luggage space into upper and lower sections - the so called 'Upper/lower Mode'. The net contained within the upper panel is perfect for carrying irregularly shaped objects that won't sit flat.
The 230 mm deep under floor space is ideal for storing sports gear or raincoats and umbrellas and once the lid is on, it keeps dirty objects separate from other luggage.
A load lip 605 mm from the ground makes for easy loading and unloading.
Finally, a useful shopping bag hook is located just inside the left hand side of the luggage bay.
The suspension on the Honda Jazz has revised settings to increase ride comfort and improve handling. To compliment the improved ride comfort, the revised model has been further improved with additional resistance to improve "on-centre" feel giving greater drivability.
To compliment the launch of the Jazz Hybrid model, the conventionally powered Honda Jazz has also had some small reductions in CO2 values and improved fuel economy. The new CVT gearbox has matched the economy and emissions of the previous i-Shift 1.4-litre model, with a CO2 value below that of the manual model at just 125 g/km. The 1.2-litre engined car, now emits just 123 g/km of CO2 and uses 5.3 l/100km of petrol. The larger 1.4 engine range has emissions starting at 126 g/km with 5.5 l/100km fuel economy on a combined cycle.