Honda Jazz: first look in the metal

Published: 05 August 2008

Here are the first pictures of the all-new Honda Jazz, the follow-up to the super-clever supermini that’s been on sale since 2002. You’ll have to wait until autumn 2008 for Honda’s UK dealers to launch the Jazz, but CAR has already pored all over the new supermini to bring you a full preview of the latest mini.

So what’s the new Jazz like?

Our first impressions are that it’s an easy-to-use model – with first-rate ergonomics. You can see why so many older drivers buy the Jazz; it’s easy to  own, a cinch to get in and out of and the cabin quality is impressive.

Honda says it’s given the new Jazz a ‘big car’ feel, so although it may look similar to its predecessor, it’s longer by 55mm (to 3900mm) and wider by 20mm (to 1695mm). The wheelbase is 50mm longer, too, and a slightly wider front track is claimed to make it more agile.

Handling? On a Jazz? What about practicality?

That growth spurt has liberated even more space for drivers and passengers; Honda says rear-seat passengers will benefit from 37mm extra kneeroom, for instance. We’ve sat front and back and it feels more like a car from the class above.

Honda’s Magic Seats are back, but they’re now even easier to move around the cabin – and the rear pew still folds up like a cinema seat. The new Double-Trunk boot boasts a stowaway shelf underneath the floor, which can be moved to one of four positions in the boot; the combined space in both compartments is a massive 399 litres, more than any other supermini or mini MPVs.

Click ‘Next’ to read more of our Honda Jazz previewWhat’s the new Honda Jazz like inside?

The windscreen has been moved forward on the new Jazz, allowing thinner A-pillars and the quarterlights are three times larger than before. It’s bright and airy inside and, if you plump for EX-spec models, you get a heat-absorbing glass panoramic roof.

Elsewhere in the cabin, Honda has fitted higher-quality dashboard materials and niceties like electrically folding door mirrors and iPod connectivity (but only on higher-spec models).

And under the bonnet?

Honda has introduced two new i-VTEC petrol engines to replace the old 1.2- and 1.4-litre i-DSI units. The i-VTEC variable valve timing technology means that the 89bhp 1.2-litre engine will achieve an impressive 55.4mpg on the combined cycle and 120g/km of CO2; the 99bhp 1.4-litre is only a little way behind, with economy of 54.3mpg and CO2 of 123g/km.

Pick the 1.4 and you can spec Honda’s improved six-speed i-SHIFT automated manual gearbox. It’s a revised version of the Civic’s – which should reduce gearchange times and offer smoother shifts.  Equipping this gearbox also brings the 1.4’s emissions down to 120g/km of CO2 emissions, putting the Jazz in the UK’s £35 tax band.

Click ‘Next’ to read more of our Honda Jazz previewSo how expensive will the new Jazz be at launch?

Prices haven’t yet been announced, but there shouldn’t be too many surprises when it goes on sale in the autumn. Today’s model starts at £9200 and climbs to £12,200 – and we hear the newcomer will reflect that price range.

Standard kit includes dual front and side airbags, as well as full-length side curtain airbags. Other equipment will be confirmed nearer the launch, but not every model will have four-way adjustable steering columns.

It’s not very different, is it?

Honda’s undeniably followed a same-again recipe for the new Jazz, but it hopes to cash in on buyers downsizing to cleaner, greener small cars – without sacrificing space.

But we can’t help remembering the radical change Honda bestowed upon the Civic. The Jazz is a bit dull by comparison, but then again, why would they mess with a winning formula?

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