PETALING JAYA, July 1 — Honda Malaysia will be launching the all-new Honda Jazz in Malaysia mid-July, and the new model is expected to create some excitement with its new looks. A short preview and ‘teaser’ drive in Hua Hin Thailand, was arranged by Honda Malaysia for a small group of motoring media last week.
In terms of looks, it certainly is better than the outgoing model — it has the right proportions, and will appeal to the younger set. While sedans are preferred by the ‘family’ types, the Jazz, being a hatch, will be a viable alternative to those who want a more exciting shape.
Although I would call it a hatch, the Honda Jazz is more like a cross-over because it is a mix between a hatch and a MPV. This configuration will be ideal for Honda to pick up the Perodua Myvi ‘upgraders’ who want a slightly larger vehicle as a replacement when it is time for a change.
Interestingly, the Toyota Vios and the Nissan Almera are also targeting the same buyers, but the good news is Honda now will have the Jazz hatch in addition to the City sedan. In fact, the Jazz enjoys a somewhat unique position of having no competition in its class.
The Honda Jazz will be assembled in Malaysia, and although the prices are yet to be firmed up, it is expected that there will be a few variants, with prices closely mirroring the Honda City range. My guess is that we will see a prices ranging from RM75k to RM95k, depending on specification levels.
The new Jazz will be powered by the same 1.5 litre I-VTEC SOHC engine that is found in the recently launched Honda City, and the transmission will also be the same CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission). Likewise, the suspension would be a carry-over from the City, with perhaps stiffer rear damping to cater for the different body configuration. Just as a point in passing, the Honda Jazz and the Honda City share the same base platform, so most of the drive train and suspension components will be shared. Both from a consumer and manufacturer’s point of view, shared components imply easier availability of parts.
Our test drive covered approximately 180 kilometres, and each of us got to drive approximately 60 kilometres and be a passenger in the front and rear for the rest of the time. My quick impressions are that the Honda Jazz feels much like a Honda City — it rides well, and although we hardly had any corners on our test route, it felt secure enough for me to assume that it will handle just as well as the Honda City. Fuel economy will be about the same as the Honda City too. In a nutshell, the Jazz is not a vehicle one would have any concern about.
Honda showrooms around the country are open for bookings for the new Honda Jazz, and as usual, the early birds will be the ones getting their Jazz first.