Three driving modes are available, allowing drivers to choose between running on the engine, the motors or a combination of the two. Regenerative braking functionality features, sending charge to the battery pack under deceleration.
The Jazz is the first in Honda’s current line-up to go hybrid-only, with other models soon to follow suit. Honda announced last year that all of its combustion-engined models in Europe will be offered with hybrid powertrains by 2022.
The firm said: “Honda will expand the application of its i-MMD dual-motor hybrid system, with the introduction into smaller segment cars an important first step.”
Currently, the only model it offers as a hybrid is the CR-V, which indirectly replaced a diesel variant of the compact SUV. Petrol variants are also sold. Honda UK has seen great success with the CR-V Hybrid, which accounts for 55% of the model’s sales.
Following the arrival of the hybrid Jazz in spring this year, the next electrified model will be the Civic in 2021. The next-generation Accord, due to launch in Japan imminently, will also be a hybrid.
Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo confirmed at last year’s Tokyo motor show that all future electrified Hondas would be sold under a newly-created e:Technology sub-brand. All models powered by Honda’s two-motor hybrid system will be called e:HEV. For example, the Jazz’s full name is Jazz e:HEV.
Honda UK sales boss Phil Webb said the maker will launch a campaign to help educate on the hybrid Jazz given the older age of many of its loyal customers. He predicts a dip in sales when it first arrives on roads in summer, but anticipates it will bounce back to between 18,000 and 20,000 units annually in the UK.
The new Jazz must remain familiar enough to appeal to those loyal owners, while also bringing in new people to Honda’s entry-level model.
The styling is a minor evolution over the previous model. The space-maximising upright profile and tall glasshouse remains – allowing for a load capacity of up to 1203 litres with the rear seats folded – but with more curved lines and redesigned lights, bumpers and bonnet. One notable feature is the split A-pillars, designed to increase forward visibility. The windscreen wipers have also been hidden below the top of the bonnet line.
Honda claims the new Jazz’s seats offer comfort similar to that of a premium saloon. The rear seats are said to retain the flexibility of previous Jazz’s in how versatile they are. The forward cabin design is a simple one, with clean lines and a touchscreen mounted in the centre console.
Honda will offer, on both the Jazz and Honda e, its latest My Honda+ smartphone app, which includes remote vehicle lock and unlock, Intelligent Geofencing which alerts an owner if the vehicle breaches a pre-set ‘geofence’ zone, and the ability to send journey information from the app to the car’s navigation system.
Infotainment and connectivity features can be activated using voice commands, with Honda’s so-called Personal Assistant, which was first seen on the Honda e.
The maker claimed the system assesses voice inputs with “a level of complexity beyond the capabilities of other voice-activated virtual assistants”. It is capable of understanding multiple requests, for example: “OK Honda, find me an Italian restaurant with free parking, WiFi, that is open now.” Suitable options would display on the touchscreen before plotting the best route to the chosen location and displaying it on the navigation screen.