The new city car is expected to charge Honda’s resurgences in Australia, despite a horror first half of 2014, with the brand’s sales down by 34 percent.
The 2015 Honda Jazz is powered by a 1.5L four-cylinder engine with 88kW of power and 145Nm of torque, down by 10Nm over the previous model.
Gone is the five-speed automatic, replaced with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), though the five-speed manual continues.
In automatic guise, the new Jazz is slower from standstill to 100km/h, though the manual sees slight improvements. Honda’s emphasis has been on improving fuel economy, which has dropped to 6.2L/100km for the manual and 5.8L for the CVT.
The new Jazz is built on an entirely new platform, which Honda says is lighter and more rigid, with incremental improvements – such as each door weighing 3kg less - throughout the car.
Though it measures the same as the outgoing model in height and width, it’s now 96mm longer with the extra length offering more front and rear space for occupants (up by 139L).
Its centre fuel tank layout is now wider and thinner as well, allowing the class-leading magic seat configuration to continue. The new Jazz offers four seating modes: Utility mode, tall mode, refresh mode and long mode.
The main focus for the new Jazz has been more standard features and better connectivity. A 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports and HDMI input is standard across the range.
The infotainment system can be linked to iPhone 5 and 5S and future Apple smartphones for Siri eyes free and a mobile driven satellite navigation system (ran via an app on the phone). The system will also support Android phones via a basic Bluetooth connection.
Standard features on the base VTI model include electrically adjustable door mirrors, LED projector beam headlights, cruise control, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering, 7-inch infotainment system with rear view camera, electric power steering, hill start assist, six airbags and plenty of electronic safety aides.
The mid-spec VTI-S is available as a CVT only and comes in at $19,790, with the addition of 16-inch alloy wheels, black fabric trim, electronically retractable doors mirrors, fog lamps, side skirts, electrostatic controlled climate control system and a six speaker audio system (instead of four).
The range-topping Honda Jazz VTI-L comes in at $22,490, with the addition of leather trim and heated seats, rear parking sensors, smart entry, push button start, tailgate spoiler and a rear seat fold down armrest.
The updated Honda Jazz is expected to find around 800 buyers per month, with the split being 50 percent for the base model, 30 percent for the mid-spec VTI-S and the remainder going to the top-spec VTI-L.
Honda Australia Director Stephen Collin said the new model will address the connectivity issues of the previous model as well as adding plenty of new features as standard kit. Honda will offer $16,990 driveway pricing for the base model manual.
The Japanese company expects the new Jazz to achieve a five-star safety rating, though it remains to be tested by ANCAP.