2019 Tokyo motor show: Honda’s Jazz grows up



The fourth-generation Honda Jazz reveals how the popular hatchback is set to go beyond basics

Honda’s big news at Tokyo concerned a small car. Chief executive Takahiro Hachigo kicked off the day’s press events by unveiling the new Fit, better known to us as the Jazz.

An immensely important car to Honda, the Jazz has found 7.5 million buyers since 2001.

The fourth generation car plays on the strengths of the popular hatch, with compact dimensions but a roomy interior, complete with a flip-up rear seat that gives it a dash of extra versatility over rival city cars.

Mr Hachigo suggested that Honda put extra effort into this one. “We developed this vehicle not merely as a means of transportation for our customers,” he said, through an interpreter. “We strived for a vehicle which will become a part of our customers’ daily lives and make their daily lives more comfortable and enjoyable.”

While still a five-door hatch, the Jazz has changed in one material way: the A-pillar is now split (a la the Citroën Picasso), which should give a great view of the road ahead from the driver’s seat.

At home at least, Honda is offering the Fit/Jazz in five trim levels: 

  • Basic – A barebones version offers what Honda calls “a simple and endearing design, including a front face design with a gentle look and seamless and flowing exterior form”.
  • Home – This variant coordinates colors and materials for a relaxing setting, including natural-looking fabric seats made with high-quality materials, according to Honda. It also has a genuine leather-wrapped steering wheel and soft padding.
  • Ness – Aimed at sporty types, it has what Honda says is an “exciting” colour scheme, and the seats have water-repellent materials with soft padding for the instrument panel. Honda says the Fit Ness (see what they did there?) is for people to enjoy driving like they enjoy fitness and sports.
  • Crosstar – This version is supposed to make the Jazz look compact but tough. It has the same water-repellent seats and soft padding of the Ness, and 16-inch alloys with rugged cladding for the body.
  • Luxe – Specced to the max, the Luxe model is meant to be the most elegant and comfortable Jazz. Standard leather seats were designed as an exclusive feature for the Luxe variant, and the exterior gets platinum-style chrome plating and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The Jazz’s appearance at the Tokyo show amounted to an early glimpse of the car. Honda is only putting on sale in Japan in February next year, but intends to roll it out as a global model.

The Jazz will also be available with Honda Sensing system, the suite of active safety features that you’ll find on the latest Accord.

Given the early appearance, Honda was silent about the drivetrain options, but CEO Hachigo did say that the hybrid version has a new system with two electric motors. Honda also used the occasion to unveil a new naming structure for its more eco-minded cars: “e:Technology”. Thus, the Jazz with e:Technology hybrid stuff under the bonnet will be called the e:HEV (for “hybrid electric vehicle”).

The musical form of jazz is intricate and complex, but it looks as if its four-wheeled namesake is about to be, too.

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Leow Julen
Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 25 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.