Honda’s world-first new airbag is behind the driver

2021 Honda Jazz

The fourth-gen Honda Jazz compact hatch will have a world-first centre-rear airbag that aims to help you stop butting heads in front


Honda Europe/UK has announced a novel feature of the upcoming fourth-generation Jazz compact hatch, which features an airbag that’s behind the driver.

If you’re wondering what good an airbag behind the driver can be, Honda says it’s actually to minimise ‘direct contact between the a driver and the passenger in the event of a side-on collision.’ 

Nobody needs a shoulder to die on

In a side-on collision (aka being T-boned), the lateral forces mean you move sideways and risk hitting the passenger with your upper body. Most especially your noggin, which from a purely physical perspective, is a heavy, dense object on a swivel and thus quite dangerous (insert joke about heads being dangerous if you don’t use them right). 

Honda has dubbed this the ‘centre-front’ airbag system, and it’s located in the upper seat cushion of the driver’s seat. It also says the airbag works together with an improved seatbelt tensioner and a raised armrest, and in concert the system can reduce passenger head injuries by up to 98 percent.  

Insert another joke about it not being able to prevent a figurative clash of heads – maybe a passenger mute system could be a super-luxury feature for hypercars in future.

Jokes aside, the next Honda Jazz is shaping up to be the safest compact hatchback ever, with more safety features described below. 

In the meantime, we had a sneak peek of it at the Tokyo Motorshow in October 2019, where we looked at hybrid and crossover variants of it – you can read that above.

Honda has also redesigned the rear passenger side airbags, these are also located in the seat cushion, and prevent the passengers from impacting the door and C-pillar during an accident.

All in, the Jazz has a crazy total of 10 airbags on board – a driver knee airbag (x1), steering wheel airbag (x1), front passenger dashboard airbags(x1), door side airbags (x2), side curtain airbags (x2), and the just-described i-side airbags rear (x2), and front-centre airbag (x1).

We shouldn’t forget the last time airbags made front lines – the catastrophic failures of airbags supplied by Takata back in 2016 lead to deaths around the world, including Malaysia, but luckily not Singapore even though a significant number of cars were recalled here. If you haven’t please get your car checked for recalls on this issue.

Back to the new Jazz – there’s even more safety in the form of the new car’s platform, the ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body structure, and active safety, dubbed Honda Sensing Suite (HSS). The latter includes lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, autonomous front collision mitigation, traffic sign recognition, and blind spot monitoring. 

Naturally it’s too early to talk about specific equipment levels for versions coming to Singapore, local distributor Kah Motor says there’s no indication when the car could launch here, but we’re betting late 2020 isn’t out of the question.

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.