Honda’s perennial compact hatch is back: Hybrid model begins at S$104k thanks to VES rebates. Updated with local launch pics and first impressions for Singapore
Updated January 28, 2021 – local launch photos, first impressions, additional info, pricing
First published: January 7, 2021
One of the most popular small cars here in Singapore, the Honda Jazz compact hatchback, has debuted in its all-new fourth-generation, priced from S$98,999 with COE.
Local distributor Kah Motor unveiled the new Jazz on January 28, 2021 on Facebook Live, and in person to a small group of selected media and guests.
The fourth-gen Jazz brings hybrid power to the table for the first time, thanks to the 1.5 Luxe e:HEV model priced at S$103,999 with COE. The other two models are the 1.5 Base (entry level, S$98,999 with COE) and 1.5 Home (higher spec,S$101,999 with COE), which use a conventional 1.5-litre gasoline engine.
Note: The Jazz debuted in early January 2021 at S$95k with COE, but COE prices have risen since then and are reflected in this pricing.
Official Honda distributor Kah Motor says customers can plonk their money down now and expect delivery in May or June.
The three models on offer are the only ones for now, with the crossover-inspired Crosstar model (below) that is sold in Japan possibly to arrive at a later date.
CarBuyer first broke the news about the hybrid model being sold officially in Singapore back in September 2020, and as we noted back then, it’s the first mainstream hybrid (discounting the Legend and NSX) from Honda dating all the way back to the eighth-gen Honda Civic Hybrid (pre-2010), which at one point was the best-selling hybrid in Singapore.
The hybrid drivetrain is unique to Honda, dubbed ‘e:HEV’. There is a 1.5-litre non-turbo petrol engine which works alongside an electric motor in a unique way. The engine makes 98hp and 127Nm of torque, while the electric motor makes 109hp and 253Nm.
Unlike conventional hybrids (the Toyota Prius for example) the engine and motor do not combine their output.
At low speeds, the car operates like the Nissan Kicks e-Power, with the petrol engine providing charge to the battery only, and the motor driving the front wheels. At higher speeds the engine takes over and drives the car without input from the motor.
This allows each component of the hybrid system to maximise working where they do best: Electric for revvy, low-speed, stop-n-go traffic, and the combustion engine at higher speeds and more constant rpms.
It seems to work well: On paper, the Jazz hybrid has an official fuel efficiency of 3.8L/100km with emissions of 88g/km, comparable to the unofficial king of hybrids, the Toyota Prius (pre-facelift). Official performance figures for Singapore are to be confirmed, but Honda’s overseas figures give 0-100km/h in 9.4 seconds, with a 175km/h top speed.
This lands the car in the VES A2 band for a S$15,000 rebate, which is why the price difference between the regular car and the hybrid is only S$5,000. The enhanced VES scheme increases the rebates for cars that pollute less, such as hybrids, in 2021.
In comparison the 1.5-litre gasoline version has 121hp and 145Nm, which is less than the 130hp and 155Nm previously, and delivers fuel efficiency of 5.7L/100km with emissions of 131g/km, landing in the VES B band. That means, for the hybrid, a theoretical range of 1,052km on the car’s 40-litre fuel tank, compared to 702km for the petrol model.
On paper the hybrid thus offers the most bang for your buck as it’s also the top-spec model on offer.
There’s a high level of standard equipment across the range. All three variants have keyless entry and start, rearview camera, six airbags, a new 7.0-inch driver’s instrument display, and a new 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen system.
The latter has Bluetooth, and also plays nice with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the gasoline models have a four-speaker system, unlike the hybrid’s eight-speaker setup. Likewise, auto headlights are absent on the non-hybrid models.
The 1.5 Home and 1.5 Luxe e:HEV have automatic climate control, a leather steering wheel and shifter knobs, while the 1.5 Basic makes do with pleather, and manual aircon.
But where the hybrid draws ahead is in active safety. The updated Honda Sensing safety suite is onboard, with active cruise control, Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS, i.e. autonomous front braking), lane keeping and road departure mitigation – neither of the regular 1.5 models have these systems.
Sadly, one of the more interesting features of the Jazz isn’t here, its world-first centre-rear airbag to stop driver and passenger from butting heads when in side-on collision.
With the car only arriving in May/June, we won’t be able to test the new Jazz until then so here are some first-hand impressions from the launch.
The Jazz isn’t much larger than it was, which ties in with the compact hatch’s ethos of making more out of a small footprint. At 4,035mm long, 1,694mm wide, and 1,537mm tall, it’s only slightly bigger than the preceding model, which was 3,955mm long, the same width, and 1,524mm tall.
Honda concentrated on simplifying the design this time around, both inside and out, with clean, pared back lines and a focus on user-friendliness. One benefit which can be seen both inside and out are the A-pillars, which Honda claims is thinned down from 116mm to just 55mm for excellent visibility at a class-leading 90-degree field of vision, up from 69-degrees previous.
We sat in the cockpit of the Jazz at the launch, and it does indeed provide an extremely wide view for the driver, with the additional ‘triangle’ windows at the A-pillar bolstering visibility further.
The layout is ergonomically sound, with the digital display units both appearing clear with crisp, well-presented graphics. Honda’s switchgear is still top quality, and the cockpit has numerous spaces to store objects, including a dual-tier glovebox.
Honda claims aerodynamics are also improved, as was refinement with thicker window glass, more sound insulation in the cabin and footwell, as well as a new resin material to insulate the engine bay.
Interior space seems to be equal if not better than before, which means best in the compact hatch class and easily rivalling that of SUVs or sedans a size up. For the hybrid though, boot space has shrunk to 304-litres, which is 50-litres less than before.
It still retains lots of flexibility, though, with the seats folded down it fits 1,205-litres, and it still has the signature Ultra seats which can fold up and out of the way like an MPVs.
Regarding the Jazz’s continued ability to thrive, not just survive, in an era when the rest of the compact hatch segment has succumbed to being in the crosshairs of crossovers, CarBuyer asked the car’s Large Project Leader (aka Chief Engineer) Mr Takeki Tanaka via video conference.
He said the car has always had the elements which make crossovers popular, “The Jazz has always provided drivers with a good view, that’s also slightly elevated, and it also has lots of space and flexibility too. These points are also present in the new Jazz, and I believe that is why the Jazz continues to be popular.”