Honda’s second generation of the cute but practical Jazz is certainly tuned in to the latest market trends in the Australian car buying market.
Echoing a common theme of car manufacturers these days the second generation Jazz has evolutionary styling and packaging that builds on the very successful first-generation car, which has sold more than 2.5 million units worldwide.
The changes are subtle and the new Jazz hits the market with the same model line-up, GLi, VTi and VTi-S, as the previous car. In another ‘what’s changed’ move the opening price of $15,990 for the five-speed manual Jazz GLi remains unchanged.
There’s a choice of five-speed manual or automatic through out the range and for reason best explained by Honda Australia Senior Director Lindsay Smalley the car eschews the CVT transmission which is on offer in Europe and Japan.
Mr Smalley explained at today’s simultaneous media and on-sale launch that it was Honda Australia’s belief that local customers preferred the driving experience of a full-automatic over the stepless approach of the CVT transmission.
The decision also allows Honda Australia to configure the car with more powerful engines, 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre, than are on offer with the CVT.
The downside is that Honda has not yet developed Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), it’s acronym for the all-important ESC, to work with the more powerful engines and automatic transmission so we will not see this important safety feature in the Honda Jazz in Australia in the immediate future.
Mr Smalley told CarAdvice that “Japan R&D is working as quickly as possible to develop the VSC to work with our engines.”
Mr Smalley emphasised that Honda had gone for a more sporty driving experience with the new Jazz, wanting to enhance its appeal with a younger market and to broaden the market as the Australian market more widely embraces smaller cars.
The new Jazz is a much more driveable car with sharper handling, more dynamic feel and more responsive engines.
The downside of not using the CVT transmission is slightly increased fuel consumption, but again Mr Smalley defended this saying that “ real-world experience meant the manual/auto choice in Australia is line-ball with the CVT.