February saw the UK launch of the Honda Jazz Hybrid, and a bunch of scribblers were invited to a swanky hotel in Wiltshire where this newcomer was put to the test. Having driven the Honda Insight some years ago, this new Jazz hybrid has come a long way. For starters, the Jazz looks normal, not like some deformed sardine tin, and the new model is sure to attract a lot more interest in the market.
The clever Jazz Hybrid starts and runs like any other normal car, but get it up to operating speed and the glow behind the dials gradually changes from a blue shade to a pleasing green, which signifies that you are now running on the electric motor and that you are now frightfully environmentally friendly.
Despite being the first B-segment Hybrid in the world, Honda told us that they want to make the Hybrid like just another model in the Jazz range, and thereby bringing hybrid technology into an existing range. Currently the average Jazz buyer is 62 years of age, but the Hybrid will also appeal to the younger family because of the fuel savings, and with its wide opening doors access to the cabin is as easy for the very young as it is for the car’s older customers.
The Jazz Hybrid emits 104 g/km and Honda were quick to point out that their goal was never to drop this figure below the magical 100 g/km mark which was tantalisingly close. Their reason for this is because the Jazz is a global model and the 100 g/km emissions figure is not a required target in all markets. To meet this target Honda would have had to dispense with the ‘magic seats’ which fold into the floor in order to make space for additional battery capacity, a move that would have lost them valuable sales in markets where this interior feature is a big draw card.
The Jazz is the biggest selling Honda model in the UK and to date the company has sold 3.5-million Jazz cars worldwide. The CVT option that we drove certainly makes the Jazz an easy car to get to grips with, delivering a smooth drive both in town and on the open road.
Also on offer was the new Accord model, but driving impressions on that are embargoed until the end of the month, so you will have to wait until then I’m afraid. However we can bring you images of this new model.