The Honda Jazz is a subcompact car that has been manufactured by Japanese automaker Honda since 2001. According to Wikipedia, it is known as the Honda Fit in Japan, China, and the Americas.
The Jazz was first introduced in 2001 to replace Honda’s City and Logo models. It has been characterized by its space-efficient interior packaging, allowing increased legroom and cargo space despite its small size. The Jazz is available as a 5-door hatchback and has enjoyed strong sales, especially in Europe and Asia.
The Jazz targets a wide range of demographics, from young couples to older buyers looking for an easy-to-drive compact car. Key features that attract buyers include the “Magic Seats” rear seating system which allows multiple configurations for cargo space, top-rated fuel economy, and a reputation for reliability.
In Honda’s vehicle lineup, the Jazz fills the slot of an entry-level hatchback below the Civic. It serves as an urban runabout that combines practicality and efficiency in a small, nimble package.
First Generation (2001-2008)
The first generation Honda Jazz was initially launched in 2001 in Japan and Europe, and then in 2002 in the United States as the Honda Fit. It marked Honda’s entry into the subcompact class and was available as a three-door and a five-door hatchback body style. The Jazz came with various trims and packages such as the 1.2 LS, 1.4 SE, and 1.4 ES.
For the engine options, Honda offered a 1.2 L I4 and a 1.3 L I4 petrol engine with a choice of 5-speed manual and automatic transmission. The engines produced about 83 to 88 bhp with fuel economy ranging between 35-48 mpg. The Jazz had front ventilated disc brakes and rear drum brakes along with standard safety features like dual front airbags and ABS.
The car received very positive reviews for its excellent fuel economy, peppy performance, spacious interior, versatile seating configurations, and fun driving dynamics. Many critics praised its practicality and affordability as a hatchback that could rival subcompacts. Overall the first generation Jazz was a hit and sold very well in all markets.
Second Generation (2008-2015)
The second generation Honda Jazz debuted in 2008 with revamped styling and interior. The exterior featured more rounded styling with larger windows and blacked out pillars for a “floating roof” appearance. The interior was also updated with higher quality materials and more space thanks to a new center fuel tank layout.
This generation introduced powertrain updates like a new 1.3L and 1.5L i-VTEC engine. Honda also added new model variants like the Honda Jazz Hybrid, which combined a 1.3L i-VTEC engine with an electric motor. This allowed the Jazz Hybrid to achieve impressive fuel efficiency of over 50 mpg.
Safety was enhanced on the second generation Honda Jazz with standard safety features including side curtain airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist, and Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure. optional extras included a rearview parking camera and navigation system.
Overall the second generation Honda Jazz built upon the success of the original with sleeker styling, improved interior space, new powertrains, and enhanced safety features. It continued to be a popular compact hatchback thanks to its practicality and efficiency.
Third Generation (2015-2020)
In 2015, Honda debuted an all-new third generation Honda Jazz. This generation moved to Honda’s new Global Small Car platform, which offered improvements in ride, handling, and interior space compared to the previous model.
The exterior styling received a complete redesign, with a more rounded, aerodynamic shape and redesigned front and rear fascias. The interior was also redesigned, with higher quality materials and improved rear seat legroom.
The third generation Jazz came equipped with new technology features including a 7-inch touchscreen display, rearview camera, push button start, and available Honda Sensing suite of safety technologies.
Engine options included an upgraded 1.3 liter and 1.5 liter 4-cylinder petrol engine, along with the option of a CVT automatic transmission. The 1.5 liter engine offered best-in-class fuel economy. Honda also introduced a hybrid powertrain option for increased efficiency.
Reviews praised the redesigned Jazz for its improved driving dynamics, spacious interior, and new technology features. The hybrid model also attracted interest for its low emissions and excellent fuel economy. Overall, the third gen Jazz was seen as continuing the model’s reputation as a practical, economical, and technology-focused small car. (https://www.drive.com.au/news/honda-jazz-third-generation-city-car-revealed/)
Fourth Generation (2020-present)
The fourth generation Honda Jazz launched in 2020 with an all-new exterior and interior design. According to Honda the 2020 Honda Jazz features a sleeker, sportier look with sharper character lines and bold front and rear bumpers. The cabin was redesigned for improved comfort, visibility and versatility. Total cargo capacity is an impressive 354L, thanks to Honda’s Magic Seats system.
Under the hood, the latest Jazz is powered by a 1.5L i-VTEC petrol engine paired with a CVT automatic transmission. Output is rated at 88kW and 145Nm. Fuel economy is excellent, with the Jazz sipping just 4.5L/100km on the combined cycle. The chassis delivers agile handling and a smooth, comfortable ride.
Honda Sensing active safety tech comes standard, including collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control. Higher trims add extras like blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert and an electric sunroof. There are four trim levels available: Jazz, Jazz VTi, Jazz VTi-S and Jazz VTi-L.
The 2020 update keeps the Jazz competitively priced from $18,490 drive-away. Honda continues to refine the Jazz formula, blending space-efficient packaging, fuel efficiency, safety, smart technology and driving enjoyment in an affordable light hatch.
Key Technical Specifications
The Honda Jazz has evolved through several generations with updates to its dimensions, weight, engines, fuel economy, and transmission options.
In its first generation from 2001-2008, the Honda Jazz had dimensions of 3955mm x 1695mm x 1525mm (L x W x H) and a curb weight of 940-1100kg depending on the model. It was offered with a 1.2L or 1.4L petrol engine and either a 5-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. Fuel economy ranged from 34-40mpg.
The second generation Jazz from 2008-2015 grew slightly in size to 3900mm x 1765mm x 1525mm with a curb weight of 1048-1160kg. Engine options included a 1.2L or 1.4L petrol. Fuel economy improved to 40-55mpg. Transmission choices were a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic.
In the third generation from 2015-2020, dimensions reached 3955mm x 1694mm x 1525mm and weight was 1087-1145kg. A 1.3L or 1.5L petrol engine was available with a 6-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. MPG was now 48-68mpg.
The current fourth generation Jazz launched in 2020 has dimensions of 4043mm x 1694mm x 1526mm and a weight of 1084-1171kg. It comes with a hybrid 1.5L petrol engine and CVT transmission for fuel economy of 50-62mpg.
According to Fuelly.com, real-world MPG data from Jazz owners shows an average of 36-41mpg depending on the generation and drivetrain.
Safety & Technology
The Honda Jazz comes equipped with a range of standard safety features across all models including dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Top-end variants add side and curtain airbags, vehicle stability control, hill start assist, and ISOFIX child seat anchors.
In terms of driver assistance technology, higher trim levels of the Jazz are available with Honda Sensing suite of safety features like lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and collision mitigation braking. These advanced systems can help alert drivers of potential hazards and even automatically apply brakes or steering input in certain situations (Source).
For infotainment and connectivity, the Jazz comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system on mid and higher trims, which offers Bluetooth, USB inputs, and smartphone integration. Higher variants upgrade to an 8-inch display with integrated navigation and access to connected features. A 6-speaker audio system, steering wheel controls, and rearview camera are also included on most models.
Awards & Reviews
The Honda Jazz has been highly acclaimed by automotive experts and owners alike. It has won numerous prestigious awards over the years.
Some of the most notable awards the Honda Jazz has won include:
- What Car? Small Car of the Year in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (1)
- Auto Express Small Car of the Year in 2020 and 2021
- Irish Small Car of the Year in 2020 from the Irish Motoring Writers Association
In expert test drives and reviews, the Honda Jazz consistently earns praise for its practicality, fuel efficiency, smooth ride, and nimble handling. Reviewers highlight the Jazz’s clever packaging that maximizes interior space, as well as its suite of standard safety and technology features. Many note that it feels more upscale than its affordable pricing would suggest.
Owners similarly rave about the Honda Jazz. On sites like Edmunds and Autotrader, it earns 4+ out of 5 stars on average. Owners love the spacious interior, smooth CVT transmission, ample cargo room, and excellent gas mileage. The most common compliments are about the Jazz’s reliability, comfort, and value.
Pricing & Availability
The Honda Jazz starts at around $15,990 for the base model Jazz VTi hatch in Australia, ranging up to $24,490 for the top spec Jazz VTi-LX hatch (based on 2022 pricing).
In the US, the Honda Fit starts at around $16,190 for the base LX trim, going up to $21,870 for the EX trim with navigation (based on 2022 MSRP).
The Jazz is sold at Honda dealerships across Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America. Key competitors and alternatives to consider include:
- Toyota Yaris
- Suzuki Swift
- Hyundai i20
- Kia Rio
- Mazda 2
Compared to rivals, the Honda Jazz is priced competitively and offers strong value for money given its spacious interior, fuel efficiency and reliability according to reviews (source). Used Honda Jazz models can also be found through private sale and dealerships, providing an affordable option for buyers on a budget.
The Future of the Honda Jazz
There has been some uncertainty around the future of the Honda Jazz in recent years. In Australia specifically, rising prices and declining sales have put the model’s future in doubt locally (Source). Honda has not made any official announcements yet regarding the next generation Jazz or whether it will continue to be offered in all markets.
However, there are indications that Honda plans to keep the Jazz as part of its global lineup. The redesigned fourth generation model unveiled in 2019 shows Honda’s continued commitment to the nameplate. Rumors suggest the next generation Jazz may be offered only as a hybrid model as Honda moves toward electrification (Source). Expected updates include new exterior styling, improved interior space and materials, and updated tech and safety features.
While the future is uncertain, the Honda Jazz has been an important part of Honda’s global lineup for over 20 years. With its popularity, practicality, and efficiency, the Jazz seems likely to continue on in some form. Honda may focus the model more toward emerging markets, while offering other small car models like the Civic and HR-V in regions where sales are declining. But the Jazz remains an enduring hatchback model for Honda.