Honda has released a teaser image of one of the most significant debuts it will make at this month’s Tokyo Motor Show. The image is of the upcoming next generation Honda Jazz and the company has not revealed much. It’s more the car’s silhouette than anything, but if you look closely, three things are very evident. The car appears to have a slightly lower profile with a longer wheelbase, and yet short overhangs. This tells you that while the cabin is likely more roomy, the overall length will probably still stay under 4 metres – crucial for us in the Indian context. The second is that the styling appears to move away from the last car’s edgy straight lines and taller look to a more rounded and conventional proportion. The hood is longer and not as angled and the headlights are now more rounded and upswept – with a snub-nosed thick chrome grille, as seen in recent models like the Honda Civic and Honda CR-V. And thirdly, the car also seems to have cup shaped DRLs (daytime running lights) and a more horizontal and wrap-around style tail lamp cluster. And there’s a shark fin antenna on the roof.
The 4th generation Honda Jazz will make its debut at Tokyo of course, but what we will be watching out for are cues to the next generation of its sibling – the Honda City. That car may not get similar design cues, but will mimic the new Jazz in cabin space, width and wheelbase – and we expect to see all three go up. That is a strong point to consider given that the current City could do with more, better rear passenger room with a wider seat, and better legroom too. The Honda teaser for the Jazz (also known as Honda Fit in some markets) states that the new Jazz is ‘redesigned with the passenger at its heart’ and promises to ‘raise the bar in terms of comfort and driver enjoyment’. This is an indication that practicality alone will not be the car’s cornerstone, and hopefully it will also get a sporty driver dynamic.
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The company has also stated that European buyers will only get the Jazz with an advanced two-motor hybrid powertrain. Other markets will persist with either optional hybrid or petrol engines – the 1.2 litre BS6 engine for India is likely to form the mainstay of the Honda range and will be shared by the Honda Amaze sedan and WR-V too. Transmission duties will likely stay with the option of a manual and CVT auto. Honda is expected to first bring us the next generation City in the first half of 2020, and follow it up with the new Jazz later in the year. It will be interesting to see if archrival Toyota will persist with its Baleno-turned-Glanza once this car arrives (especially if Honda does bring in the hybrid as an option) or will finally consider the Yaris hatchback too for India. The Honda Jazz will continue to take on the Hyundai i20 and Maruti Suzuki Baleno as its main competitors in India.
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