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Fresh-faced new Jazz

2007-10-19 08:17
Honda has released details of its new Jazz, which goes on sale in Japan this week. Will this mini-MPV continue the healthy legacy left by the outgoing model?

The Jazz, badged Fit in several international markets, has built quite a reputation for itself based on its great packaging, utility and fuel economy. The second generation model hopes to take this further with its goal to create "the ideal small car for a new age".

New Jazz promises to offer more off the same. It uses its familiar centre tank layout, a longer wheelbase and wider track to increase its interior space and practicality. This also makes the car more manoeuvreable.

And while the overall length, width and wheelbase have been extended, the Jazz is as tall as before. It retains its sharp 4.7-metre turning radius, too.

The new car's exterior appearance doesn't appear too different either, though styling, particularly at the rear, appears inspired by big brother FR-V.

But on Jazz, the repositioned front pillar has been moved forward for more interior space.

A clever interior layout with four-mode Ultra Seat and three-mode Ultra Luggage configurations allows greater utility.

With Ultra Seat's four modes, the luggage space can be extended to a length of 1.7 m with a flat floor, the passenger seat can recline fully for loading longer objects, the rear seats folded up, or with the front seat headrests removed, recline fully for a power nap.

Honda also promises storage spaces that, it says, creates a cabin with space on par with that of a mid-sized sedan.

This Jazz comes with a choice of two new engines, a 1.3-litre unit with i-VTEC and a 1.5-litre, also with i-VTEC.

The new 1.3-litre produces 73 kW and is equipped with a continuously variable transmission and new torque converter for even better fuel economy.

The bigger 1.5-litre develops 88 kW and Honda assures it will be a lively performer with plenty of torque throughout its rev range.

New electric power steering has been improved too, and is said to deliver steering that responds more directly to inputs.

While the new platform is meant to ensure higher comfort levels and improved handling, the Jazz weighs about the same as the previous model.

It does, however, have a new McPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear suspension to create the maximum loading space while providing higher comfort levels.

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