4.5.2011 Honda jazz hybrid HX-T review
Following the success of the Insight and CR-Z, Honda has now added the Jazz to their IMA hybrid drive line-up. If the popularity of the conventional Jazz model is anything to go by, the hybrid version, first seen at the Paris Motor Show last year, is likely to be a familiar sight on the roads.
Sat in its airy and light cabin, the Jazz offers a solid and smooth ride making you feel like you are in a larger car. Being able to press the 'eco' button only adds to this model's attraction, though it's odd that Honda didn't shave off a few more grams to get the CO2 emissions below the symbolic 100 g/km mark.
Review by Dr Ben Lane for nextgreencar.com
Being designed for fuel economy, the Jazz is certainly not the nippiest B-segment car on the market – despite using the Insight's 1.3 litre 4 cylinder IMA drive-train and being a lighter car. Surprisingly, and a little disappointingly, when you put your foot down, there is little noticeable difference between 'sport', 'eco' and 'drive' modes, although 'sport' sounds a bit more keen. 0-60 mph is 12.3 and top speed is 109 mph – the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) transmission develops 87 bhp at 5,800 rpm and 89 lb/ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Not that it will really matter to most Jazz buyers, but the hybrid is actually over a second faster to 60 mph than its preceding petrol model.
At only 1,209 kg, the Jazz feels like a heavier car than it is due to the low down positioning of the battery pack below the rear seats. However, this is no bad thing; it felt solid and safe, and it was stable with little body roll in the corners. With smooth power steering and ABS, the Jazz is comfortable to drive both out on larger roads and nipping around town. Being equipped with Electronic Stability Program (ESP) contributes towards the firm ride.
Body style is similar to the petrol predecessor but with some slight changes, largely due to aerodynamic refinements for improved efficiency. The HX-T model tested has colour coded bumpers and wing mirrors, alloy wheels, and looks quite sporty. The continued angle of the large windscreen into the bonnet makes the bonnet very small; in fact half the engine is actually within the dashboard, which makes parking very easy. The Jazz hybrid's dimensions are: Length 3900 mm; height 1525 mm; width 1695 mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
The Jazz is a pleasure to travel in and roomy enough for 5 adults, though maybe not for long journeys. A particularly nice feature is the large front screen with pillar located quarter glasses on each side, complimented by the extended sunroof – creating great visibility and a bright and airy feel for both the driver and passengers. Although the dash and controls have a feel of quality, doors and door panels do feel and look a little flimsy and weak.
The central mpg dial looks a little last minute (as it always has), and is tricky to understand without a good sit down to consult the manual. Seats are spacious and comfortable, and fibreglass wool has been used within the body to successfully reduce ride noise. The rear 'Magic' bench seats are impressive with significant storage beneath them; and when folded down a remarkable 883 litres of boot space is revealed.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
With 104 gCO2/km, the Jazz benefits from free first year VED and only £20 annually thereafter – also with a low BIK rate if used as a company vehicle. However, Honda has missed the 100 g/km threshold for Congestion Charge exemption. Official figures for extra urban driving are 64.2 mpg, urban is 61.4 mpg and combined is 62.8 mpg – the hybrid resulting in a relatively small variation over different conditions. However, whilst testing the Jazz on a mixture of city and country roads, I managed an average of 47.9 mpg with little thought and some thorough testing which included an odd mix of hard acceleration and economical driving.
The Jazz claims the prize for being the first B-segment hybrid car; Honda has simply reused the 1.3 IMA drive-train from previous Honda hybrids in this lighter, smaller model. Regenerative braking, Start-Stop technology, improved aerodynamics including smoothed under-body have combined to drop CO2 emissions to 104 g/km – 21 grams less than the lowest emitting petrol Jazz. The Eco Assist function allows the driver to be more efficient, but it is a shame that CO2 does not drop below 100 g/km.
The HX-T model tested is top of the range, and includes touch screen sat nav, 15 inch alloys, leather seats, convenient front and rear arm rests, electric door mirrors, parking sensors, remote control locking and alarm, hands free Bluetooth and cruise control. Climate controlled air con and electrically assisted power steering work well. Changing ambient lighting of the speedo advises the driver on how their driving style is affecting fuel economy, forcing a more economical technique. The HX-T also includes the panoramic sunroof which really improves the interior, and the driving enjoyment of this attractive city car.
Model tested: Honda jazz hybrid HX-T
Body-style: 5 door supermini
Engine/CO2: 1.3 IMA petrol-electric hybrid / 104 g/km
Trim grades: HE, HE-T, HS, HS-T, HX, HX-T
On-road price: from £15,995. Test car £19,305
Warranty: 3 years / 90,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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