Honda Jazz launch preview: What changes you can expect in the new Jazz

The Honda Jazz facelift will be launched tomorrow. What are the likely changes in the new version? And most importantly, will Honda introduce the facelift version at a lower price?

The Honda Jazz is one car in Honda’s portfolio that’s been crawling on the sales charts. Last month, Honda of up to Rs. 1.7 lakh on the Jazz to clear inventories piled up at dealers, to make way for the face-lifted Jazz that’s being launched on August 18.

The Honda Jazz was originally launched in June 2009 with high expectations, but sadly sales of the Jazz never took off. The pricing of Rs. 6.9 lakh ex-showroom Delhi for the base variant was seen as too steep. No one wanted to pay that kind of money for a hatchback, and that too one that didn’t boast of too many features other than great space and a peppy motor. Also read: New Honda Jazz soon

honda jazz photo
Photo: The price of the new Jazz is expected to be in the Rs 6.7 - 7.8 lakh price range

So what’s new with the face-lifted Jazz? Most of the changes are primarily with the looks, but Honda could pull of a pricing coup too to make the Jazz more appealing.

Looks

Honda hasn’t changed the body shell of the Jazz in anyway. Instead it’s gone in for what they call a “minor model change”, which includes subtle design changes to freshen the look of the car. The headlamps for instance are different and are more sharply raked. The grille too gets a fresh look, while there is a change in the front bumper design as well. The integrated fog lamps in the bumper too are different. Also see: New Honda Jazz photo gallery

In profile, there are hardly any noticeable changes to the car. At the rear, there is a subtle change to the bumper and the rear tail-lamp lenses get a slightly different treatment. Otherwise the car looks largely the same, externally.

On the interiors, there’s a difference in the color scheme. The plastics used are darker and there are chrome rings around the AC vents, with orange backlighting for the instruments.

Honda’s magic seats for the Jazz still remain in place. These seats offer flexibility of space, folding flat for luggage loading and also in 60:40 split. The new Jazz will also allow the rear seats to be reclined for better comfort for rear passengers.  Boot space of 366 litres remains the same, making the Jazz the hatchback with the largest boot in India.

Safety features such as ABS, EBD and dual airbags will be standard on the car.

Engine and suspension

Honda will likely offer the new Jazz with the same 1.2 litre iVTEC petrol motor of the present model that produces 89 bhp of max power and 110 Nm of max torque. There was speculation that Honda may squeeze a 1.5-litre engine (from the City) into one variant of the Jazz, but that’s not likely. To benefit from Indian excise norms, Honda has had to keep the petrol engine to below 1.2 litres.

However, there will be some changes to the suspension set up making it slightly stiffer and a much better handler than before. In international markets, Honda has a CVT transmission for the Jazz, and the company could launch the automatic variant in India too this time around.

Pricing

The biggest surprise could come in the pricing of the Honda Jazz. Over the past few months Honda has been increasingly working with local vendors to increase localization content in its cars. This will help it to bring its cost of production down, and in essence, lower the prices of its cars. It managed to slash prices on the Honda City a couple of months back by up to Rs. 66,000 due to increased local content, and this helped sales jump back.

With the Honda Jazz, keeping in mind that discounts of up to Rs. 1.7 lakh were offered to clear stocks, we can expect the new car to be at least Rs. 1 lakh cheaper than the older one, to make it more competitive.

We expect prices of the new Honda Jazz to start at just about Rs. 5.9 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi .  Watch this space for more news on the 2011 Honda Jazz when it rolls out tomorrow.