Honda will soon add a little zing to its premium hatchback Jazz by launching it with a more powerful 1.5 litre i-Vtec engine, targeting customers interested in performance hatchbacks in India.
According to a Team-BHP member, the production of the current Jazz model in India has been stopped by the company and the new model will arrive in June 2011. The new Jazz will likely have minor changes on the exterior, though no major changes have been confirmed.
The 1.5 litre i-Vtec engine expected on the Jazz is already used in the Honda City; it churns out 118 bhp of peak power at 6,600 rpm and 146 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm. This engine is known for its refinement, fuel efficiency (around 16 km/litre), peppy performance and quick acceleration. Putting in the 1.5 litre engine in the Jazz will help the hatch set benchmarks in performance and fuel economy. Also read: Honda production cut at Greater Noida plant
The price of the car however will increase substantially as the new engine capacity will exceed the Indian government’s eligibility for small cars and will attract higher taxes. As per the government rules, cars which are under 4 meters must be equipped only with engines of a maximum capacity of 1.2 litres for petrol motors and 1.5 litres for diesel motors.
The Jazz is spacious car with good quality interiors and decent equipment levels. It was initially priced high, as a result Honda chased away several potential customers and most found that the Honda City was a wiser option. Honda reduced the prices after sales figures turned out to be disappointing but it was already too late and the Jazz failed to hold its own. The new Jazz however will not be able to pull volumes for Honda since it will continue to be overpriced. The Jazz’s high prices were the reason for poor sales and it seems that Honda has failed to tackle this issue yet again.
In August 2010, Honda refreshed the Jazz and launched a new variant dubbed the ‘Jazz X’ at a price of Rs. 7.53 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The Jazz X was equipped with many new features like, new 5 spoke alloy wheels, music player with USB interface, blue-black dual tone interiors, parcel tray (shelf), height adjustable driver seat and fog lamps.
Honda is also planning to launch the Brio sometime in September 2011 and might position it at a price point of Rs. 5 lakh. The Jazz would continue then as a premium hatchback with a price tag of Rs. 8 lakh. To ensure the divide between its own vehicles is well defined the company will offer the Brio with a 1.2 litre i-Vtec engine and the upcoming Jazz with a 1.5 litre i-Vtec engine. With a powerful engine and higher price tag, Honda Jazz may rope in buyers who presently only have the Volkswagen Polo 1.6 and Fiat Punto 90 hp in the performance-hatch segment. Related: Honda Brio India launch in September 2011