The 2017 Honda Jazz Hybrid – all set to be next ‘boy racer’
The hybrid version of the Honda Jazz, launched just yesterday by Honda Malaysia, looks set to be the next ‘boy racer’ car. That is a strong statement to make regarding a hybrid car, normally meant to be an eco-friendly vehicle that reduces the carbon footprint and saves fuel too. Well, the new 2017 Jazz Hybrid does that too, and has a rated fuel consumption of only 4.0 litres per 100 kilometres, if driven according to the rules.
However, in the build-up of the drive train of the Jazz hybrid, Honda decided to go the way of an Atkinson cycle engine that is proven to be more fuel efficient than a conventional engine, but all other conditions being equal, the overall power would suffer a bit – so in order to compensate for this, Honda put in a DOHC valve train set-up, plus its very own i-VTEC system, and this brings the horsepower back up to 110 PS, which is 10 PS less than the power in the non-hybrid 1.5 litre i-VTEC Jazz. However, in the bigger picture, the new Jazz Hybrid’s engine capacity has been upped from the outgoing Jazz’s 1.3 litre engine which was rated only at 88 PS, and combined with a 10kW IMA motor, had a combined power of just 102PS. The new Jazz Hybrid, now fitted with a 22kW motor is able to develop a combined engine power of 137 PS and 173Nm of torque.
Rewinding just a little back into the good old days when we had the Proton Satria GTi, possibly the last decent ‘boy racer’ car, we note that the Satria GTi back then was a great car to have and just about every other young man hankered for one. The Satria GTi back then had the 1.8 litre 4G93 Mitsubishi engine that was rated at 135 horsepower and 164Nm, and drive was to the front wheels through a 5-speed manual.
Going further down the path to make the Jazz Hybrid more appealing, the Honda designers decided to replace the CVT with a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) – which is computer-controlled, so they adopted this rather catchy term i-DCD, denoting ‘Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive’. Translated to the road, the i-DCD takes away the ‘rubber band’ effect of the CVT, and instantly transforms the Honda Jazz Hybrid into a ‘sporty’ car. Without a doubt, the dual clutch transmission which also has a set of close-ratio gears, provides a higher ‘fun factor’.
The dual clutch transmission on the Jazz Hybrid also has a ‘S’ mode button located conveniently next to the gear shift lever – activation of this mode is simply by pushing down on the mode button – this changes the transmission behaviour to allow the engine to rev higher before changing up, providing a more sporty driving response.
To help the driver monitor his or her driving, the Honda Jazz Hybrid has a multi-information display that can indicate the driving performance in terms of the energy flow – i.e. whether the system is charging or discharging current, the fuel consumption history, average fuel consumption, current fuel consumption, range covered, engine RPM (digital) and an Eco display that tells you how well you are driving, eco-wise. This display is also customisable to individual preferences.
The Jazz Hybrid is approximately 60 kg heavier than the standard Jazz, and although this is about the weight of one medium-sized (Asian) person, the Honda engineers did not let it rest – the overall weight distribution had been upset, in their opinion, and the engineers have re-tuned the suspension to ensure that the Jazz hybrid handles just as well. As a comparison, the Jazz Hybrid, at a kerb weight of 1,158 kg weighs in at about the same weight as the old Satria GTi.
There are a host of other great features in the new Jazz Hybrid, but you can go get a brochure or talk to a Honda sales person to provide the entire list – but with the stuff mentioned above, put in the price of RM87,800, which is the price of the Honda Jazz Hybrid (on-the-road with insurance and GST), and you will agree with my headline above.