Thursday, August 21, 2008

Honda Malaysia launches 2nd-generation Jazz

Honda Malaysia unveiled its new Jazz to the public today at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The launch was a full regalia affair, complete with models and fashion show presentation, and certainly played on the car’s “Defy Convention” tagline.

The second-generation Jazz, known as the Fit in Japan, boasts a newly developed 1.5l SOHC i-VTEC engine mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox, and figures for this one are a maximum power of 120bhp at 6,000rpm and maximum torque of 145Nm at 4,800rpm, supposedly the most powerful in its class. The vehicle is claimed to be frugal in terms of fuel consumption at around 24km/l based on the Jazz in Japan.

It’s a bigger vehicle than its predecessor – the width (1,695mm) and length (3,900mm) of the car, as well as wheelbase, has been increased, without compromising vehicle handling and performance, fuel efficiency, practicality and styling.

Outside, the shape of the five-door hatch isn’t radically changed from its predecessor; the lines are curvier and on the whole flows far more fluidly than before. Nonethless, working on the basis of the ‘if it isn’t broken’ adage, whatever changes there are are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Inside though, there are plenty of refinements; the vehicle’s interior designers deserve credit for packing this one with all sorts of amenities and storage convenience for the occupants, 380l of it in all. Almost every nook and cranny of the cabin has storage pockets, and in what must be a record of sorts, 10 cup holders are available on this one to keep passengers fully hydrated.

Load carrying ability is big with this one, despite its size. With the three-mode folding Ultra Seat, the seating can be arranged to offer a number of flexible options - lower both rear seats and you can store up to 1,321l of volume capacity in the available space; recline the front passenger and a rear seat and you get 2.4m of usable length for long objects; and if it’s tall stuff you need to move about, fold up a rear cushion and the workable height becomes a decent 1.28m from floorboard to roof lining.

In terms of safety, you get dual SRS airbags for the driver and front passenger, plus front seatbelt with pretensioners and load limiter. The Jazz features disc brakes throughout and there’s ABS, EBD and BA (Brake Assist) to boot. Elsewhere, the suspension type is McPherson strut fronts and a H-shape torsion beam rear, and the car comes with a tilt/telescopic-adjustable steering.

Fully imported from Thailand, the Jazz is available in two variants – the Grade S and Grade V; the former is a standard version, whereas the V derivative comes equipped with Modulo accessories and extra features.

These are sportier-looking front and rear bumpers, side sill garnish, a different front grille, 16-inch alloys (the Grade S features 15-inch wheels), dual-mode paddle shifters and audio control buttons on a leather steering wheel, indicators on the retractable side view mirrors, cruise control and an exhaust finisher. And a full black interior as opposed to the Grade S’ blue black.

Additionally, a further Modulo accessories package is available for the Grade V; this is made up of a tailgate spoiler, fog lights, illuminated side step garnish, alloy pedals, interior foot light and trunk tray, and it’s yours for an additional RM3,000.

The Jazz is available in four colours – Taffeta White, Crystal Black Pearl, Alabaster Silver Metallic and Cerulean Blue metallic. Aimed at both a male and female audience in the 25 to 39-year-old age group, Honda Malaysia is targeting to sell 200 units of the Jazz monthly in the first year.

The Jazz Grade S is priced at RM104,800, while the Grade V goes for RM109,800. If you plug for the Grade V with the additional Modulo accessories package strapped on, then it’s RM112,800 (all prices on-the-road, with insurance).

For more info on the all-new Jazz, head on to