When designing and developing the latest generation Jazz, Honda engineers took the bold step of completely reimagining the iconic model from the ground up. In the process they conceived a compelling new proposition in the compact segment: an all-new city car that combines exceptional efficiency with outstanding everyday usability, ready to meet the needs of modern consumers.
The new seamless and contemporary design evolution introduces a beautiful simplicity to the timeless shape of Jazz. Its smooth contours follow the short nose, long roof line and cabin-forward style of previous generations, to form the instantly-recognisable monoform silhouette. The result adds a new emotional appeal to the class-leading levels of comfort and practicality for which the Jazz is renowned.
To revolutionise the essence of its compact city car, Honda focused on a new design philosophy, encapsulated in the Japanese notion of 'Yoo no bi'. This recognises the beauty that exists in everyday items, which have been honed over time to make them even more beautiful and ergonomically satisfying to use for their specific purpose.
"We have developed this car as an entity that has the power to enrich the daily lives of those who use it." explains Takeki Tanaka, Large Project Leader.
The unusually smooth exterior surface treatment and sleek front face are key to achieving a sophisticated visual balance, with all the different exterior surfaces, including the C-pillars and rear combination lamps, blended together, devoid of any lines.
For the designers, creating the right visual proportions was key to creating a harmonious styling characteristic, inside and out. The overall height is reduced, which combines with a forward-leaning tailgate design to create a more compact-looking, well-balanced cabin and a reassuringly surefooted stance.
Baek Jongkuk, all-new Jazz designer, explains, “I wanted to create a car which was a “kind companion” for the owner, while maximising its usability. I did this by minimising unnecessary features and simplifying exterior lines to deliver a car which features a friendly, fresh appearance, complete with a comfortable and practical interior.”
Sleek styling enhancements, including a refined rear roof spoiler and a premium-look light cluster design, complement the dynamic Jazz shape and maintain the well-balanced profile. The spokes and rims of the hybrid aero wheels are designed to be as thin as possible, making them appear larger to complement the dynamic Jazz shape. Even the steel wheels achieve a look resembling premium alloy wheels, providing an elegant foundation for the balanced side profile.
To broaden the appeal of the model, the rugged Jazz Crosstar variant presents a more SUV-style proposition, orientated toward those with active lifestyles. The model's increased presence comes from a bold front grille design, substantial black trim and stylish side sills and roof rails. The Crosstar-specific alloy wheels, which widen towards the rim, create an increased sense of stability and enhance the overall robust visual effect.
Creating a comfortable, feel-good interior
The philosophy of 'Yoo no bi' continues in the clean, minimalist interior, wrapping utility, practicality and functionality in a simple, uncluttered ergonomic cabin. To introduce the car’s pleasing utility, durable materials such as water-repellent fabric and contemporary, soft-touch dashboard materials are applied throughout the cabin.
The uncluttered, user-focused dashboard incorporates a slim instrument panel that sweeps horizontally across the cabin, with no visor effect restricting the field of vision, further enhancing the sense of exceptional spaciousness. With Honda placing ultimate usability at the core of the design ethos, the central HMI 9-inch touchscreen and 7-inch full TFT instrument cluster – included as standard – are simple and easy to read. All convenience features and controls are easy to reach and use, contributing to a stress-free driving experience.
Adding to the refined ambience, the flat, wide centre console armrest is height-aligned with the door armrest, echoing the interior comfort levels of larger, premium cars.
Front seat occupants also benefit from Honda's newly developed body stabilising seat frame that increases comfort levels and provides greater lumbar support. The unique two-spoke steering wheel is designed to further emphasise the interior’s spaciousness, with the angle and adjustment range revised to increase comfort for all drivers. Class-leading rear seat space and increased seat padding thickness means adults can sit in the second row in comfort.
Engineering the perfect compact city car
To incorporate the new two-motor hybrid drive – which is included as standard for the first time - while retaining unrivalled spaciousness and outstanding comfort levels, new advanced structural technologies were required. The ultra-thin A-pillars that initiate the one-motion arc flowing from the bonnet to the rear fenders incorporate a number of world-first technologies, with impact stress diverted to the pillar behind. This innovation, developed in conjunction with interior and exterior designers, enabled the nose to be shortened and the cabin moved forward, allowing interior space to be maximised.
With pillar thickness halved, Jazz designers have enhanced the sense of airiness in the cabin for all occupants. An abundance of natural light is admitted through the panoramic windscreen and front quarter glass, which also provides both the driver and front seat passenger with an unobstructed, expansive field of vision. The sweeping A-pillars and a sleek door-mirror design also minimise noise and drag caused by wind turbulence and increase aerodynamic efficiency, further enhancing interior refinement.
Clever packaging – for which the nameplate has long been associated – is retained, ensuring that the Jazz features a flat floor to incorporate its practical rear magic seats. This ingenious configuration allows the seats to fold-flat or flip upright, offering optimum versatility to accommodate loads of various shapes and sizes. A wider tailgate opening and new stepless flat floor makes loading and unloading the boot easier than ever.
The next-generation hybrid Jazz, which will be available in Europe from summer 2020, will spearhead the brand's commitment to see all its car model ranges in Europe electrified by 2022. Prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
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