Honda's Supermini Gets Even Better

The popular Honda Jazz has been given a refresh, with a range of enhancements to both the looks and driving dynamics. The revised Jazz range, which will include a hybrid model, goes on sale in the UK on 1 February 2011, with prices starting from £11,295 for the 1.2 S model and £15,995 for the Hybrid variant in HE trim.

The challenge for Honda's engineers was to freshen and improve the car without compromising on the characteristics that make the Jazz so popular. But by enhancing the car's strongest qualities, Honda has taken the Jazz on to the next stage, producing a car with greater flexibility, better looks, increased ride comfort and improved eco credentials.

While the revised car is just as cleverly packaged, fresh styling gives the Jazz a new appearance. New front and rear bumpers are the main parts to have influenced the look of the car. These have also been designed to reduce drag as the airflow passes over the Jazz's body and to avoid turbulence when the airflow detaches from the rear. These styling improvements aid aerodynamic efficiency on all Jazz models helping the Cd figure to fall from 0.336 to 0.330.

Welcome back CVT

Constantly variable transmission, more commonly known as 'CVT', first appeared in the previous Jazz range and due to overwhelming customer demand Honda has brought it back along with a few clever improvements.

The CVT is an automatic transmission that keeps the engine in a rev range where the car is most efficient. As well as ensuring the whole power train of the Jazz is more efficient, it also offers the driver a smooth and effortless journey.

The CVT transmission is a standard feature on the Hybrid while it is available as an option on 1.4 litre petrol models, where, thanks to the improvements, it now matches the economy and emissions of the outgoing Jazz i-SHIFT, with a CO2 value starting at just 125g/km.

High specification and flexible cabin

Leather upholstery makes a very welcome appearance for the first time in the Jazz range. Along with the addition of chrome rings defining the air vents, instruments and climate controls across the dashboard, the leather trim gives a whole new premium feeling to the interior of the car and is an important option for customers downsizing from larger vehicles from other sectors. Leather seats are standard on the Jazz Hybrid in HX trim and available as a £1,250 option on the 1.4-litre petrol EX model.

Another change across the range is a new darker dashboard material which contrasts strongly with the orange and blue back lighting of the dials, gauges and displays across the dashboard. The orange backlighting colour is unique to the petrol powered variants, while the Hybrid version uses the blue lighting to differentiate the model from the rest of the range.

The Magic Seats, famed for their flexibility and multiple seating and cargo-carrying configurations - are now even better with the addition of a reclining rear seat. The rear seats can now recline 73mms to increase rear passenger comfort.

Engine range expands with the introduction of hybrid technology

The established 1.2-litre and best-selling 1.4-litre i-VTEC petrol engines remain in the Jazz range and to compliment the launch of the Hybrid variant, these two petrol engines have benefited from some small reductions in CO2 values and improved fuel economy. The 1.4-litre manual variant with manual transmission has emissions starting at 126 g/km down from 128 g/km and uses 51.4mpg on the combined cycle. The fuel sipping 1.2 litre engine uses 53.3mpg and also drops two grams of CO2 to 123g/km.

The Jazz Hybrid is an ultra-efficient car with a combined fuel consumption figure of 62.8 mpg - and with the same super-smooth electric system as the Insight, even more fuel is saved around town. While a CO2 output of just 104g/km makes the Jazz Hybrid the lowest of any automatic car in the B-segment.

Improved ride comfort and handling

The suspension on the 2011 Jazz features revised settings to increase ride comfort and improve handling. Already well respected for its lightness and manoeuvrability around town, the Jazz benefits from improvements to steering feel at higher speeds. Thanks to this continuous improvement the revised model has a much firmer, positive steering feel as speeds increase to inspire a confident driving experience.

All Jazz models, including the Hybrid version, share new sleek, projector style headlights adding to the sportier look. There are four new colours available across the petrol range - Azure Blue, Polished Metal, Urban Titanium and Ionized Bronze. The Hybrid version also benefits from Azure Blue plus two new colours - a vibrant Lime Green Metallic and Taffeta White.