Saturday, January 17, 2009

Introduces 2009 Honda Jazz

In today’s climate of high petrol costs, small cars are rapidly increasing in popularity as Aussie motorists move away from large cars and SUVs to something a little more frugal.

The timing then for Honda’s Australian release of the second-generation Honda Jazz could not be more perfect, as its spacious interior, light weight and thrifty engine line-up looks to be just the thing to give cash-strapped motorists some relief at the petrol pump.

The look of the 2009 Honda Jazz may be familiar to most of you, but the sheetmetal is all new. It’s a little chunkier than the outgoing model and the front now sports an almost Civic Type R-ish visage. The tailgate is a little less squared-off than the old model too and the sides are a little more dynamic than the featureless slabs of the 1st-gen Jazz, thanks to more pronounced rear fender flaring and a few strategically-placed body creases.

The new Jazz comes in three trim levels: the base GLi with a 73kW 1.3-litre engine, the more powerful VTi which comes with an 88kW 1.5-litre inline four and side and curtain airbags; and the top-spec VTi-S, which adds a sportier front and rear bumper, side skirts, cruise control, leather steering wheel and 16-inch alloys to the VTi’s equipment.

ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution and dual front airbags are standard across the Jazz range, however you’ll need to check the box for an optional Safety Pack if you want side and curtain airbags on the GLi.

While sub-100kW power outputs wouldn’t even excite your great-grandmother, the new Jazz’s engine lineup’s biggest drawcard lies indisputably in its fuel economy. The 1.3-litre sips just 5.8 litres per 100km when equipped with the 5-speed manual, while the 1.5-litre needs just 6.4 litres to travel the same distance with the same gearbox.

The 2009 Jazz can also be optioned with a newly-developed 5-speed automatic, the only one of its kind in the compact car segment. The automatic VTi-S also gets a pair of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for rowing through the ratios.

The suspension has also undergone some changes for 2009. Steering geometry has been revised to endow the Jazz with a 9.8 metre turning circle, while new suspension bushes and a redesigned rear torsion beam improve handling.Honda Australia has made no mention of when the exact release date is, or of the pricing for the various models, but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as the information comes to hand.

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