Honda launches the all-new Jazz in India

Perceptions are very hard to change, more so when it comes to something as important for Indians as buying a new car. But, that is exactly what Honda is trying to do with the launch of the all-new Jazz today. As most of us would recall, this is Honda’s second attempt at cracking the premium hatchback segment in India, having failed miserably the first time around with the previous-generation Jazz. 

Following Honda’s ‘Flying H’ design philosophy, the Jazz impresses with its futuristic design that's sure to please one and all. Though it won’t make onlookers go ‘wow’ at first glance, it sure would keep interest levels high. Attractive styling elements abound like the sleek, wing-shaped arrangement of the headlights and grille, those prominent shoulder lines cutting across the silhouette and the funky, vertically-stacked, LED-equipped taillights. We are glad Honda chose to apply a glossy-black finish for the front grille instead of the gaudy chrome finish that other cars in the brand’s portfolio like the Brio, Amaze and City have. The Jazz is a large hatchback and looks every bit like one instead of trying to hide its visual bulk.

Unlike the previous-generation model that was offered with just a single engine and transmission combination, the all-new Jazz comes with multiple powerpack options. Under the hood, you will find either a 1.2-liter i-VTEC petrol or the popular 1.5-liter i-DTEC diesel engine. The former churns out 89 horsepower and 110 Nm of torque and is mated to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed CVT automatic. The diesel engine, paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox like the City, generates 99 horsepower and a substantial 200 Nm of torque. India is the only country right now where Jazz is available with a diesel engine. It just goes to show how serious Honda has been in making the new Jazz relevant to our market.

Jazz’s interiors share several components with the City. For instance, the entire dashboard, center console, instrument cluster and switch gear are very similar to those found in the City with some parts lifted straight off Honda’s best-selling sedan. That’s a good thing, given that City’s interiors are amongst the best in its segment. Feature list is extensive too with the Jazz boasting a handful of segment-exclusive features like a touchscreen infotainment system with in-built navigation, touchscreen climate control system and paddle shifters in the automatic variant. The awesome ‘Magic Seats’ that offered unmatched versatility and was standard in all variants of the older Jazz is now restricted to just the VX variant.

A total of 5 trim levels each - E, S, SV, V and VX, are on offer in both petrol and diesel variants. In what is becoming a silly but increasingly common practice, the automatic transmission is available as an option only with the S and V trims and not with the top-end VX trim. The prices for manual petrol variants range from INR 5.30 and 7.29 Lakhs while the diesel variants retail between INR 6.49 and 8.59 Lakhs. The two automatic variants are priced at INR 6.99 and 7.85 Lakhs. 

Despite its stellar capabilities, Honda's optimistic pricing strategy meant that the previous Jazz bombed in the Indian market. The Japanese manufacturer has corrected that mistake in the all-new Jazz with all but the top-end VX variant priced equivalent to the Hyundai Elite i20, it's main rival. But, will the prevailing perceptions change? Will the new Jazz turn its fortunes around? Will the City's runaway success have an rub-off effect on its hatchback sibling too? Let's wait and watch!

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