The world’s leftmost small car is back. This is the fourth generation, and it’s not a big spoiler to say that it’s incredibly spacious, versatile, easy to get in and out of, and inexpensive. If its predecessors are something to go through, ridiculously reliable too. As sensible as the final salary pension, many of its owners seem to be equipped.
But just to mix it up a bit, the new one has a completely new hybrid powertrain across the range. What makes the range seem tight: an engine, an output power, a transmission.
The only ball curve is the optional trim called Crosstar. Macadam angry? It is a raised suspension version, with a small amount of plastic lower body lining, roof rails, and water repellent seat fabric. Practical, without a doubt, to lower your surfboard down a stony track to a secluded beach. As will the owners.
The body for this Jazz is a bit longer than before, but it is still not as big for a supermini. What makes space a miracle. It is done by sitting tall, like an MPV. The fuel tank lives where it always was in the Jazz, under the front seats, freeing up space under the rear cushion. You can make use of that by turning the cushion up.
The dash shows, if you screw your eyes, a hint of Honda influence: an unadorned rectangle with nicely textured padding.
In the old Jazzes, the front pillar was thick, making it difficult to see. This time, the main locking structure is on the second pillar, making the front thinner and less blocking of the view. So why didn’t they just move the base of the windshield back?
The hybrid then. Honda has previous here, thanks to a thing called NSX. But this works very differently. Unlike the IMA hybrid Jazz from two generations ago.
It is the same idea as in the CR-V hybrid. Like a diesel electric train in principle: the engine drives the generator, the generator drives the engine, the engine drives the wheels. But while a train is accelerating or traveling at full speed, the car has additional adjustments to cope with many different states.
Therefore, the hybrid battery absorbs energy when the engine has a spare, so the engine (Atkinson cycle, non-turbo, 1.5 liters) can be shifted to a charging rev point where fuel efficiency is more or less optimal. For brief starts, the drive motor draws a little more from the battery.
Finally, there is a locking clutch between the engine and the wheels, for direct driving at approximately highway speeds. This slightly increases overall efficiency by avoiding the journey of electrical energy through houses. Other than that, there is no gearbox, nor is there a CVT in the conventional sense.