First drive of new Honda Jazz hybrid

By RIZAL JOHAN | 4 October 2017

The launch of the new facelifted Honda Jazz in June marked the return of the hybrid variant along with the three petrol variants – S, E and V with prices ranging from RM74,800 to RM88,400 while the new Jazz hybrid is priced at RM87,500 (prices are on-the-road with insurance).

The Jazz Hybrid was last introduced on our shores back in 2012 and now, the latest hybrid fetures an Atkinson cycle 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine and a new transmission known as the Sport Hybrid i-DCD system which consists of a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox with an integrated electric motor, a lithium ion battery, an electro servo brake system for energy regeneration and an electric driven compressor.

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The i-DCD stands for Intelligent Dual-Clutch Drive.

The engine alone produces 109hp and 134Nm of torque while the combined output with the hybrid system produces 135hp and 170Nm of torque. As such, the Jazz hybrid produces an output equivalent to a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated engine.

The new i-DCD system replaces the previous Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system and the lithium ion battery system has twice the power output and 1.5 times its energy capacity while also being lighter and more compact in size.

Some of the unique features in the hybrid version includes the purpose-built instrument panel with hybrid displays for energy flow, Sport meter and Eco display.

READ MOREFirst drive of new Honda City hybrid
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And you won’t miss the space-age design of the gear selector in the centre console.

Interestingly, the new gear selector lets you switch between Reverse, Neutral, Drive and L for low gear with two buttons for P (park) and S (sporty shift logic which disengages EV mode).

This means you do not have the option of shifting gears manually but this only applies to the Jazz hybrid as the Honda City hybrid (the other hybrid option in the Honda stable) which has the same gear selector unit comes with paddle shifters for manual control.

Now I did miss having paddle shifters on the Jazz only because it would have added a sporty appeal to the overall package.

However, this seven speed dual-clutch transmission is unlike other dual-clutch units I have experienced.

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The gears do not climb as fast for a dual clutch system but is more exciting compared to the CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic units found on the petrol variants which simply drones the whole way through.

As such, the Jazz hybrid does embody the best of both worlds between new and old automobile technology as it gives you the traditional sensation of a shifting gearbox unit while being more efficient with mileage and restricting emissions through the use of the electric motor.

The latter is evident as the Jazz hybrid starts up using the electric motor before either combining it with the combustion engine or depending on the combustion engine completely for certain situations.

This method eliminates cold starts which emits higher levels of emissions.

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For the outstation drive, members of the media set off from Kuala Lumpur and headed to Kuantan, Pahang and then to Kuala Dungun, Terengganu.

There were three to a car with luggage and the car never felt underpowered throughout the hilly climbs of the Karak highway.

Having the option to turn on cruise control on the highways is a plus too. It offers a quiet drive with very low levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

Overall, the Jazz hybrid was a fun compact car to drive and it feels more balanced which can be attributed to the weight of battery unit under the boot.

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I found the petrol variant to be a little light in high speed situations. We drove through B-roads and the Jazz handled well in those situations too. What I really liked about the Jazz hybrid is that it retained the functionality of space by folding the rear seats and the front passenger seat flat.

Putting the battery under the boot was a wise decision indeed as this still allows the Jazz to carry long and tall objects in the car.

If you are after a hybrid car, then the new Jazz hybrid is the most affordable you can find in Malaysia right now.
Honda Malaysia offers a 5-year warranty with unlimited mileage at 10,000km service intervals and an 8-year warranty for its lithium-ion battery on top of it.

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Honda Jazz Sport
Hybrid i-DCD

Engine: 1,496cc, Atkinson-cycle, DOHC i-VTEC, 4-cylinder, 16 Valve,
Maximum power: 110PS at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 134Nm at 5,000rpm
Motor maximum power: 30kW
Motor maximum torque: 160Nm
Battery: Lithium-Ion
Transmission: 7-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission (i-DCD)
Features: Four airbags, halogen headlights, 15-inch alloy wheels, Halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, Fabric seats (black), Touch panel auto air-conditioning, Steering wheel audio control, 7-cup holders, 6.8-inch touchscreen audio with 1 HDMI port, 1 USB port, Hands-free telephone steering switch control, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Multi-angle reverse camera, cruise control
Price: RM87,500 (on-the-road with insurance and GST)