It’s a green green world. Green is the new white; green is the colour what people want their plants in; green is what some say the start of a new life; green is what the automotive sector say ‘hybrid’ and ‘EV’. Since Malaysia has only Nissan Leaf EV (which is still in first stage of implementation in Putrajaya), the market has no choice but to accept the hybrids available as green cars first.
After car manufacturers compete with each other to provide the cheapest hybrid car for Malaysia, Honda emerged as the winner in the end with its Jazz Hybrid. Selling at RM94.8k OTR with insurance, the Jazz Hybrid is cheaper by RM2k compared to its closest competitor, but might be a heartache to some recent petrol-engined Jazz buyers because the hybrid is cheaper by almost RM10k and comes with a lot more equipment.
The Honda Jazz Hybrid is basically a Jazz with a 1.3litre IMA system, which comprises an i-VTEC petrol engine of 87bhp and 121Nm of torque while the electric motor produces 10kW and 78Nm of torque. This time around the IMA system is also equipped with engine start-stop which will off the engine temporary while stopping for a red light and turn it back on once the car starts moving. Since I’ve driven the petrol-engined Jazz, I’m able to tell the difference between the two variants. Other than some cosmetic changes inside and out, the Jazz Hybrid also has some extra goodies such as 6 airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), paddle shift, hill start assist, ECON driving mode and auto air-cond.
Explaining on the information display…
The cabin is still as spacious as before, with more than adequate head and legroom for the front and back. I noticed there are hooks for your coat which are attached to the side gripper on top of the rear window, pretty thoughtful and convenient. Not to mention Honda’s renowned ULTRA seat, where the rear seat has dozens of configuration to cater the needs of carrying various sizes of goods, is available in the Jazz Hybrid. However, the fit and finishing could be better as the rear parcel shelf of the test car was emitting rattling sound while going over rough road undulations.
There’s an ‘ECON mode’ button at the right of the steering wheel that can reduce the output of the car by 3% and optimizes air-cond performance, what you get in return is better fuel consumption and reduced emission. While on the go, I didn’t notice any difference when the feature is on and off in terms of performance and fuel consumption. Maybe the benefits will become more obvious if traveling on a longer journey. By the way, the engine stop-start is smooth and is unnoticeable until its symbol appears in the instrument panel, telling you that the engine is currently in off mode.
The Jazz Hybrid will run solely on electric motor unless the pressure applied by the driver on the accelerator is high to gain more power. The petrol engine will then assist the electric motor and the process of assisting will be shown in the instrument panel, where the needle will deviate between ‘Charge’ and ‘Assist’.
Acceleration was slack compared to its petrol counterpart. The Jazz Hybrid was having a hard time to gain more speed after passing through our national speed limit. Although the engine has to be revved in order to get the acceleration I wanted, the CVT gear change and engine was smooth and quiet. Gone is the raspy note of the petrol VTEC engine and frankly I have to say that I prefer the Jazz Hybrid engine thanks to its quietness, even though the latter produces lesser power. At that moment I realize that city is the best place for Jazz Hybrid where it has enough power for daily driving, compact enough to navigate through the hectic traffic, refined and absorb bumps easily.
Handling wise, the Jazz Hybrid is similar to Jazz. The steering is on the light side but still good enough to tackle corners and has acceptable high speed straight line stability, probably the minimal body roll helped too. Fuel consumption wise, I got an average of 7.4l/100km after some traffic jam and heavy-footed driving. There’s a Multi-Info Display (MID) which shows your average fuel consumption, energy flow and scoring where the system will award you with number of leaves (out of five) if you drive light-footedly and doesn’t brake hard or often. I’m sure the my driving style on that day doesn’t deserve four leaves!
After a day out in the Jazz Hybrid, I must say I’m pretty impressed with the package offered by this compact car. The extra equipments, spacious and practical cabin make the Jazz Hybrid a worthy hybrid car competitor. Like they say, it doesn’t earn a ‘Car of the Year’ title (for the petrol-engined Jazz) for nothing…
+ Smooth and quiet engine, roomy (and practical) cabin, equipment list.
– Power, ECON mode doesn’t differ much compared to normal mode.
Written by Simon Har