Published on November 23rd, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
Prediction: Honda City Hatchback Is Going To Outsell The Jazz
The Honda City Hatchback may be replacing the much-loved Jazz, but it will do well we think.
The Honda Jazz has quite a storied history. It’s actually more commonly known in other markets as the Honda Fit. In Malaysia, it was available as both a CBU unit from Thailand as well as a CKD version in its last form. This year, production of the Honda Jazz in Melaka came to an end. In that time, the Jazz had been offered in Malaysia with a petrol engine, an “Integrated Motor Assist” or IMA Hybrid, as well as a i-DCD Sport Hybrid.
For most of its life as a CKD vehicle, the Jazz was consistently a market leader, being the most popular non-national 5-door in its segment. We don’t have the numbers, but the most successful Jazz model appears to be the standard petrol version, which was available throughout its lifecycle and usually available at the Jazz’s base price.
Now that the Honda Jazz has been discontinued, some may be wondering if the City Hatchback will be able to continue its legacy in Malaysia. The Jazz has always had the market cornered in terms of practicality and it had a clean, slighty sporty image attached to it. The Honda Jazz was also a simple, straightforward machine that fit the bill for those looking for Japanese 5-door with no frills.
Having driven the new City Hatchback in Sepang last week, we’re fairly confident this replacement has those two elements covered.
While our coverage mostly concerned the RS model with its e:HEV powertrain, the petrol models are sure to be more popular amongst Malaysian buyers. In fact, I predict that this City Hatchback is going to ultimately outsell the Jazz by the end of its production cycle. Here’s why.
It’s One of the Largest in Segment
The B-segment is full of cramped offerings that just about allow breathing room for couples or very small families. The Jazz was already quite large in this segment, but the Honda City Hatchback is actually larger in most ways. It’s 4345mm long, 1748mm wide and has a wheelbase of 2589mm, beating the Jazz by a notable margin all three dimensions. However, the Jazz was 21mm taller than the City Hatchback, but in our testing, we didn’t note headroom to be a major issue. In fact, the 59mm longer wheelbase of the City Hatchback more than made up for it.
Honda’s Secret Weapon Is Still There: Ultra Seats
One of the most compelling reasons to buy a Honda Jazz back in the day over its competitors was the presence of Ultra Seats. Ultra Seats essentially allowed the rear bench segments to be folded upwards and locked into place. It was a bit of Honda magic that opened up new possibilities for cargo hauling for customers.
Although the Jazz is no more, the Ultra Seats have made the transition into the City Hatchback with no changes.
It Does The Little Things Better
In our review of the latest generation City 1.5V, we noted that Honda has done well delivering a lot of ‘behind-the-scenes’ features above what was expected in this segment. Many aspects of the City sedan went above and beyond the market expectation, including NVH, switchgear quality and material choices – all of which make for better perceived quality. In the City Hatchback 1.5V, this is all true as well.
In fact, it feels like they have even gone a little further on aspects like NVH thanks to increase insulation material around the hood. In this segment, it’s also the only hatchback to give customers rear air cond vents and other nice-to-haves that are usually saved for C-segment customers.
It’s Got Fewer Rivals To Deal With
Back when the Jazz was first launched, it had its work cut out for it. The Mazda2 was fresh in the market and there were unconventional rivals from the East AND West to give customers pause. The Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, Volkswagen Polo, Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta were all competing in the B-segment space at the time. Today, only the refreshed Toyota Yaris and the same dynamic but aging Mazda2 remain for sale.
With so few competitors, the Honda City Hatchback manages to pull away from the pack as an all-new model with a new DOHC VTEC engine producing more horsepower than its rivals and with a chassis that can handle whatever you throw at it. Dynamism and comfort are both dealt with handily by the City Hatchback.