Honda's all-new Jazz has been revealed today, wearing its Japanese 'Fit' badge and debuting a brand-new Hybrid with a dual-clutch Intelligent Drive system.
The release of these official images and details follows a set of brochure snaps that appeared in the press some weeks ago, offering a first look at the new hatch.
Due in Japanese showrooms from September, the new third-generation Jazz will likely land here after the halfway point of 2014 - although Honda Australia has yet to confirm details.
Following Honda's new 'Exciting H' styling language, the new Jazz evolves the styling cues introduced with the Insight hybrid, drawing inspiration from the car's front-end design - while possibly also previewing the next Insight.
The rear-end debuts a new light design that extends up into the top of the tailgate, while the bumpers at both ends showcase large ports (housing fog lights and LED running lights at the front in some models).
"We wanted a more emotional contrast in the design," design boss Toshinobu Minami said.
"The character line captures the contrast of a round shape being pierced. The back end is sportier, the hood more pronounced. The interior isn't plasticky at all."
In the cabin is a large centre display screen and touch-sensitive control system - both inspired by this year's Urban SUV concept - although this might only be offered in Japanese models.
When the car's systems are off, the center stack interface appears as a plain sheet of black glass. Switch the car on and the display and controls come to life, with functions for heating, cooling, navigation and audio.
The carmaker also promises better materials in the cabin to complement the simplified new layout.
On the engine side, the new Jazz marks a major achievement for Honda, with the Hybrid model claiming fuel figures as low as 2.7 l/100km under the Japanese testing system.
There's also a regenerative braking system on board to help achieve those impressive fuel numbers.
The current Jazz Hybrid available in Australia lists fuel use at 4.5 l/100km. Impressive enough numbers, but bettered by the 3.9 l/100km figures of Toyota's Prius C hatch.
It should be noted however that the Japanese system for calculating fuel consumption figures is more lenient than in other markets, so final figures will likely change before the new Jazz Hybrid reaches Australia - likely bringing it closer to the Prius C's figures.
The new model is powered by a new 1.5 litre four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine, mated to a Sport Hybrid seven-speed dual-clutch auto with a high-output electric motor and Intelligent Power Unit, replacing the current model's Integrated Motor Assist system.
Honda says the package is good for 100kW and 182Nm or torque, again bettering the 72kW and 167Nm figures of the current model.
The hybrid Fit can drive for 3.0km at speeds up to 50km/h in electric-only mode. The engine kicks in when the car reaches a certain speed or the driver requires greater acceleration.
For highway cruising, at speeds where electric motors don't work as efficiently, the petrol engine does the bulk of the work.
Other models in the new Jazz range will be powered by port-injected 1.3 and direct-injected 1.5 litre petrol engines, offered with manual and automatic transmissions.
It is unclear at this stage where Australia's new Jazz models will be sourced from, although we can likely expect Honda's Thailand plant to continue supplying our market.
Watch for the new Jazz to hit Australia in the new year.
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