Honda Jazz Designed as ‘Glimpse into a Cleaner Future’

Honda sees its new Jazz as a future-proof platform to cope with increased environmental concerns and the change in consumer mobility models.

That’s the mission its lead project designer Takeki Tanaka spelled out to TU-Automotive when discussing by conference call the car that had been scheduled to make its European debut at the pandemic cancelled 2020 Geneva Motor Show. Tanaka-san admitted that designing the latest fourth generation car had its pressures considering the global success of previous Jazz, or Fit in some markets. He said: “There is always competition in designing a new vehicle both with our rival manufacturers but also within the company. However, this new Jazz has been introduced as a full hybrid version so we are quite confident to be able to provide a strong product performance of the car. We also, during the car’s development, were confident we would exceed the actual performance of the out-going Jazz.”

He said the choice of the hybrid powertrain also had a major influence over the car’s design both externally and internally. Tanaka-san explained: “Starting with the hidden design elements considering the two motor system we also used on the CR-V Hybrid, it is a quite complex system and normally if you wanted to install this kind of component complex into a compact car there are quite some challenges in terms of packaging. That was one thing to incorporate all these electric components into a four-meter car that required some optimization in terms of design to package compactly all of those components.”

Visually, the car also had a mission statement through its looks. Tanaka-san added: “Secondly, the visual aspect of the car is affected by the electrification of its powertrain to express a glimpse into the future. We wanted to show both in the exterior and the interior a different design language showing some advanced design features that would give a hint of what is going to happen to cars in the future. So we decided on a very clean and simple design.”

Even the car’s interior was influenced by it electrification and connectivity and followed with some of the styling of Honda’s BEV Honda e. He said: “The first thing we want to emphasize is the method of showing that future trend is perhaps similar to the electric car, the Honda e, to enhance the features of connectivity. There are now quite some number of functions in the car that are related to connectivity and so we have enhanced the visibility of that connectivity by using a very big central display.

“Also in terms of metering functions so that the instruments show the rate of use of connectivity where we have added a new function with the Honda Sensing advanced driver assist system becomes more comprehendible to the driver. Here we use a full LCD screen as a standard fixture for all vehicle grades which is quite unique within the industry.

Another part of the Jazz’s mission was to look towards the changing nature of mobility in a world of car-sharing the and the anticipated move towards more urbanization of the global population. Tanaka-san said: “The enhanced connectivity has been influenced by the trend within the automotive industry towards a position where mobility is changing more and more into a service. In order to provide that platform for the new mobility we have intensively researched and developed the connectivity to make these things possible. Such as the remote functions including controlling many of the car’s functions through a smartphone app and these features point in the direction of car-sharing or car-pooling in the future.”

Both climate change and city clean air concerns influenced the basic design features of the car, said Tanaka-san. He concluded: “We believe by providing a platform that is directed to Maas possibilities we will be accelerating that trend within the industry. From our perspectives it has some advantages in relaxing the environmental impact of transportation especially we you talk about the urban areas. The fact that we will be offering the Jazz, which remains a small and compact car, solely as a hybrid powertrain is a measure of our commitment to reduce the environmental impact of our products.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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