The Honda Jazz is no more. It now features a new name, FIT. Justin got behind the wheel of the newcomer to see what it is like. Here are his thoughts on this impressive little car.
A few weeks ago I attended the Honda SA #FIT launch which took place in the #WesternCape. The #HondaFIT is the new name given to what we know as the #Jazz. The decision was made to re-brand the vehicle in recognition of the vast and distinct improvements made over the previous model. Honda aims to target a new audience with the new FIT. Here are some things that you should know about it.
Honda’s compact hatchback is a completely new car in every way and now comes directly from Japan and not India. Honda designers took the bold step of completely reimagining the model from the ground up. The #FIT boasts a smoother design language to that of the previous #Jazz and I found it
to be modern yet not overly complex. The front features large headlights with LED daytime running lights.
Designers have also changed the A-pillar thickness which has been more than halved from 116mm to just 55mm. With the pillar behind now providing the main structural strength, this along with the hidden windscreen wipers provides the driver and front-seat passenger with an unobstructed, almost panoramic field of vision. The rear design is also rather appealing in that it features LED tail lamps which add to what seems to be a more mature design language.
The interior is also a modern and visually appealing place to be. I particularly like the steering wheel
which features white buttons and gives a sort of floating design feel. Other features worth mentioning is the 9-inch touchscreen (standard on Elegance and Executive model) and the 7-inch full TFT instrument cluster which is standard across the range. They are easy to use and navigate, made even easier thanks to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, with the latter available via a wireless connection.
The FIT also retain the exceptionally versatile rear Magic Seat configuration that offers both fold-flat or flip-up seat flexibility. The luggage capacity (with rear seats up) starts from 309 litres (298 for HEV) and increases to an impressive 1210 litres (to the roof with the rear seats down) (1199 for HEV).
There are two forms of forward propulsion available for the FIT. The non-hybrid models feature a 1.5-litre normally aspirated petrol power plant under the bonnet that’s good for 89kW and 145Nm of torque driving the front wheels via a CVT transmission. It does the task of getting from point A to B rather well but don’t expect it to thrill you or get you there in a hurry, instead the combination is best suited to return decent fuel consumption. Honda claims 5.5L/100km which is close to what I got at the launch.
The second form of propulsion comes in the form of the e: HEV FIT Hybrid. It makes use of some clever engineering with the same 1.5-litre engine essentially acting as a “generator” for the lithium-ion battery that powers two electric motors with a fixed-gear transmission or what Honda calls an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (e-CVT) with a single fixed-gear ratio to create a direct connection between moving components. The total power output is 80kW and 253Nm. This fuel-efficient hybrid system returns a fuel economy figure of just 3.7L/100km. The advanced e: HEV hybrid set-up seamlessly selects from three interchangeable drive modes:
1. EV Drive: the lithium-ion battery supplies power to the electric propulsion motor directly.
2. Hybrid Drive: the engine supplies power to the electric generator motor, which in turn supplies it to the electric propulsion motor.
3. Engine Drive: the petrol engine is connected directly to the wheels via a lock-up clutch and drive force is transmitted directly from the engine to the wheels.
In Hybrid Drive, excess power from the engine is diverted to recharge the battery via the generator motor. EV Drive is also engaged when the car is decelerating, harvesting energy through regenerative braking to recharge the battery.
Overall the FIT brings some fresh air into the Honda line-up and the segment although whether it will appeal to younger buyers remains to be seen despite the tech and infotainment upgrades. It’s still unsurpassed when it comes to interior space, reliability and safety which these days should go a long way towards customer peace of mind. Unfortunately, the Hybrid is just far too expensive due to government taxes that are placed on hybrid and electric vehicles, it’s R469 900 however the range starts at R319 900.