Honda Jazz Crosstar Hybrid: Ready for the pitfalls of the big city

Honda has a strong place among Japanese car manufacturers. Where such Toyotas were always boring, although of good quality, Honda added a pinch of all-important pleasure and a bucket or two of emotion. "Auto emoción" is another car company's motto, but it could easily be here. If the Tokyo automaker always had the upper hand in anything, it was the joy of driving.

Since its first generation, the Jazz has been paying for an exceptionally high-quality car with great, if not sporty, driving characteristics and is one of the most fun shopping bags ever to buy. So the naturally aspirated four-cylinder was still sleeping under the hood and it was shifted manually. Light a candle for another deceased manual box, everything is different in the 2020 model year . The new Honda Jazz model for 2020 is now only available as a mild-hybrid.

JAZZ IN PLASTIC

We recently tested the Honda Jazz. I will now tell you what the top version of the Crosstrek looks like. Sorry, that's Subaru, I meant Crosstourer. Excuse me, that's a motorcycle. So CrossTOUR? It's a Honda, after all. I would almost say that the world is a bit "overCROSSED". Our Cross is a star!

Photo: Jindřich Lubenský

The Crosstar looks the same as a regular Jazz , but it's wrapped all around and has a slightly higher ground clearance (from 136 mm to 152 mm) and even undercarriage guards. The design is modern, contemporary, up-to-date and useful. They look cute, a bit like little elephants. However, when I dig deeper, the two differ in more than just plastic. The lion's share of it is also the relatively conventional red metallic, changing the "small touch car from the future" into a fairly ordinary hatchback from the present and massive roof rails, as if from an off-road special. The variant tested by a colleague really looks much more futuristic. In combination with the "flower" discs, it's crystal clear that the Crosstar caters mainly to women.

Gender stereotypes aside. Although I think that black plastics around any car are not beautiful, even on the Audi Allroad, their practical benefit is beyond dispute. It is not only about your own inattention, but mainly about the inattention and indifference of others! Black plastic will protect you.

LITTLE BIG MPV

The Japanese have always been able to make great use of the enclosed space. Is this a small car for the city? The width of the interior is really generous, if there were a bench for three passengers, they would not suffer from cramped conditions, as if there was space in the back. The trunk is quite small, and there are batteries in it, but small cars usually have small trunks. Those who wouldn't mind are in luck – Honda has what it calls magical rear seats, which simply consist of folding the rear seats up and quietly placing a large keg of beer, a small banana tree, or a bicycle in the resulting space.

The interior of the Honda Jazz looks a bit sci-fi, but not as much as the recently tested Honda e, it stands more firmly on the ground. The center of the dashboard of higher equipment, also that of our Crosstar, is softly upholstered with a light gray fabric that is pleasant to the touch. The seats and door panels are then finished in the same color. Thanks to this, the interior gets another dimension and looks like a cozy living room of young Japanese, the only thing missing is a living flower, like in the VW Beetle.

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Photo: Jindřiška Lidická

Photo: Jindřiška Lidická

There are two displays in the car. The smaller one in front of the driver allows you to grow an eco-flower, shows where the electricity flows, what is currently working from the hybrid system and where it flows. It has a nice, "zen" design and smooth animations. The other is a classic infotainment display with a simple design. It's fast, clear, I have nothing to complain about. Perhaps only… Other hybrids can show the current capacity of the high-voltage battery, but this is unfortunately missing here.

I should also counter all that praise with some criticism. If I would seriously want to criticize something, it is traditionally plastics. I don't think it's that important, but most places use the hard and coal black ones. Fortunately, these are the places you will never need to touch.

Photo: Jindřich Lubenský

The interior of the new Honda Jazz Crosstar is a pleasant, cozy and spacious room. Combining modern design with a touch of nature, it feels like Ying and Yang are in balance.

WELL-BEING JAZZ ON THE ROAD

The new Jazz Hybrid is primarily a city car and drives as such. Who wants to zip around town in a tough sports car, right? The Japanese have always been able to tune chassis, and here they did it perfectly. Higher-travel shocks and softer springs, along with the Crosstar's higher ride height, work wonders. I've driven a lot of small cars in my life, but none of them have been able to filter out road bumps this well. The long wheelbase is certainly to blame for this. At the same time, the chassis is not annoyingly soft and swaying, an absolute ideal for the city.

Photo: Jindřiška Lidická

Now is the time to say the most important thing. Despite all the comfort that Jazz offers, it is not boring to drive. Wheels in the corners of the body, a steep steering gear, a battery that lowers the center of gravity and, above all, an excellent view in all directions, all this will help you win the morning race to get to work on time. And although the drivetrain will protest a bit, you'll want to go fast…

Photo: Jindřiška Lidická

THE WELLNESS OF JAZZ UNDER THE HOOD

Let's introduce the powertrain participants: First, we have a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that puts its 72kw into the system. It spends most of its life as an electricity generator for the electric motor, which has another 80kw of power, and the last one is the generator with its 70kw. Throw away the calculators, the total system output is 80kw, or 107 hp and 253 Nm. In the trunk, there is also a battery with a capacity of 0.8 kWh, which is the center of the entire system.

Photo: Jindřiška Lidická

I wish I could write something world-shattering about how this symbiosis works, but I can't. It works like any other mild-hybrid, with all the pros and cons. Most of the time, the Jazz will try to run purely on batteries – you can tell by the large EV light on the instrument panel. When the juice runs out, the gasoline engine turns on and recharges the batteries. Finally, when you need to overtake, shoot out of an intersection, or accidentally enter the highway, both engines can work at once and generate maximum power. Purely on electricity, you can drive two or three kilometers at a speed of 80 km/h.

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All in all, it works very user-friendly and casual, just step on the gas and occasionally the brake and the little Honda does what it's supposed to. Optimal for city trips. During sharper acceleration, we can't avoid a loud protest when the CVT gearbox dials the petrol four-cylinder up to somewhere near the limiter, but this is the only disturbing element that is common in hybrids. You will enjoy the calm, relaxed pace the most, even the highway can be handled at it.

Photo: Jindřich Lubenský

For savers, there is an ECOnomic mode, with which the car brakes more with the engine and thereby recovers electricity. In the final, it felt more like the engine was choking, it was necessary to step on the gas more often, which led to the exact opposite result – higher fuel consumption. Anyone who wants to extract the lowest possible fuel consumption from the Jazz must also do the opposite, i.e. drive fast! Sharp acceleration and frequent braking are the keys to fast battery charging and more frequent all-electric driving to compensate for fuel input losses.

In terms of numbers, I drove 100 km around Prague in 5.3 in ECO mode, with my eyes on the sticks, anticipation and other saving tricks, while the obscenely fast drive was 4.7. Even driving on the highway won't be a breeze in your wallet, you'll probably never get over 6 liters per hundred.

LONG-TERM VALUES

During its short life, the Jazz model became a benchmark among small cars. In its latest generation, it lives up to its name. Although it has lost some of its driving playfulness in the context of the times, it is still one of the best-quality and best-driving small cars on the market, and among hybrids, it is clearly king.

The values of the small MPV are not ostentatious, they do not flaunt them, the Jazz is modest, humble, yet technically perfect and very modern. I am completely blown away by the practical and beautiful interior, driving comfort. It looks like a car a class bigger.

Photo: Jindřiška Lidická

Before I took the car for the test, I wondered if more than 600 thousand for a small car for the city was too much. Other small cars might beat the Jazz with lower fuel consumption, but that's not the point. It is a symbiosis of driving comfort and well-being that reigns on board. But also durability. People don't buy jazz thoughtlessly, on the contrary. They think about it because they know that it is an investment for the future and will serve them tenaciously for many years without failure. These are its strongest points. If, like me, 600 thousand seems like a lot, don't despair. You can have a basic and equally exceptional Jazz m:HEV, even without the practical coating, for less than 450,000 crowns.

About Václav Linhart

Kontakt na autora: vaclav.linhart@autozine.cz

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