After plenty of will-they-won’t-they speculation, Honda’s local arm has confirmed that the all-new Jazz will be sold in New Zealand, with its arrival scheduled for the second quarter of 2021.
The news defies Honda Australia’s decision last November to cull the nameplate from showrooms over the ditch as demand for small platforms wanes. For New Zealand, however, subcompacts are experiencing a slight renaissance, thanks to the all-new Yaris and the ongoing popularity of the Suzuki Swift.
“We’re very excited to confirm its coming and we are sure Kiwis across the country will be impressed by the new model. It’s the biggest change to the Jazz since the first generation launched in 2002,” says Matt Woodburn, Marketing & Product Manager at Honda New Zealand.
While the announcement didn’t detail full line-up or pricing, Honda New Zealand has confirmed that the hybrid Jazz e:HEV will be offered locally. It utilises a unique two-motor hybrid system paired to a 1.5-litre petrol engine. One motor is geared for efficiency and the other is geared for performance — like a modern day electrified version of VTEC.
Overseas the Jazz e:HEV’s electric motors are rated for 80kW of power and 253Nm of instant torque. The 1.5-litre is rated for 72kW and 118Nm. It’s capable of hitting 100km/h in 9.4 seconds (so, it won’t be giving the GR Yaris a run for its money in the performance stakes), but it can do 3.5L/100km.
Although it’s the first time a hybrid Jazz will be offered locally from the distributor, there are already plenty of Japanese import examples on Kiwi roads from previous generations. The new hybrid is set to go toe-to-toe with Toyota and Suzuki’s subcompact hybrid hatchbacks.
It’s unclear whether the Jazz will only land in New Zealand in its standard body shape, or whether it will also come in its slightly lifted ‘Crossstar’ guise, which brings additional cladding, ride-height, two-tone paint, and roof-rails to the party. It’s also unclear whether any all-wheel drive variants will be offered locally.
Currently just two variants of Jazz are sold in New Zealand; the $25,990 Jazz RS and $31,790 Jazz Mugen. The Jazz S and Jazz RS Sport models are sold out.