Engines on Test: Honda Jazz e:HEV 1.5-liter

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In creating the fourth-generation Jazz, the team at Honda focused on practicality, ease of use, comfort and an engaging drive, as the OEM puts it. Essentially, it’s a sensible supermini with a hybrid powertrain as per Honda’s electrification strategy, which states that by 2022 all of its core European models will be electrified, and its entire range by 2030.

Badged the ‘e:HEV’, the powertrain at the heart of the Jazz features a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle gasoline engine – which is said to have a thermal efficiency of 40.5% – and two electric motors. One that mainly operates as a generator, the other as a propulsion motor. The propulsion motor gives a max output of 80kW and 253Nm of torque. Honda’s engineers also chose to use an unconventional fixed-gear transmission for Jazz.

So how does it measure up? In terms of its characteristics, ‘thrilling’ or ‘exciting’ aren’t words you’d use to describe Jazz, but that doesn’t really matter because Honda makes no such claims. Acceleration is smooth and the gasoline engine kicks in at the right moment to help out when needed. That said, ICE startup is barely noticeable and, in all honesty, most of the time it’s quiet enough that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re driving a BEV.

During the few hours of sampling the urban city car, we averaged a fuel consumption figure of 3.77l/100km (62.3mpg) – just shy of Honda’s 3.75l/100km (62.7mpg) claim – but the E+PTI team found it was possible to surpass this benchmark with a more reserved driving style. CO2 emissions are rated at 100g/km.

According to the car maker, engineers worked with medical experts during the development of Jazz to create a body stabilizing seat; the special design is said to mold to the body. They’ve also improved NVH. So in terms of comfort, the Jazz is a nice place to be. The steering is light, you feel in control and secure on the road. The cabin is roomy for a supermini, even with the hybrid powertrain tech incorporated, and we’re told this was an important factor when deviing the system layout.

Overall it does exactly what it says on the tin. The Jazz is a solid day-to-day car that combines efficiency, comfort and versatility with those well-known Jazz traits of reliability and practicality. What more could you want from a supermini?

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Rachel's career in journalism has seen her write for various titles at UKi Media & Events within automotive, tire and marine. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of transportation.

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