Honda South Africa has dropped the Jazz nameplate and replaced it with the Fit that also becomes the first model powered by the company’s new e:HEV hybrid technology – alongside a more traditional 1,5-litre petrol engine.
“The all-new generation of the longstanding Honda Jazz will officially be reintroduced into the South African market as the Honda Fit, in recognition of the vast and distinct improvements made over the previous model,” says Yuishi Fukuda, President of Honda Motor Southern Africa.
“The all-new Japanese-built Honda Fit represents a new generation of cars for Honda Motor Southern Africa focused on reasserting Honda’s position as a brand that is synonymous with outstanding quality, durability and technology,” says Dinesh Govender, General Manager of Honda Motor Southern Africa. “Our strategy for the Fit aims to rebrand the image of the model from one that has always appealed to customers’ rational side due to its space and practicality, to one that appeals more to customers’ emotional side with an exquisite design, exceptional drive and brand-new technology.”
The new design evolution introduces simplicity to the shape of the outgoing Honda Jazz. Its smooth contours follow the short nose, long roof line and cabin-forward style of previous generations.
The A-pillar thickness has been more than halved from 116 mm to just 55 mm 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 overall height is reduced by 13 mm, which combines with a forward-leaning tailgate design to create a more compact-looking, well-balanced cabin and a reassuringly surefooted stance.
The user-focused dashboard incorporates a slim instrument panel that sweeps horizontally across the cabin, where the central HMI 9-inch touchscreen (standard on Elegance and Executive grades) and 7-inch full TFT instrument cluster which is standard across the range, are simple and easy to read
The luggage capacity (with rear seats up) starts from 309 litres (298 for HEV) and increases to 1 210 litres (to the roof with the rear seats down) (1 199 for HEV).
Also key to maximising cabin room is the positioning of the fuel tank in the centre of the chassis beneath the front seats, which is unique in this class. This enables the Fit to retain the rear Magic Seat configuration that offers both fold-flat or flip-up seat flexibility.
Front seat occupants also benefit from Honda’s newly developed body stabilising seat frame featuring a new premium mat structure for additional support and an increase of 30 mm in seat padding thickness for extra comfort.
The base Fit petrol models are equipped with Honda’s new 1,5-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine generating 89 kW at 6 600 r/min and torque of 145 Nm at 4 300 r/min. This new powertrain is more powerful and efficient than the outgoing model fuel consumption claimed at 5,5 l/100 km and a CO2 emission figure of 132 g/km.
The flagship Fit Hybrid has two compact, electric motors connected to a 1,5-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and a fixed-gear transmission via an intelligent power control unit, which all work together to provide a smooth and direct response.
The total output of 80 kW and 253 Nm of electric propulsion torque can propel the car to 100km/h in just 9,4 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 175 km/h. Fuel economy is claimed at 3,7 l/100 km and produces CO2 emissions of 88 g/km, exempting the Fit Hybrid model from additional CO2 tax.
In most urban driving situations, optimum efficiency is achieved through seamless transitions between EV Drive and Hybrid Drive. For driving at highway speeds, Engine Drive is used, supplemented by an on-demand peak power ‘boost’ from the electric propulsion motor for fast acceleration.
In Hybrid Drive, excess power from the petrol engine can also be 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.
Rather than using a conventional transmission, the Fit Hybrid is equipped with a newly-developed electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (e-CVT) with a single fixed-gear ratio to create a direct connection between moving components. The result is a smooth and reassuring transfer of torque with a linear feel during acceleration across all drive modes.
When in Hybrid Drive mode the all-new e-CVT control logic ensures the electric propulsion motor provides powerful torque, whilst the engine provides a direct and linear feel during acceleration, similar to that of a multi-stage transmission.
Honda has enhanced the car’s chassis, suspension and body rigidity and the ratio of higher tensile strength steel has risen by 80% for the new generation model, helping to reduce weight and improve safety performance in the event of a crash. Static bending is improved by 6% while static torsion is improved by 13%.
The front suspension geometry has a low front roll centre to enhance stability, which helps the Fit feel precise, natural and agile when cornering. Its agility is further augmented by an electric power-assisted steering system and steering ratio improvements, which deliver accurate feedback to the driver and provide more natural direction-changing behaviour.
Stopping power is ensured by an all-disc braking system featuring 262 mm ventilated front discs and 239 mm solid discs at the rear. Electronic brake systems include: Vehicle Stability Assist, Brake Assist System, Hill Start Assist and Automatic Brake Hold.
Fit owners and occupants are protected by six crash bags, comprising front, side and curtain SRS bags while the enhanced Honda SENSING active safety technology, includes:
- Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with improved night-time operation to also detect pedestrians when there is no street lighting. The system also alerts the driver when it detects a cyclist turning into the road. In addition, the system now also applies the brakes when the Fit cuts across or turns into the path of an oncoming vehicle thanks to the new front wide-view camera.
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) manages the distance to the car in front automatically by continuously adjusting the speed, allowing the car to follow traffic at highway speeds.
- Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) prevents the vehicle from drifting into adjacent lanes by detecting lane markers on the road
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) system assists the driver to not stray from the road. It alerts the driver if it detects that the vehicle is approaching the outer edge of the road, an oncoming vehicle, or drifting into another lane without indicating.
- Auto High-Beam (AHB) switches High Beam head lights on/off automatically depending on oncoming/preceding vehicles (cars, trucks and motorcycles), bicycles and environmental brightness so not to blind other road users.
The driver is also able to operate and determine how much driver assistance information is displayed on the seven-inch TFT liquid crystal display (LCD) instrument binnacle.
Fit 1.5 DOHC i-VTEC Comfort CVT R319 900
Fit 1.5 DOHC i-VTEC Elegance CVT R359 900
Fit 1.5 DOHC i-VTEC Executive CVT R389 900
Fit 1.5 DOHC i-MMD e-CVT Hybrid R469 900
The Honda Fit range comes standard with Honda’s 5-year/200 000 km warranty, as well as a 4-year/60 000 km Service Plan with 15 000 km service intervals. The Fit Hybrid model comes standard with an extended 8-year/200 000 km warranty specifically covering the battery and related components of the Hybrid system.