Car Launches

Honda brings some Jazz to NZ in 2021

Jazz up your life with the all-new Honda hatch, which has just touched down at the Honda headquarters in Nelson. The new Jazz comes in three variants and is sure to appeal to a very wide audience.

AA Motoring attended the launch event two days before the new car went on sale to the public this month.

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Honda Jazz e:HEV Luxe 2021

Despite being built on a completely new platform, the new Jazz retains some of the functionality favoured by Honda owners like the genius Magic Seats. The standard model in the range is called Jazz Life (from $28,000 +ORC), followed by the crossover inspired Jazz Crosstar (from $30,000 +ORC) and the exciting Jazz e:HEV Luxe hybrid from $35,000 +ORC.

To revolutionise the essence of its compact city car, Honda focused on a new design philosophy which encapsulates the Japanese notion of 'Yoo no bi'. This recognises the beauty that exists in everyday items which have been honed over time to make them even more beautiful and ergonomically satisfying to use for their specific purpose. Essentially comfortable, simple and useful in peoples’ daily lives.

Unique design

The largest design difference is noticeable from the front of the car. A happy face and small grille area goes against the grain of popular car design of late where the grille is the centre piece of frontal focus. 

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The unique front-end demonstrated on the Jazz Crosstar

Thanks to new structural technologies, the A-pillar is half the width of that on the previous model, improving forward horizontal visibility. The sleek A-pillar design is enabled by greatly improved torsional rigidity and new structural technologies that move impact stress towards the front quarter light pillars.

At first glance the new Jazz is quite soft and round-looking. You could even describe it as quirky, but step inside and it’s simple, functional and easy to use, with a little bit of luxury added for the Luxe range.

Surprising performance

The drive of all three models is great, and perhaps surprising for a small car. Its handling felt confident and the suspension firm and planted as we drove around some of the back roads of Nelson. The slightly higher riding Crosstar didn’t wallow around the twisty roads either and was comfortably soft in ride, while offering its occupants ease of access due to the higher ground clearance. 

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Honda Jazz e:HEV Luxe 2021

A hybrid option

The Jazz e:HEV Luxe is the pick of the bunch. It comes standard with leather interior of two colour options and unique mag wheels. However, it’s the new hybrid system that really sets it apart. 

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This is the first time a hybrid Jazz has been offered from new in NZ

The e:HEV system consists of two compact, powerful electric motors connected to a 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and an innovative fixed-gear transmission via an intelligent power control unit. All of these components work harmoniously together to provide a smooth and direct response.

Three main drive modes are as below:

  • EV Drive - the lithium-ion battery supplies power to the electric propulsion motor directly.
  • Hybrid Drive - the engine supplies power to the electric generator motor, which in turn supplies it to the electric propulsion motor.
  • Engine Drive - the petrol engine is connected directly to the wheels via a lock-up clutch and driveforce is transmitted directly from engine to the wheels.

The notable mention is that in Hybrid mode, the petrol engine fires up but only to power the generator which, in turn, supplies electricity to the electric motor.

Honda has indicated a combined fuel efficiency figure of 2.8L/100km for the NZ e:HEV Luxe. The CO2 emissions rating sits at 64.1g/km. For comparison, the non-hybrid variants of the new Jazz are rated at 5.8L/100km with an emissions rating of 131g/km.

A fresh new interior

Inside, there’s an all-new feature-packed infotainment system, as well as a seven-inch driver’s display (which comes standard on all grades). 

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The interior of the all-new Jazz

The contemporary interior layout echoes the clean look of the exterior, complemented with an uncluttered, user-friendly instrument panel. The wide centre console armrest also echoes interior specifications of higher segment cars.

New wider, anti-fatigue front seats feature mat-structure support, replacing the previous spring set-up to help prevent fatigue on longer journeys. Improved rear-seat design and a thicker rear seat pad provide a lounge-like experience for passengers both in the front and rear.

Honda Sensing

To complete the appealing package of the new Jazz, Honda provides a comprehensive suite of advanced safety features and driver aids (but only on the e:HEV Luxe).

The scope of the Honda Sensing technology has been enhanced with the application of a new wider, higher-definition camera, replacing the previous camera and radar set-up. This enables improved awareness of vehicle surroundings, including recognition of verges without kerbs or roadside markings.

The Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS) has improved and now applies the brakes when oncoming vehicles cut across or turn into the path of the car. The new camera system also enables Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to follow traffic in congestion and applies Lane Keep Assist on urban and rural roads, as well as multi-lane highways for increased safety in more situations.

At a glance 


Honda Jazz 2021 (Life, Crosstar, e:HEV Luxe)


1.5-litre four cylinder i-VTEC 


From $28,000 (+ORC)

ANCAP safety rating

Not yet rated

Power and Torque

89kW, 145Nm (Life, Crosstar) 72kW, 131Nm + 80kW, 253Nm on Electric Motor (e:HEV Luxe) 


EarthDreams CVT (Life, Crosstar) e-CVT Fixed Gear (e:HEV Luxe)

Fuel economy/CO2

5.8L/100km, 131g/km (Life, Crosstar) 2.8L/100km, 64.1g/km (e:HEV Luxe)

Towing capacity



2WD (Front)

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

298 litres

Safety systems

  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
  • Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control (TCS)
  • Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) – Hazard Light Activation
  • Three Angle Reversing Camera with Dynamic Parking Aid
  • Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Hill Start Assist (HSA)
  • Agile Handling Assist (AHA)
  • Front - SRS Airbags, Side - Full Length Curtain SRS Airbags

Find out more on how the AA can help you when buying a new car:

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