Honda is finally offering a warmed-up version of its Jazz supermini to European customers, dropping in the 1.5-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder that has long been available to American and Japanese customers.
And while it’s no firecracker, the new 128bhp model launched at the Frankfurt motor show may well give the spacious supermini enough performance to match its nimble handling. What's more, with even the Suzuki Swift Sport going turbocharged, this gives us just a shred of hope that the concept of a naturally-aspirated hot hatch is still alive and well.
Subscribe to evo magazine
The new engine is available as part of a new Dynamic trim line. This adds a subtle front splitter beneath the lower grille, and a diffuser-style element in the rear bumper, both accentuated by a red trim line.
LED headlights are standard fitment on Dynamic models, as well as fog lamps, side skirts, a small tailgate spoiler, and 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in modest 185/55 rubber.
Interior changes are also minimal, extending to a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob (a shame there’s no Type R-style aluminium orb here) and pinstriping on the seats, with orange stitching throughout.
That’s in addition to a raft of general changes and improvements for the latest Jazz, from re-contoured front and rear bumpers to a new Skyride Blue metallic paint finish.
Performance figures haven’t yet been confirmed, and should be available closer to the car’s November launch. Importantly, it’s also available with a manual gearbox, though Honda seems keener to promote the 52.3mpg economy of the CVT version. The existing 1.3-litre i-VTEC continues to be available, though with 101bhp it’s a little less suited to B-road thrills.