A fourth-gen subcompact from the H Badge

Honda is testing an all-new Jazz subcompact hatchback, also known as the Fit in some markets. It’s the fourth generation for the nameplate and it looks like it will retain the wedge-nosed one-box design of its predecessors, albeit with a slightly sportier design twist.

The camouflaged prototype spotted by our spies reveals quite a lot about the car, which is slated for a reveal no earlier than 2020, since the refreshed version of the current model only came out last year. Aside from the completely new and slightly more rakish-looking body, changes will be made to its powerplant lineup and interior. The hybrid version may share its powertrain with the new Insight.

Exterior

2021 Honda Jazz
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Complete camouflage covers the body of the Jazz/Fit prototype spotted testing in Spain, wearing German number plates.

While it retains the overall familiar Jazz shape, its windscreen pillars are considerably more steeply raked, and it also looks like it’s slightly wider than before.

The grille appears to be wider and the headlights seem to be smaller and also set further apart.

The front quarter light is different compared to the current model. It looks like it’s taller, and it seems to split the quite thick A-pillar in two. At the back, it looks like Honda is going to ditch the distinctive vertical tail lights that go up the C-pillar, replacing them with horizontal ones.

Interior

2019 Honda Insight Interior
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Note: 2019 Honda Insight pictured here.

We have absolutely no idea what its interior will turn out like, but if recent Honda models are anything to go by, it may get a digital gauge cluster and a floating tablet-like central infotainment screen. It will probably look similar to the interior of the new Insight, but be a bit scaled down and probably featuring some cheaper materials for panels and trim pieces.

Drivetrain

2021 Honda Jazz
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The big news from under the hood of the new Jazz is a possible full-electric model with a range of 186 miles or 300 km.

Aside from this, it is believed the hybrid version will share its powertrain with the larger Insight, to complement the usual range of gasoline engines. The current Jazz can be had with a 100-horsepower 1.3-liter, or a peppier 128-horsepower 1.5-liter, both of which can be paired with either a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. The North American market Fit only gets the larger engine, but you can still choose the transmission option.

Prices

2021 Honda Jazz
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With no major changes to the core versions of the model, pricing should remain pretty much the same - the hybrid and all-electric models will obviously fetch a premium, but in base trim, it shouldn’t cost more than $17,000.

Competition

Chevrolet Sonic

2017 Chevrolet Sonic High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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One of the Fit’s few same-size rivals in North America is the Chevrolet Sonic, a global model sold under various brands and names, praised for its comfortable cabin, spritely performance and decent handling. With its latest visual update, it also looks better than ever and is generally regarded as a vehicle close to the top of its class - two areas where it lags behind some rivals are fuel efficiency and space in the back; the current Fit, for instance, is even good for adults on longer journeys, whereas the Sonic isn’t really.

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic.

Hyundai Accent

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Only available as a sedan in North America, the Hyundai Accent has a lot going for it: its latest redesign keeps it looking fresh and modern, it has reassuring handling and plenty of tech, and its cabin is one of the quieter and more spacious in its size bracket. It’s not the fastest accelerating in its class, though, and while it’s generally pretty comfortable, really rough roads do unsettle it quite noticeably. Its interior also looks a bit cheap and materials used overall are not great, but since the car is so reasonably priced, this is not a big concern.

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Accent.

Volkswagen Polo

2018 Volkswagen Polo Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
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In Europe, the Jazz has considerably more talented rivals to win buyers from. The VW Polo beats it in pretty much every area aside from interior space and modularity. It is unmatched for perceived quality, fit and finish, comfort levels are also very high (rivaling cars from a class above) and its desirable badge ensures decent resale values. Engines are also plentiful and cater for a wide range of needs. There’s even a hot GTI model that will please most enthusiasts, although even mid-range models are fun to drive.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Polo.

Conclusion

2021 Honda Jazz
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If Honda gets the Fit right for the US market (which, let’s face it, it probably will), the model will stay at the top of its class.

They don’t really need to tweak that much because the buyers who are into the car already like it the way it is - they just want a more modern, up-to-date version that looks fresh and packs all the latest cool gadgets. The current model is definitely not an exciting car, and the upcoming one probably won’t do anything about it.

In Europe, the Jazz faces much stiffer and diversified opposition - here, buyers want more than just a practical, spacious mini people carrier - they also want it to look fun and drive with verve and gusto - that’s why cars like the Ford Fiesta are so popular, because they are properly engaging on a twisty backroad in a way that the current Fit, at least, could never hope to match.

But if Honda does manage to make the Fit/Jazz more exciting to look at and inject some extra fun into its driving experience, it could go a long way to making it more appealing around the world.

  • Leave it
    • Still looks like a mini-people carrier
    • The absence of sportier versions

Further Reading

2015 Honda Fit High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2015 Honda Fit.

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