From several sources found that cheap cars days are over now in Australia as doubt cast on Jazz 2020.
News at carsales says-Despite Honda going into what it described as a “challenging year”, the brand’s representatives still couldn’t confirm whether the recently revealed 2020 Jazz would be joining its line-up.
The Jazz is one of Honda’s most successful nameplates in Australia – but a combination of factors are making the next-gen light car a “complicated challenge” for the Japanese manufacturer.
Cost is the most significant factor – as is the extremely competitive nature of the light car market in Australia.
“The days of cheap city cars are over,” declared Honda Australia director Stephen Collins when quizzed on the new Jazz. “You don’t get the entry-level $14,990 driveaway (model) anymore, the market has moved away from base grades.” That is a stark issue for the Jazz, which Mr Collins says the base grade makes up about 70 per cent of volume.
If the rumour that the next-generation Jazz will be hybrid-only turns out to be accurate, then it is unlikely it will occupy the same space as its predecessor in terms of price. There’s another issue – Honda wants to have its full ‘SafetySense’ active safety suite “on every car” as soon as possible.
The same can be seen for Mazda with its Mazda2, which has undergone a notable price hike for its 2020 model year update. Mazda explains that this was due to a significant lift in standard equipment that was now “expected by customers”. Similar to the Jazz VTi, the outgoing $15,570 Mazda2 Neo made up 40 per cent of the model’s sales mix.
Even if we do see the next-generation Jazz, it won’t be until well into 2021 with Mr Collins confirming that the current Jazz will continue to be sold for at least another year in Australia.
In terms of small sedans – Honda says “the segment is dead” in Australia, confirming that the just-announced new-gen City small sedan for the Thai market will not make it to Australia. The City’s sales have ground to a halt since its heyday of moving several thousand units a year. The current City will end its run in Q2 of 2020.
New Honda City 2020 revealed: Is this light sedan coming to Australia?
Confirmed by Carsguide-Honda has taken to the Bangkok motor show to reveal the fifth-generation City light sedan, and while it is due to enter Thai showrooms on Christmas eve, its Australian prospects are currently unknown.
A Honda Australia spokesperson told CarsGuide “it is too soon to confirm any details for next-generation City”, noting that “the current generation will be with us for some time yet”.
As reported, Honda Australia is also yet to lock in its plans for the mechanically related fourth-generation Jazz light hatch that made its debut at last month’s Tokyo motor show, with a local update for the third-generation model understood to be set for next year.
Read More: Honda Jazz 2020 revealed: Australian arrival likely at least one year away
Given sedans continue to decline in popularity, the City’s chances are seemingly weaker than that of the Jazz, which has this year outsold its sibling in Australia at an eight-to-one ratio to the end of October.
The Thai-market City also appears to lack the Japanese brand’s full suite of advanced driver-assist systems, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keep assist, both of which are required for a five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). At minimum, AEB is standard range-wide overseas in the latest Jazz.
That said, this particular version of the City is available with six airbags, a multi-angle reversing camera and hill-start assist as well as the usual electronics.
As far as styling is concerned, the redesigned City is more Civic and less Jazz, shaping up as a shrunken version of the venerable small sedan.
Projector headlights are teamed with LED daytime running lights at the familiar-looking front end, while LED tail-lights are found on the inoffensive rear end.
Those after some extra visual spice can opt for the sporty RS grade, which joins the City grade after launching as part of the Civic hatch and HR-V small SUV ranges.
The RS swaps the regular variants’ chrome horizontal bar with a gloss-black item as well as more aggressive side air intakes with LED foglights, and mesh inserts for the grille and front bumper.
Split-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels, black side-mirror covers, a gloss-black rear boot spoiler and obligatory ‘RS’ badging cap off the more daring look.
Inside, the fresh City forgoes its Jazz counterpart’s digital instrument cluster and two-spoke steering wheel for physicals dials and a three-spoke tiller, although a multi-function display is sandwiched between the former.
An 8.0-inch touchscreen is powered by a multimedia system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is found in a cabin that Honda says is more spacious than before and “luxurious beyond its class”.
Depending on the grade, black cloth or leather upholstery is standard, although the RS once again ups the ante, this team with suede and leather trim with contrasting red stitching.
Significantly, the City is now motivated by a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol VTEC three-cylinder engine that produces 90kW of power at 5500rpm and 173Nm of torque from 2000-4500rpm, and could do service in the next Jazz alongside its promised dual-motor hybrid set-up.
The marque says the Euro5-compliant unit “provides driving performance superior to the 1.5 litre-engine in the previous generation and powerful torque equivalent to a 1.8-litre engine”.
It is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which contributes to City’s claimed fuel consumption of 4.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined-cycle test. Carbon dioxide emissions are 99 grams per kilometre.