When hybrid first introduced here in Malaysia a few years back, there were lots of questions especially on fuel consumption and the main concern would be how much would it costs to change the battery? I guessed when it comes to our country Malaysia, it would be how much dough you have to spend or manage to put aside that makes it viable to get a hybrid instead of its environment-friendly nature which actually is the main objective.
The first hybrid that graced our shores was the Prius but it was Honda who managed to break the market with the Insight. The success spiraled to a number of models in hybrid mode such as the CR-Z, Civic and the Jazz. It was the same with the rest of the manufacturers as now we have the Prius C, Cayenne, Panamera and a whole lot of others joining the hippie bandwagon.
Jazz Hybrid entered the fray a few months back and the bright green paintjob shouts eco-friendly continuously, not that we hate it… we actually loved it! Nevertheless, when I entered the Jazz, first thing I noticed was how spacious it was inside. I took it for a drive and it hit me smack in the face, I felt like being in an aquarium as the windshield is horrendously huge. Kinda remind me of being in a Multipla. It would be way much better to have the opposite sex driving it around town than a guy like me. The hotter the girl is the better as bystanders and other road-users can get a full glimpse of the driver without breaking the neck.
Being the first hybrid supermini made the Jazz unique on its one and sure as hell beat its rival in terms of getting the crowd frolicking the showroom for a closer glimpse of it. ANd surely that was the case as there’s quite a number of Jazz hybrid running around town without contaminating the much-polluted air of Kuala Lumpur and the rest of the country.
Powertrain of the Jazz is the same as the Honda Insight – a 1.3-litre i-VTEC engine combined with a CVT gearbox, with an electric motor sandwiched between the two to create a parallel hybrid system. It’s ideal for city driving with a smooth and seamless gearbox – the CVT. You still have both the pick up and top speed at your disposal, just don’t compare it to performance cars while you’re at it. Here’s what makes it better, a full tank would take you close to 800km, but that depends on how heavy your right foot is once you hold on to a steering.
Handling of the Jazz is smooth with a considerable amount of body sway if you take it on a spirited drive. At a price of RM90K++, it might be a ‘lil bit hefty but if you consider the less-frequent visit to the petrol station, it’s worth it to get one for daily commute especially for those in the urban area.
As for us here at Traffic, we’d surely tinker around with the Jazz, leaving the drivetrain off-limits as it would beat a purpose of eco-friendly and fuel-saving if you start upgrading for better pick-up and top speed, let alone the possibility of messing with the electronics and ended up with a good-for-nothing hybrid.
One thing for sure, we’d go for a complete custom bodykits to enhance the looks, changed the suspension system and get it lowered to the ground for those one in a month touge-drives. Bigger wheels, let’s make it a 17inchers while we’re at that. It might reduces the fuel-saving nature but surely worth the second glance by others I’d say. The seats are comfortable enough but the feeling of getting into a bucket seat would surely gets your heart pounding every when you have to get somewhere. Getting it a nice shades of tint would lower the possibility being gawked at while driving the Jazz especially when you’re a macho kinda guy. And that’s it. It would surely be a Jazz Hybrid I’d be more than willing to drive all the time without feeling like a softie.
words: Hage’ pix: Hazwan Najims virtual mods: Jeo