It’s looking more and more likely that Southeast Asia will lose the global Honda Jazz model with the advent of the fourth generation, instead receiving a sportier, more low-slung hatchback version of the new, regionalised City. Patent drawings of said model surfaced last week, and now our resident Photoshop wizard Theophilus Chin has furnished us renders showing us what this car should look like in the metal.
As the drawings showed, the five-door will pretty much be identical to the sedan from the B-pillars forward, sharing the slim headlights, full-width chrome trim above the grille, clamshell bonnet, rearwards A-pillar positioning and wing mirrors mounted on stalks on the doors.
Even towards the unique rear end, the hatch will use the same rear doors as the sedan, the design of which has clearly been compromised for double duty compared to the doors of the bespoke previous-generation City sedan. One change of note is that the fuel filler door has rather awkwardly been placed on the C-pillars, due to the significantly shorter rump.
At the back, the hatch retains the sedan’s trapezoidal tail lights (with U-shaped graphics) and vertical reflectors, with the resulting look being reminiscent of the W177 Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch. The interior should also retain the sedan’s busy-looking dashboard and Accord-style three-spoke steering wheel, a departure from the new Jazz’s handsome minimalist dash and two-spoke wheel.
Expect the City Hatchback to be powered by the same 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine offered on the sedan in Thailand, making 122 PS and 173 Nm of torque and paired to the CVT. There’s also a possibility of the Jazz e:HEV’s hybrid powertrain, which utilises a 98 PS/127 Nm 1.5 litre four-pot that acts as a generator of sorts for the 109 PS/253 Nm electric motor.
It’s still unclear if this City Hatchback will indeed replace the Jazz in ASEAN, or if it will remain in China as a successor to the Gienia. If it’s the former, then Honda would be taking a page out of the Toyota playbook, as the Yaris for this region is little more than a Vios hatchback. However, the T brand could be doing a switcheroo this round and bring in the latest Japanese/European-market Yaris over here. Which one would you prefer – the international Jazz and Yaris models, or their regional counterparts?