I believe the Honda City Hatchback is a worthy Jazz replacement

It was 2004 when Honda Cars Philippines introduced the first Honda Jazz here, also known as the Fit in other markets. I just entered college then and only a few months later, more and more students got a hold of the all-new Jazz, populating parking spots around the campus. 

Little did everyone know, the Jazz will become a staple in Honda’s Philippines lineup. It has amassed a fan base, a cult following even, and that’s because of its sporty allure that’s partnered with a relatively affordable price point. 

For beginners and seasoned drivers alike, the Jazz is a default recommendation as a first car, especially for those who don’t default to Toyota. Its proven reliability and ease of maintenance have become a stronghold for expert and novice opinions, further cementing its foothold in the country.

Such is the pedestal that the all-new City Hatchback needs to go after. HCPI sadly followed what our ASEAN neighbors did – dropping the polarizing, cute, and honestly less appealing Jazz that was revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show two years ago, and opting for the hatchback version of the venerable City.

Having the City Hatchback to replace the Jazz isn’t exactly a mind-boggling move. The Jazz, despite bearing a different name, has always been based on the same underpinnings as the City sedan. Then again, the Jazz has its own character and persona, which can be attributed to its practicality and flexibility as a five-door model.

With that said, is the all-new City Hatchback a worthy Jazz replacement? Is it enough to jazz up HCPIs sporty-looking lineup? Is it a perfect fit into the void the outgoing model has left behind? I’ve had the chance to experience the City Hatchback in the metal before its launch, and my verdict is what made you read this story in the first place.

Its a Jazz that weve grown to but with a different name

When asked to describe the Honda Jazz in four words, you’ll more likely hear the words sporty, handsome, practical, and f-boy. All those words, yes, f-boy included, are represented by the City Hatchback.

It looks good, front and back, and the RS badge and whatever cosmetic enhancements that come with it all make the hatchback look sporty than it actually is. There are even some carbon fiber prints on the front and rear bumper to dial up the pizzazz. 

Although I must say and I literally couldn’t unsee this, the rear overhang seems a tad too long, which makes the wheels seem small.

Despite that minor design flaw, I can’t deny that the City Hatchback has an absolute appeal on me the way the Jazz did in its latest RS version, especially in the metal. Never mind the naysayers saying that it’s just a five-door version of the City. They’re missing the point

But more importantly and this goes beyond the looks, the City Hatchback gets the ULTR seats that the outgoing Jazz has. The acronym, which stands for Utility, Long, Tall, and Refresh, is found in the City Hatchback’s spec sheet and I’ve witnessed its use during the shoot.

So yes, the rear backrests fold completely onto the floor to reveal a flat cargo area; the rear seats fold up to accommodate tall cargo in the second row; the front passenger seat reclines completely flat to allow long cargo like surfboards; and lastly, both front seats can recline to allow a refreshing nap for two.

This ULTR configuration makes the City Hatchback attain the practicality that the Jazz offered before.

Handsome? Check. Practical? Check. F-boy? That depends on you. The only thing left to prove is the City Hatchback being sporty, which I have yet to judge since I haven’t had a decent time with it on the road. But judging the way the City sedan performed before, it won’t be a long shot to call the five-door City Hatchback sporty – but that ultimately depends on how well you can conform to the quirks of a CVT.

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