When tradition doesn’t meet expectations, there’s a need for change. This is practically what’s happening with the Honda Jazz-City tandem.
The Honda subcompact twins have traditionally had each other’s backs (pun intended) since 2001, standing as a sedan-hatchback pair amid Honda’s lineup. In layman’s terms, the Jazz has always been the City’s hatchback counterpart.
From a normal car buyer’s standpoint, if you want a trunk that’s separated from the body, go for the City. If you want the flexibility of a hatchback, go for the Jazz. It’s as simple as that.
Things have changed at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. Honda introduced the fourth-generation Jazz, or Fit if you prefer its JDM name. It’s a departure from the sporty styling of its predecessor, the current Jazz that we have in the Philippines. The overall design was polarizing, to put it lightly. I, for one, wasn’t completely sold with its design at first glance. I have to emphasize that last part – for some reason, the new-generation Jazz’s quirky design grew on me and it’s now more palatable as compared to when I first saw the car.
But it looks like the rest of the ASEAN doesn’t share this opinion with the introduction of the City Hatchback – based on the City that was recently revealed in the country. While the seventh-generation Honda City (fifth-generation in the Philippines) still shares its platform with Japan’s Fit, the styling is wildly different. Even in its non-RS trim, the City retains a sleek and kind-of-sporty design, especially when compared to the cutesy, grille-less GR Jazz.
Of note, the Jazz is currently offered in Japan and China right now, as well as in Europe. Other parts of the world are yet to announce its arrival – that includes the United States and the ASEAN market.
Here comes the City Hatchback
As mentioned, the departure from the new Jazz solidified further with the introduction of an all-new City Hatchback in Thailand just recently. Now, this isn’t the first time that Honda introduced a City Hatchback. In fact, the small sedan actually started its life as a hatchback in 1981. However, it has been a while since Honda dropped the City Hatchback from its range, which paved way for the introduction of the Jazz.
The return of the City Hatchback is the final nail in the coffin, so to speak. With the current scheme of things, it’s highly unlikely that Thailand will produce both the City Hatchback and Jazz for obvious reasons.
Will Honda Cars Philippines replace the Jazz next year?
It’s important to note that Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) imports the current-generation Jazz from Thailand. With that said, the introduction of the City Hatchback in the Asian Kingdom is almost a confirmation that we’ll also get it here, effectively replacing the Jazz.
But of course, don’t take our word as biblical. We reached out to HCPI about this speculation as part of our due diligence as an automotive journalist. The response is, of course, quite expected:
“As of now, apologies as we still have no update on this information. Rest assured that we will be releasing an announcement should there be plans of bringing in the City hatchback,” said Lyka-Mae D. Andres Section Manager – Public Relations, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc.
We’re expecting more updates from HCPI by next year, but we won’t be surprised if our notion holds true. If you ask us, it probably is a good move to bring the City Hatchback here instead of the Jazz. Sure, it’s a relatively new name, and the Jazz has been an integral part of the Philippine motoring industry with its over-a-decade of existence. But when it comes to looks, the City Hatchback, being the more standard-looking model, could sell better than the quirky next-gen Jazz.