teaser site with countdown timing is already up.
AutoCar India's artist impression is pretty close to what the actual City will look like.
Second generation Jazz. Image from Kah Motor Singapore.
As far as design is concerned, there is nothing much to write about here. The car is already launched in Thailand and Singapore. In Japan, the Jazz (sold as Fit) is currently the best selling car, dethroning the traditional salaryman's favourite - the Toyota Corolla. You can download Singapore Jazz's brochure here. Ignore the 1.3-litre version and what you see there is pretty much the same car that we will be getting. I say pretty much because if I am not mistaken the current Singapore's Jazz is sourced from Japan (with a JDM 1.4-litre engine) while ours are from Thailand.
In Singapore, the entry level second-generation Jazz starts at SGD 65k, about SGD 4k about the top of the range outgoing City model. While in Thailand, the new Jazz starts at 560k Thai Baht, which about 85k Thai Baht lower than the top of the range outgoing City model.
As you might have already know, both the City (Fit Aria in Japan) and Jazz (Fit), which are built on the same Honda Global Small platform sharing the same powertrain. The previous generation Jazz and City (outgoing model) were offered with two different engine options (i-DSi and i-VTEC) which as I have said before in an earlier entry does not make any business sense. I am glad that Honda has stopped practising this as I think it is counter-productive in expanding your product's market penetration to new buyer segments. The new Jazz and City will be offered with a more logical engine line-up - only 1.5-litre L15A SOHC i-VTEC for Malaysia and Thailand while Singapore is getting an additional option of a 1.3-litre L13A SOHC i-VTEC. The engines are largely carried over from the previous model but with slight improvement in power output (+ 10 bhp for the 1.5-litre).
However, I am disappointed to find out that the CVT transmission from the previous model has been dropped in favour of a standard 5-speed automatic with manual override (F1-wanabe paddle shifters). I am disappointed because the outgoing Jazz and City (with CVTs) are clearly the superior product compared to Toyota's equivalent of Vios and Yaris. The differences in sales figures to me are due to brand recognition, marketing and company management, not the products. In fact I will go as far as saying that product wise, there is no comparison between them. It's almost an entirely different animal. But of course diplomatic motoring journos can't write that or risked being banned from any future test drive models. But I am an independent blogger. So...
The video below is a brief overview of the second-gen Jazz / Fit. The model shown here is a US market model (note the US regulation amber lense turn signals).
The previous Jazz and City achieved such outstanding fuel economy partly because of its CVT transmission. With the CVT being dropped, expect slightly less smooth driving experience and poorer fuel economy - as found out by Thai journos from Bangkok Post during their test drive. I am not sure if the early glitches related to Honda's CVT in the region have anything to do with this decision but to me its a step backwards. The problems with CVTs on early City and Jazz have been sorted out and the only people who go around saying CVTs are fragile and expensive to repair are Toyota salesmen and other ignorant people who can't read the service schedule in their owner's manual. If this is not the reason, then I think it has to be down to cost as Jazz (Fit) sold in Japan continue to be offered with CVTs. Steel prices have been rising and automakers are not immune to it, yet consumers expect not to pay any higher prices for their cars. Something has to give.
Moving on to the City. Thai automotive blog BKK Autos have revealed some details. Engine and transmission will be same as the Jazz (1.5 i-VTEC and 5-speed automatic). In Thailand, the City will be offered in 4 main variants - base S, V AT (single airbag), V AT SRS (dual airbags) and the top of the range SV. Like the Vios, base and mid-range S and V models will have beige interiors while the high-specs SV will have black interior. Exclusive specs for SV models are wing-mirror mounted indicators, front fog lamps and paddle shifters.
I expect the grade line-up for Malaysian market City to be more or less similar to Thailand, but the model line-up for Jazz should be substantially less than Thailand due to our smaller market size. My guess is that we will only adopt the mid and high range models from Thailand.
ASEAN market TVC for the outgoing City / Fit Aria.
There are rumours that the new City will also be exported to Australia and sold as the Fit Aria. Also, a hybrid version of the Jazz might debut by 2011. However some sources say it is more likely to be introduced by the 3rd generation Jazz in 2015.
2009 Honda City - First Images
More pictures of 2008 Honda City
2008 Honda City - unmasked, with interior shots