Honda Jazz hits a bum note…

What’s happening with Honda interior design?

Honda’s Jazz, or Fit as it’s known in the US, is a fairly mainstream B-segment hatch with some clever interior design details. In the UK at least it tends to be bought by a ‘senior’ demographic group..as it’s reliable, unexciting and practical. In the US and Japan, primarily because of more performance-oriented marketing it’s typically associated with younger buyers and perhaps small families. No matter – but the re-designed 2016 model introduces a new interior that must surely be sign-off error…hybrid-jazz-interior_0

Compare this to the previous-gen Jazz. There’s still a proliferation of random minor controls dotted around, but the overall volume is far more organic, flowing, and with the element of precision that honda are renowned for…

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Some of the chief offenders of the new interior;

  • Minor controls are seemingly thrown at random locations..the hazard switch, the ‘eco’ button to the right of the wheel. That old favourite of tucking the additional controls away on cheap blanking panels, almost hidden from view, a favourite of Japanese cars from the 80s and 90s;

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  • The different treatment of the vents. Where’s the harmony here?

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  • And the real eyesore is the lack of creativity in the treatment of the touchscreen / infotainment.Acres of piano-black plastic, surrounding a very aftermarket-looking touchscreen..

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There’s a wealth of competition out there who have worked through the opportunities that touchscreens can afford their interior designers, and have explored different layouts of screen that give a sense of space, clarity, minimalism even. Mazda’s 2 being a great example;

2015-Mazda2-interior

or Peugeot’s 208;

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Compare these to the Toyota Corolla which seems to be from the same mold as the Honda;

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..and again we have that after-market screen appearance combined with shiny black plastic.

My assumption is that between Honda’s compact cars; HR-V, Jazz, Civic, CR-V etc. there is a bunch of cross-platform commonisation that requires this touchscreen to be used across all models. Fair enough, it’s a tough business to make money in, but Honda, you can’t afford not to push interior design to keep track of the competiton. It’s odd – in the Japanese domestic market there are some incredibly innovative design solutions that the OEMs develop for their home markets. Yet, when it comes to the international market, many of those same companies seem to be unsure about their design identity, and revert to a fairly characterless design language. Mazda have addressed this successfully; Honda need to join them.

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