Thursday, February 12, 2015

Honda Jade

2015 Honda Jade

The all-new Honda Jade MPV served as the replacement to the Stream, which was discontinued last year along with the 1.8L VTEC engine in it, and although it doesn't look as decent as the Stream it replaces as well as the fact that this is a hybrid MPV, there's some potential going on with Honda's brand new people carrier fit enough to carry your friends or family on your next day-off or holiday or vacation, whatever you're dealing on your planner right now.

2015 Honda Jade

Of course this is a brand new MPV from Honda but underneath, it's just the third-generation Fit just like what the Vezel crossover and the Grace sedan had. Because it's based on the latest Honda Fit, it comes with the 1.5L petrol engine connected to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery while mated with Honda's ambitious but rubbish seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. Not just that, it was the next Honda to be equipped with the revolutionary Honda Sensing safety system first applied on the flagship Legend saloon and the updated version of the latest Honda Odyssey luxury minivan. I'll talk about those later but first, the design.

The design is more of a mixed reactions of good and bad but overall, it looks somewhat average. Not too good but not too bad either. It even comes with Honda's signature "EXCITING H DESIGN!!!" language that tries to mask this MPV into something exciting but in truth, wasn't as exciting as drivers would hope for but never mind about that because that doesn't bother that fact of being a people carrier that offers practicality for all.

2015 Honda Jade interior

2015 Honda Jade interior

The inside view also comes with mixed reactions between good and bad. The dashboard's all futuristic and really means business for the driver in charge. Once more, you can seat up to six people inside and what's more clever is that the 2nd row seats can be arranged V-wards back and forth.

Space is a big issue here for the Jade and because of the third-row seat occupied the entire rear, there's no room for your groceries you've shopped and there's going to be some situations you'll be facing with. You can either fold the rear seats (if you don't have someone at the back) or you can tell them (if they're seating in the back) to hold it for them. Wow. This is definitely not your kind of MPV if you have mates going out with you on an outdoor trip to Mt. Fuji or Hokkaido so what now? Looks like the rear space is a big issue for the Jade when the third-row seats are present.

2015 Honda Jade

Now, let's examine the Jade's hybrid powerplant and since this is based on the Fit hatchback, it comes with the 1.5L petrol engine connected to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery while mated with Honda's ambitious but rubbish seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. With this powerplant, the combined power output of the Jade is a modest 152PS, the equivalent of what most 2.0L petrol engines produced. Fuel economy, 25.0kmpl.

The Jade's fuel economy is somewhat 1.2kmpl short than its chief rival, the Toyota Prius Alpha, but don't slack off because while the Prius Alpha is focused to be a fuel-efficient MPV for the masses, the new Jade is focused to be an engaging hybrid MPV you can enjoy driving as much as you like and because it has that double clutch gearbox rather than CVT, it feels like a normal car for a stop. My only worries is the quality of the gearbox because just like what its siblings faced in the past, looks like this double-clutch gearbox doesn't last long. Who knows, there's going to be a possible glitch or failures but let's forget about it and keep our fingers crossed. Who knows, this gearbox will run smoothly as usual...I think.

With handling features such as the double wishbone rear suspension, dual pinion electronic power steering, and some special 17-inch noise reducing aluminum wheels, the new Jade feels somewhat to the okay zone I think. It may not be the most fun MPV to drive today but it's more refined, quiet, and somewhat comfortable as well. When driving carefully, it feels fine but when the going gets tough, looks like the Jade feels like it's not made for beating. I was talking about understeering issues, if you know what I mean.

Now, the new Honda Sensing safety system. First applied on the Legend flagship, this new system includes Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow. Sadly though, the Pedestrian Collision Mitigation Steering System on the Legend isn't present. But still, this hybrid MPV really proves that the future of car safety really is now thanks to science and common sense.

Should you buy one? The new Jade starts at a reasonably priced 2,920,000 Japanese Yen, cheaper than the 5-seater Toyota Prius Alpha so that is quite a bargain but is it worth money well spent for this hybrid MPV that is less efficient than the Prius Alpha but overall more engaging to own? The rest is up to you.

Available colors: White Orchid Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, Super Platinum Metallic, Mandarin Gold Metallic, Premium Deep Rosso Pearl. and Premium Blue Opal Metallic.

Photo: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

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