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We’ve seen the third generation 2014 Honda Jazz/Fit here before, but details were scarce and there were only a few pictures to go with them then. Now, the all-new compact car is ready to be launched in its home market, Japan, and with it Honda has released more details of its engine options, chassis qualities and interior features.

The new Jazz/Fit retains the design concept of the original model, but features a completely redesigned powertrain and body. Always a Jazz USP, the centre fuel tank layout is intact, but has now been refined for a significant reduction in weight and improved interior space.

Both the exterior and interior has been reworked around Honda’s new design concept, creatively called “Exciting H Design.” The new design identity, incorporating the “Solid Wing Face” makes its debut on this model, and will be applied in stages to other Honda models around the world.

It eschews much of its predecessors’ styling traits. The basic shape is still recognisable as a Jazz/Fit but it has taken a much more aggressive approach, both at the front and rear. The sides too possess dramatic lines and deep creases to appear more sophisticated than before.

There’s a stark departure on the inside too. Simplification is the chosen direction here, with most dashboard buttons replaced by touch-based controls. There’s a large touchscreen panel that sits flush on the dashboard where the audio controls used to be, with an intuitive smartphone-like interface. The air-con controls are all new as well, now using touch pads.

At the bottom of the all-Earth Dreams Technology-equipped range sits a new 1.3 litre Atkinson cycle DOHC i-VTEC engine. No power figures are available yet, but Honda claims a “very high output” for this motor. It achieves class-leading fuel economy of 26.0 km per litre on the Japanese JC08 cycle, rivalling that of previous Honda hybrids.

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Next up is a brand new 1.5 litre direct-injection DOHC i-VTEC engine that offers a 10% higher output than before. The current Honda Jazz 1.5 has 120 PS, so that makes 132 PS. There are three transmission options: five-speed manual (1.3), six-speed manual (1.5, only with the RS package) or EDT CVT (all variants, with optional paddle shifters).

The range-topping Fit Hybrid features a new, one-motor Sport Hybrid i-DCD (Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive) system matched to a 1.5 litre Atkinson cycle DOHC i-VTEC engine. Fuel economy is off the charts, rated at 36.4 km per litre – the highest of any vehicle in Japan bar plug-in hybrid models.

A new electric servo braking system increases regeneration efficiency to the lithium-ion battery, while a fully electric compressor reduces engine load. These and other additions allow the new model to offer a significant 35% improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous IMA hybrid system.

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It has three driving modes: EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive, which are selected automatically based on conditions. The hybrid performs off-the-line starts in full EV mode, Honda says. The hybrid powertrain is matched to a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which can be specified with paddle shifters.

Not forgetting safety, the 2014 Honda Jazz/Fit features Honda’s G-Force Control Technology (G-CON) and Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. The active safety front includes VSA, Hill-Start Assist, Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) and City-Brake Active, accompanied by side curtains and front seat i-side airbags with staged inflation.

Available on the new model is a rotating front passenger seat – a feature that is likely to stay within Japan. It retains the basic design and comfort of the standard passenger seat, but the rotating chair has a lower cushion with a smooth front edge for easier entry and egress.

In Japan, the 2014 Honda Fit range starts at ¥1,265,000 (RM41,600) for the base 13G model sans any equipment packages, and tops out at ¥1,930,000 (RM63,500) for the top-spec Hybrid S Package. There are 11 colours to choose from, of which five are new, with two model-exclusive options – Vivid Sky Blue Pearl for the Hybrid and RS-only Sunset Orange II.

So, what do you think of the new Jazz/Fit and Honda’s new design direction? No one can blame them for not trying hard enough this time, that’s for certain. Voice your opinions in the comments section below.

Honda Fit 1.3/1.5

Honda Fit Hybrid

Honda Fit RS