To better appreciate and highlight the features of its refreshed variants, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc, one of the major players in the domestic automotive industry, shepherded motoring writers for a road trip to the summer capital of the country, Baguio City. Joining the media contingent was newly minted HCPI president and GM Noriyuki Takakura, who gamely traded bottles of the bubbly with the motoring media.
The participants were strategically placed in six media units with driver and car changes done along the route. For the first leg of the trip, this writer was placed in a lunar metallic colored Jazz number three with my colleagues Eggay Quesada and Olson Camacho of Autocar Ph.
Starting from Honda’s corporate headquarters at the BGC in Taguig, the 10-car convoy with the new City, Jazz and Mobilio, snaked its way through early morning traffic and drove up to the twisty roads of the Kennon road up to the City of Pines. “The stylish exterior, interior and feature upgrades, spacious and flexible interior, and advanced safety features of the New City, New Mobilio, and New Jazz aim to serve the needs of the Filipino Customers,” says Takakura, who presented the remodeled variants during a breakfast product briefing prior to our ride and drive event.
Being a sub-compact, the Jazz is a joy to drive in an urban environment. The light feel of the steering, the spacious cabin and cool climate control allowed us to breeze through the traffic clogged EDSA, as we inched our way to the NLEX.
The new audio-video seven-inch touch screen system kept us entertained throughout the five-hour journey, as reminisced days gone by with some eighties and nineties music. The fun part began as we hit the NLEX and SCTEX, as we pushed the cars to the speed limit. It’s a good thing that the lead car was driven by a former race car driver George Ramirez, who kept a fast and comfortable pace for the convoy.
The rev-happy SCTEX road network allowed us to test the capability of the 1.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine that produces a maximum power of 120 ps and a maximum torque of 14.8 kg-m. The engine of the three vehicles also proved capable of driving in different road conditions as the participants drove up and around the winding roads of Baguio City. The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) developed under Earth Dreams Technology provided a consistent delivery of power with uncompromised fuel efficiency which is ideal for traversing the twisty uphill roads of Kennon and Baguio city.
I particularly like the stylish exterior of the New Mobilio and the Jazz RS, with its aggressive front end and visually appealing body color of Phoenix Orange Pearl and blood red for the RS variants. Passenger safety was further ensured with the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist (HSA) which now come standard in select variants of the New City, Jazz and Mobilio.
The day ended in true Honda fashion, a sumptuous dinner buffet and overflowing drinks and good camaderie. The test drive experience proved that the New City, New Mobilio, and New Jazz can be the perfect vehicle to any kind of driving situation with stylish aesthetics, a powerful yet fuel efficient engine, generous cargo space with class leading features to boot.