Things are brewing at Honda. It’s back fighting in Formula One after a nine-year absence. The NSX reportedly lives as a very proud successor to the last. There’s also a Type R in its ranks that’s doing damage to respected stalwarts in the hot-hatch segment.
While the Civic Type R has put this performance offensive within reach of mortals, we believe the trickle-down effect isn’t yet complete and there’s untapped potential in the bustling supermini battle for Honda to stake a claim.
After all, what better way to rebuild a brand’s reputation than by recruiting new loyalists who don’t remember, and therefore can’t make comparisons to, the loftily remembered past?
That’s right, we’re suggesting a Type R based on the cheap-as-chips Jazz.
Ford does it with the Fiesta ST, as do VW, Peugeot, and Renault. So if Honda really wants to take on these players, it’ll need to do so at every level. A Jazz hasn’t ever been the focus of its go-fast division but tuners have proved just how apt and easy a hotter version would be.
This is how we’d go about it:
Unfortunately, Frankenstein fans, there’s just no way the Civic Type R’s monstrous 2.0-litre turbo four would fit in the Jazz’s engine bay. There is, however, enough room for the brand’s new 1.5-litre turbo four. While an ‘eco’ engine in the next-gen Civic, with 134kW and 240Nm, the reworked unit’s a total powerhouse in the tiny Jazz.
Matched only to a six-speed manual, the engine will drive front 215mm-wide tyres through closely-stacked ratios. Honda will pay close attention to shift feel if it’s to continue tradition. A strict diet will see less than 1000kg to drag along, and it’ll claw its way to 100km/h from rest in 6.9sec, and hurry on to a 225km/h top speed.
Power’s one thing, but if it’s to really makes its mark, the Jazz Type R will need a sorted chassis too. Stiffer springs drop it by 10mm, while firmer bushes at every major suspension link sharpen its reflexes. More negative camber at the front and an ESP-based front ‘LSD’ complete the transformation.
On the Picks
The stock rear drums are binned and Brembo brakes give the Jazz Type R class-leading accuracy and retardation on the picks. They’re hiding behind Civic Type R-aping 17-inch rims, while an optional aero-honed body kit (pictured) signals the Jazz Type R intent.
Inside, dials glow red and the gear-knob is polished alloy. Keeping it under $30K, Honda ditches alloy pedals but keeps grabby Recaros. Finishing the transformation is a red LED background to the ‘H’ badge on the steering wheel.