Toyota Prius C vs Honda Jazz Hybrid – The battle for the most affordable hybrid

May 04, 12 Toyota Prius C vs Honda Jazz Hybrid – The battle for the most affordable hybrid

Hybrid is the IN thing nowadays. With global warming making those living in Malaysia feel like they’re in a perpetual sauna with the occasional freak storm thrown in to liven things up, the population is getting more aware of the importance of environment preservation. Of course, having more disposable income from not buying so much fuel is one of the key considerations in going hybrid and coupled with attractive incentives from the government by imposing zero taxes on imported hybrid vehicles has made hybrids (at least the smaller cc ones) much more affordable.

Honda and Toyota has made the hybrid more interesting by fielding 2 of its cheapest hybrid models: The Prius C and Jazz Hybrid. Both claims excellent FC, exhilarating acceleration, low CO2 emmissions and excellent NVH. All these, for a price less than RM100,000. So which is a better buy?

Design

Design has always been a very subjective affair. Personally, I find both the Prius C and Jazz to have their unique styling and I wouldn’t mind being seen in either one (although I felt like a gorilla in a cage with the smaller Prius C cabin)

In terms of dimensions, the Prius C is longer at 3,995mm vs Jazz 3,900mm, both have the same width at 1,695mm and the Jazz is taller at 1,525mm vs Prius C’s 1,455mm (for the sake of comparison, a Myvi’s dimensions is L3,690/W1,665/H1,545). The taller Jazz translates to better headroom for both front and rear passengers and I do not feel as claustrophobic in the Jazz compared to the Prius C.

Performance

The Prius has a 1.5litre engine paired to an electronically controlled CVT gearbox. The motor is powered by a 144-volt nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery. Total output is rated at 101PS with 111Nm of torque. When I tested it, I was somewhat disappointed because it felt like a normal 1.5litre engine that’s unassisted by any motor. Compared to the Prius Prius (pun intended), the Prius C lacks a Power mode so you only get to choose ECO mode or EV mode, both of which does not give you a boost like the Prius Prius. When starting up the car, it does so like it’s elder brother …. no sound, no vibration. The only indication comes from the monitor (which looked rather cute)

Surprisingly, there is no RPM meter in the Prius C so it gets a bit annoying when I encounter the engine droning a little when I accelerate more quickly and don’t know how fast is the engine spinning which then gives me some indication how much I should let off the gas). Steering position is rather low and though this increases visibility, I have the impression I’m driving a low-seating height van. I couldn’t test the EV mode as the battery level was low when I drove it.

The Jazz Hybrid on the other hand has a 1.3litre i-VTEC engine with IMA paired to a CVT gearbox with paddle shift (the same combo in the Honda Insight). The total output is 88PS (engine) + 10PS (motor) with 121Nm (engine) + 78Nm(motor). There is no data on the combined horsepower and torque but when driving, the Jazz felt lighter and quicker off the line.

Comfort and Convenience

Both cars has multifunction steering wheels and are pretty light to operate. I like the steering feedback of the Jazz more though.

The Prius C’s buttons are neat and clear; kinda reminds me of a joypad. From here you can check the energy monitor, drive information, ECO score, 5-min consumption and past record.

The Jazz’s steering on the other hand has a more conventional layout. From it, you can see various information such as distance to empty, seat belt use, ECO score, trip meter, driving time, average fuel consumption, battery charge status.

Both cars offers good rear legroom space (first pic is Prius C vs Jazz)

Cruise control is standard on both cars (Prius C uses a stalk whereas Jazz uses buttons):

But the Jazz trumps the Prius C by offering paddle shifters:

as well as auto light:

In addition, the main selling point of the Jazz (any Jazz) is the utilitarian space it has to offer, in particular in the rear. With it’s ULTRA (or some call it, Magic) seats, you can literally transform the rear configuration to virtually any arrangement you want:

With it’s rear seats folded down, you get a whopping 846litres worth of space … probably enough to fit an elephant in there. The hatchback configuration also allows a wide boot aperture, which makes packing odd box sizes in a breeze

In addition, the rear seats of the Jazz can be reclined by about (best estimation) 5 degrees which translates to better comfort for rear passengers in long distance journeys (note the alignment of the rear seats which is slightly off in the picture above)

Another key point the Jazz has over the Prius C is the availability of nooks and holes for every conceivable bottle you have:

On the top right of the dashboard at the driver’s side, Smart tag goes in here

Water bottles here

Sunglasses, toolkits, notepads, handphones and whatever nots can be neatly stowed away here at the twin compartments.

Both cars have manual headlight leveling and electric side mirrors:

The Prius C has keyless Push Start, making it very convenient for ladies so that they don’t have to rummage through their handbags for keys.

One good feature the Prius has is optional reverse camera. The image is clear and crisp but lacks guidance lines so it needs a little getting used to. At least I won’t be reversing onto children playing behind the car.

Also, the Prius C has GPS navigation …. your other half will never need to call you while you’re in the middle of a meeting asking for directions.

I love the Jazz’s funky speedometer which changes color according to your driving style (aggressive means blue while green is eco)

With regards to the spare tire, in the Prius C, you get a full sized tire whereas Jazz gives you a puncture repair kit

Safety

Here’s the plus point of both cars. I have never been an advocate of Toyota and Honda because I share the common belief that the principal dealers here under-spec and over-price their cars. But this is not entirely true with these hybrids.

The Prius C has 7 airbags, vehicle stability control (VSC), traction control (TC), ABS, EBD, BA as well as Hill Start Assist.
The Jazz on the other hand comes with 6 airbags, vehicle stability assist (VSA), ABS, EBD, BA and Hill Start Assist so accident victims in the Prius C has better protection against knee injuries (that 1 additional airbag) compared to the Jazz.

I have always been an advocate for active and passive vehicle safety and with both Honda and Toyota giving the full specifications in terms of increasing passenger/driver survivability, I am most pleased.

In terms of headlights, I must also mention that the Prius C comes with projector headlights while the Jazz is normal reflectors:

This means owners can choose to retrofit HID for better illumination that will not glare against oncoming traffic too much. Doing the same on the Jazz may result in excessive reflection too high up and pose a threat to other motor users.

Maintenance

In this respect, the Prius C is better since owners need to bring their car in only once every 10,000km while Jazz follows the typical 5,000km service interval. Not only it saves in terms of convenience but in terms of total ownership, owners may pay less with the Prius C in the long run.

The cost of replacing the battery in the Prius C is estimated between RM11,000 to RM12,000 whereas for the Jazz, it’s about RM8,000 (unverified; as told by the sales person so please reconfirm if you happen to visit the dealership)

So in the end, which is the better car? I really can’t say because it all depends on your priorities. The only thing I hate about the Jazz is the (IMHO) flimsy door handles which does not inspire as much confidence compared to the Prius C

Otherwise, if it was up to me, I’d pick the Jazz not because of the fact that it’s cheaper (RM94,800 OTR with insurance vs Prius C RM97,000 OTR) but because of its utility.

Having said that, the Prius C remains to be the more popular choice among Malaysians with waiting list as long as 6-7 months (so don’t be surprised if you find Toyota salespersons not being too enthusiastic in selling this car to you because they won’t get their commission until the delivery of the car).

So do visit the nearest showrooms and take your time in deciding if you are looking at either model. Whichever way you choose, you won’t be wrong.

Here’s a video of how the Prius C works:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-atyVcjcM7I]

Here’s how the Honda IMA Hybrid works:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tu8MdOFeZ0]

I would be most honored and grateful if you could visit https://www.facebook.com/Kensomuse  and Like the page to show your support and receive updates on the latest articles.  Comments are most welcomed. Thank you very much!

468 ad

19 Comments

  1. Good overview, but I would like to add some comments here.

    PriusC starts easily on electric motor that has 169Nm of torque. Jazz Hybrid starts like a regular car with the petrol engine which has peak rating of 121Nm at a high 4800 rpm which is assisted in series by a small electric motor 78Nm for a total 199Nm when pedal is press down to the max. The advantage for PriusC is naturally better fuel economy for everyday driving.

    Next, figures for 0-100kmh performance has PriusC with 10.7s easily beating JH slower 12.1s . This comes from PriusC having a sleeker lighter body and its 101PS total power which is a higher then the Jazz Hybrid's 98PS that is available near redline 5800rpm.

    Hence, I have to disagree with your subjective comment of JH being quicker off the line.

  2. Hi mkhor, thanks for the compliment. As mentioned, I do not have the full engine performance specification and have no doubt your data is correct.

    With such an earlier gap in my information, I could only share what I "felt" in terms of acceleration and does not necessarily translate to real world figures. Apologies for the wrong impression created.

    I do hope you can continue to share any irregularities you encounter as you browse through here. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

  3. hi
    obviously you did not review in detail on the actual fuel consumptions comparison – beat the purpose of reviewing hybrid car?

    i test drove prius c and found it very dull indeed..especially the interior design

    i own a honda and feel that the 5k km interval service is a nuisance and believe it was done to support the honda dealer franchise.
    the honda dealer workshops are way too small compared to toyotas…. like waiting in post office.

    i will test drive the jazz hybrid soon… and decide which one to buy

  4. Hi Miah,

    Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, without an extended use of a test car, I hesitate to post FC because it is largely dependent on driving style and driving conditions. Even if both cars are given to me for use, I cannot 100% say I can recreate the exact same conditions on how the FC parameters are taken.

    I agree with you about the 5k km service intervals of Honda and have duly mentioned it here. However, I do not agree that Honda dealer workshops are too small …. there are some such as the Sg Buloh SC that is pretty big and well equipped.

    Good luck in your hunt for the ideal hybrid!

  5. Hi Kenso,

    I heard that the gov will even further reduce tax on hybrids, and the word is that hybrids like the Insight and Prius-C could even be priced as low as RM7x,xxx.

    Is this just hot air?

  6. Miah /

    Hi Kenso.,
    Just to update
    I have decided for Jazz Hybrid:
    1) much better interior styling
    2) bigger and more practical
    3) my wife and kids love Jazz more than the prius c despite telling them the Hybrid synergy technology etc2… and because i also own an accord
    4) its good for city driving to/fro office
    5) pick up its good but at slow speed crusing, sometimes the engine and motor keep cutting in and off. so not so smooth… and full EV mode is practically non-existing (very rare)
    6) i am still at 650km, so still too early – so far getting about 5.7L/100km
    7) based on claimed fuel consumption (published) Jazz 22.3km/l vs Prius C 28.5km/l.
    for 20,000km per year – if I use prius c – i will get saving of about Rm1 per day compared to jazz hybrid. such a small saving. not worth it to get stuck with such inferior interior…

    but the biggets reason for buying hybrid is the tax/duty/eksais deduction..
    i am already paying 25% of my monthly salary for income tax.. so i am not paying anything more..
    imagine my 2.4L accord costed my about rm172k and it only cost USD$24k in the US.
    and insight cost RM100k here and about USD$18k in the US.

    rgds
    Miah

    • Thanks Miah. I truly appreciate your comments.

    • Im in dilemma of choosing betweem prius or JH. At the moment more towards JH but my dad been promoting prius for the good pick up and acceleration. Can u explain more regarding ur point no 5? TQ

  7. Brian Tan /

    A little bit of update here. Latest model of Civic, Civic hybrid and City are extended to 10k service interval, 5 yrs unlimited mileage warranty and unlimited mileage warranty for hybrid’s battery.

    • That’s true …. but unfortunately that service package is not extended to other earlier launched models. Hopefully we will see a reversal soon

  8. I’m planning to get a Jazz Hybrid soon (that’s why I’m reading your very informative article). Preferring the JH over PriusC because of the brand, interior, cockpit meters, ULTRA seats, etc.
    There are 6 Free services in the maintenance packages, though it’s still 5k service intervals.

  9. I also had test drove both car….and i prefer Jazz than prius….both have advantages and disadvantages….but in term of benefit i think prius more ok than jazz..because it toyota..and they had already produced and sold the car widely around the world..if honda give 5 years unlimited mileadge warranty…it would be great…..
    i’m now considering to buy 1…..

  10. I have just started researching the merits of buying Honda jazz hybrid vs Toyota Prius C. Your review on both cars has been very useful to me. I like your layman comparison to Myvi, as added perspective. Your review has just made my decision making process easier. Thanks for the sharing.

  11. animous /

    I’m user of Hybrid Jazz since July 2012. All I can say is that I’m very happy with my CBU model since it has Paddle shift, 6 airbag and front and rear disc brake. However I do not recommend the CKD made in malaysia Jazz since it has stripped down so many features. Only front disc brake, drum at rear, 2 airbag, no paddle shift, no audio control on steering. Really dissapointed.

  12. Amisah /

    Such a good article. Really makes me easier to make a decision whether to buy prius or jazz. I’ve booked jazz and waiting for the car to be deliver to me. Will update soon on the extra advantages (if any that is not written here). Tq for the great review!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current month ye@r day *