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We’re still dabbing the corners of our eyes over Honda’s decision to keep its newest-generation Jazz hatchback—known to you as the Fit—from the American market. While the previous Fit lost some of the sparky handling magic that made its utterly practical, fun-to-drive predecessors so good, it was still a compellingly space- and fuel-efficient little box with a highly flexible interior layout that could swallow people and cargo like a clown car. The newest Fit debuted late last year, and it was to make another appearance at the 2020 Geneva auto show, giving us a closer look at the Fit/Jazz’s new faux-SUV variant, the Jazz Crosstar.
With the Geneva show called off due to the coronavirus, a rundown of Honda’s press release and its latest photos of the Crosstar are as much as we’ll get. So, here goes: Like the regular Fit/Jazz it was shown alongside in 2019, the Crosstar is not coming to the U.S. market. It overlaps even more heavily with the HR-V Honda sells here than it does with the Fit, and clearly, SUV-crazed Americans would sooner snap up an HR-V (or the larger CR-V) before they’d consider a similarly priced car of the same size. Besides, we can probably all see past the Jazz Crosstar’s costume here—it is literally only a Jazz dressed up with tougher-looking bodywork, roof rails, a lifted ride height, and water-resistant seat covers.
Honda describes the tiny crossover’s appearance as “rugged,” but we’d hardly go that far. Instead, this is a Fit spinoff that’s still basically a front-wheel-drive subcompact hatch. The overall effect is similar to that applied to the Chevrolet Spark Activ and the most recent Toyota Prius C, although we think the Jazz looks adorable, and the Crosstar upgrades, such as they are, don’t take much away from its cuteness. Underneath the natty off-road-y bits, the Crosstar shares its standard gas engine and CVT with the regular Jazz; the Jazz’s nifty two-motor hybrid setup is also available. As with the Fit/Jazz, the Crosstar’s “Magic” rear seats can be flipped and folded every which way to accommodate a wide variety of cargo.
That about covers it. We would have poked and prodded the little Honda in person next week, but with no more Geneva show, that’s off the table. Also, we have no idea what “Crosstar” is in reference to, by the way, but Honda did use a similar name on a lifted, hatchback-ified Accord sold here in the U.S. about ten years ago: the Crosstour.