The second model in Honda’s product portfolio to make use of its all-new 1.5 litre Earth Dreams turbo petrol engine, the Jade RS is pitched as a sportier alternative to the existing 1.5 litre hybrid models in the Jade range..
With 110kW of power and 203Nm of torque, outputs are modest for the Jade’s 1.5 turbo mill. It’s certainly well down in both metrics compared to the 1.5 litre turbo shown by Honda at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, which produced 150kW and 260Nm.
Still, Honda claims the Jade RS boasts torque equivalent to a 2.4 litre naturally-aspirated engine, and both power and torque are the same as that of the Honda Step WGN – which launched last month as the first model to receive the new Earth Dreams 1.5 litre turbo.
The sole transmission choice is a CVT automatic and power goes exclusively to the front wheels, but in a concession to keen drivers the Jade RS features paddle shifters for a seven-speed manual shift mode, a lower ride height and a unique spring and damper tune.
Compared to the Jade Hybrid, the Jade RS has 15 percent more front suspension stiffness and 20 percent more rear suspension stiffness, while a centre tunnel brace further increases chassis rigidity.
The Jade RS is also equipped with Honda’s Agile Handling Assist, which aids cornering performance by braking individual wheels to fight understeer – a technique known as brake vectoring.
The price in Japan? 2,530,000 Yen, or roughly AU$26,500 at current exchange rates.
If this sounds like an enticing recipe for a small six-seater wagon to you, hold on to your horses. Honda Australia has not indicated any intention to bring the Jade to Australia, and the 1.5 litre turbo engine that powers it remains “under consideration”.