Honda launched the new model of the Jade on February 12, 2015. It is a three-row, six-passenger low-height minivan. I asked the developer, “However, when we talk of low-height minivans, Honda already has the Stream up until now. How are the Jade and Stream related to each other?”
“We started developing the Jade in order to correspond to demands not only from Japan, but also demands from China, America, Europe and all other parts of the world.” If the Jade were to become a successor to the Stream, it would suffer from limitations. In order to start anew, we moved forward in developing a new model that does not just succeed the Stream.” Mr. Yoichi Iiyama explained. Iiyama is one of the three LPL agents assisting the chief developer; he is also very skilled when it comes to cars.
The Jade was thus developed as a global car. The first step in accomplishing this goal was when it was released in China in Autumn of 2013.
“It gained great popularity in China. Many people in China are in need of expanded vehicles with only two rows of seats. This is because high class sedans are also provided with long wheel base specifications. Even though many looked happy when they saw the three-row minivan seats, there were still many people who would prefer to buy two-row cars as they would think the additional row is unnecessary. Five people can already sit in the second row bench seats. We also designed a version of the vehicle with two-row seats for the Japan market.”, said Iiyama. He said that if there are requests from the Japanese market, they can also sell vehicles with two-row seats.
“The minivan market in Japan is stable. Normally, a minivan has three rows. However, there are customers who are already used to three-row seat minivans but are seeking utility minivans, tall minivans that have flat flooring. When we asked customers who were using the Stream and the Odyssey, they said that they would use the three-row seat vehicles for several times in a year. However, those times would usually be for emergency purposes. The fact of the matter is, it will be bothersome if we do not use it on those times.”
It is mostly used for emergencies, but adults can properly ride on the seats. It was the three-row seat concept of the Jade. But, how does it differ from the one in China and in Japan?
“People in China want to ride on spacious vehicles, so we are putting efforts into making their rides more convenient. Since Japan has winding roads, many people use sports cars since they are ideal. This is why we also designed it to be sporty in a way. Also, it was developed with a hybrid system in order to show its special features. Given it has all the excellent points of innovation that result to its fine quality and sportiness. ‘You would think it’s cool just by looking at it!’ That is our aim.” Iiyama added.
The way the Jade runs is not like a minivan; on the contrary, it runs close to how a sedan does. However, the ride feels hard on very slow speeds, but with enough speed, it eventually feels flat.
“Internally, we want to express its characteristic as a Honda vehicle and materialize its sportiness in running, so we are precisely taking note of its marginal performance. However, its riding feel has became quite tighter. There is such a disparity. In order to appeal with its fine quality, we put emphasis on its NV performance. Especially on the height of its tranquility. We are aiming for passengers on the first and second row seats to be able to have normal conversations even when running at very high speeds.”
The new model of the Jade was developed as its sales were foreseen globally. That global vehicle was designed to fit the needs of the Japanese market, thus it utilizes a hybrid system, and features high quality and sportiness.
Moreover, the Jade also serves as a vehicle that plays the role of the Stream as well as the Odyssey which have all become tall vehicles. Perhaps they considered the situation of the Japanese market,since the hybrid is its only available grade composition.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)