If you want to go off-roading, a hatchback will surely not be the first vehicle in mind. One wishes for an SUV with tough build quality, loads of power from the engine, power going to all four wheels and big numbers in terms of clearance angles. While we have come across many hatchbacks that do undergo modifications to look like a tough SUV, they merely succeed in achieving the look of an off-roader and not its functionality.
However, that is not the case here. This third-generation Honda Fit, which is more popular as Jazz in India, has been transformed into one of those functional little off-roaders. The car is owned and customised by one named Jefferson Baluyot Palma who shares images and videos of his modified Jazz quite often on his Instagram page ‘jeff_palma03’ and on his YouTube channel ‘Whatzs Production’
Palma, who grew up in the Philippines and now residing in California, used to fix cars with his dad when he was growing up in Quezon Province. He recalled hating it back then. But when he got his first car upon moving to the US, a Hyundai Veloster, he started modifying it in his spare time. So, when his 2015 Honda Fit base model got into an accident, he decided to modify it as well.
Among the exterior modifications are the custom winch-mount steel bumper with an improved approach and departure angles, pocket style fender flares with rivets, hatch-mount full-size spare tire carrier and a functional snorkel from a Toyota Land Cruiser. To make it look more muscular, he added a fender flare from Cherokee which he customized to fit.
To make his compact sedan off-road worthy, Palma first lifted his hatchback by 2.5” in the front and 4.5” plus 2” shock extension at the rear and installed Kenda Klever 245/75/R16 mud tires. To compensate for the lack of load space, Palma added a bike rack and an aluminium roof rack basket. The winch-mounted bumper comes along with a pair of LED lights and another pair of auxiliary lamps.
The face has been completely overhauled with a heavy-duty metal bumper with crash protection that wraps around the entire face. It not only improves the approach angle of the car but also creates a beautiful profile for the car along with the sloping bonnet. Speaking of the bonnet, that too is custom-built for this car and even gets hood scoops.
At the rear of the car, the owner has extended the fuel tank by 3 gallons by adding two 1.5 containers for those long trips where gasoline stations are hard to come by. For safety, he has a signal booster, rear tow hitch for towing a small trailer/camper, and an extra tire mounted at the rear. Since the tire covers most of the rear windshield, he installed a back camera for safety.
Making the Jazz off-road capable
What makes this hatchback really rugged are its massive 30-inch off-road spec tires. It also comes fitted with a lift kit which further increases the ground clearance by two inches. The Honda Jazz is, however, a front-wheel-drive car and this particular example has not been modified to feature a four-wheel-drive system. Although this modified Jazz/Fit is a very capable off-roader due to its altered suspension setup and tyres, it still has its limitations considering it is still an FWD car.
There have been no modifications under the hood as the Jazz/Fit retains its stock engine. In India, Honda is gearing up for the launch of the BS6 compliant Jazz in a few week’s time. The upcoming Honda Jazz will sport a minor facelift and is expected to ditch the diesel engine to become a petrol-only model.
The previous iteration of the Honda Jazz (BS4 model) was available with two engine options. The first one was a 1.2-litre petrol engine, which generated 90 PS and 110 Nm and was paired to either a 5-speed manual or a CVT. The second one is a 1.5-litre diesel engine, that generates 100 PS and 200 Nm, mated to a 6-speed manual. The Jazz rival the likes of premium hatchbacks such as Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Tata Altroz, Hyundai Elite i20 and Volkswagen Polo.