– Reliable and solidly built
– Low petrol consumption
– Large interior
– Costly spare parts
– Feminine image
– Tall styling
There’s a lot to be said for a 1300cc small car that can hit up to 170 kph without strain on the engine. That’s what the Honda Jazz is capable of.
The Jazz is available in 60 hp and 83 hp trims. There are two 1.3-litre engines of different power output, with five manual gears in standard trim. A gearless automatic CVT transmission is optional. There’s plenty of acceleration right through the gears. You don’t have to drop a gear to overtake on the highway. Let’s face it though, it’s not a boy racer’s dream – you ain’t going anywhere fast. Honda says it’s one of the world’s cleanest petrol engines. Peak torque on the ES arrives at only 2800rpm, half of that is available at around half that.
The optional CVT transmission has what is essentially an automatic transmission with normal, sport (changes take place 800-1000rpm higher than normal) and low ranges backed up by a really slick and quick-acting seven-speed manual sequential option operated by either of two buttons on the steering wheel. Their operation is invoked by pressing a small button on the steering wheel labelled “7-speed mode”.
The Honda Jazz is yet another car that has succumbed to the spread of electric power-assistance for steering effort–another fuel-saving measure–and a turning circle diameter of 9.4 m. Anti-lock brakes with emergency brake pressure assistance and electronic pressure distribution are also standard. Standard features include air-conditioning, remote-controlled central locking, sound system with CD front-loader, power external mirrors, four power windows, five head restraints and drink holders. The top trim level includes alloy rims, sunroof and a more powerful 1.3L engine.
The driving experience is good, the dash controls logically set out, gears well defined and the pedals nicely responsive. The power steering is sometimes a little oversensitive but you get attuned to it. Road visibility is superb with no blind spots, and the wide angle side mirrors are very effective. The ride can feel a little bumpy at times and highway driving can get tedious sometimes.
The Jazz has the normal 60/40 split folding rear seat but has added feature that allows the rear to be transformed into a van-like load volume rather than just turning it into a hatch with a flat, but high, floor. There’s a class-leading 353 litres of boot space under a soft rear shelf. That can be increased to1323 litres with 1720mm fore/aft measurement for long loads. Ordinary boot space is also deceptively generous. The seats are comfortable despite being small. There are plenty of cup holders and door pockets. The cd is well used and the six speaker system meets the requirements of a teenager. The boot space is covered by a pull screen rather than a solid parcel shelf, so they can get into any extra junk they may need on the journey easily.
The tail door is upright and the rear-seat cushions can be folded upwards individually against their backrests to open a tall load area (1.28 metres floor to ceiling) completely separate from the conventional luggage bay.
The Jazz might be compact but lacks little in features: air-conditioning, remote-controlled central locking, sound system with CD front-loader, power external mirrors, four power windows, five head restraints and drink holders.
The driver has a one-touch window function, height adjustment for seat and steering column and digital fuel consumption readout so that owners can marvel at the Jazz’s frugality.
The Jazz is a great city commuter and an excellent alternative for those who buy 4WD vehicles just for the space.