Jazzing up a favourite
Generation three Honda Jazz has a generous level of standard kit, PETER BARNWELL writes
THE looks are familiar, so is the practicality and the purchase price, but the new, generation three Honda Jazz offers more of everything – including standard equipment and a smattering of enviro-cred features called Earth Dreams in Honda-speak.
Jazz is a cellar dweller in price terms, something Honda can maintain through its costeffective Thai manufacturing operation. The kick-off point is a mere $14,990.
It needed to be sharpish given the competition which includes Toyota Yaris, VW Polo, Suzuki Swift, Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and the forthcoming new Mazda2.
The level of standard kit is generous in the three variants offered – VTi, VTi-S and VTi-L.
They all have the same powertrain lifted from the Honda City sedan, but a fivespeed manual is only available on the base VTi – otherwise it’s a CVT “auto” that’s optional on the VTi. Honda has responded to the competition with a swag of goodies designed to attract buyer attention.
Included is cruise control, LED lights all round including headlights, Eco assist and ECON mode on the auto, rake/reach steering adjust, the impressive Display Audio Multi Info Display with touch screen. It gives access to nine readouts and multiple vehicle controls, Bluetooth phone and audio with SIRI voice control.
Power comes from a heavily revised 1.5-litre petrol fourbanger – the same as in City.
It’s a single cam unit but has what Honda calls i-VTEC, which means efficiencyboosting variable cam timing and lift that helps the engine achieve 88kW/145Nm while sipping 91 octane fuel at a rate of as little as 5.8-litres/100km in the CVT cars.
The car has similar “cheese wedge’’ styling to the previous model but has a new, more assertive face like the City and is actually slightly larger all round on a longer wheelbase.
The look is somewhat dated but is functional and would be welcomed by a practicalminded buyer, especially given the available interior room and load space. It’s a five-seater with all seats up.
Paddle shift comes with the CVT, which works a treat thanks to the torque converter it functions through. This aids fuel economy and drive feel.
No slurring rubber band effect either from the transmission, with a locking mechanism creating the feel of a conventional auto.
The base model gets a set of cheap steel wheels but from the mid-spec S it’s alloys.
The S also gains side skirts for a sporty look, climate control and audio upgrade. The L model has leather, heated front seats, rear park sensors, button start and a spoiler.
The drive feel is aided by revised front strut and rear torsion beam suspension, revised brakes and revised electric power steering.
It retains the former car’s nippy feel and ride control that’s accentuated in the new model.
Safety is rated at five stars.
Looks good, priced right, low fuel consumption, practical, well specified, affordable, what’s not to like?