Jazzing up a favourite

Gen­er­a­tion three Honda Jazz has a gen­er­ous level of stan­dard kit, PETER BARN­WELL writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - COVER: HONDA JAZZ -

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.

KIT

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.

EN­GINE

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.

STYLING

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.

DRIV­ING

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.

VER­DICT

Looks good, priced right, low fuel con­sump­tion, prac­ti­cal, well spec­i­fied, af­ford­able, what’s not to like?

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