Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Driveway - Bill Buys

NO need for an­other trom­bone: Honda’s lat­est Jazz is the full band.

The third gen­er­a­tion of the pop­u­lar hatch – which sold more than 5 mil­lion since its 2001 launch – is now one of the most com­pre­hen­sive and ca­pa­ble pack­ages in its class.

It has a new plat­form, more in­te­rior space, more com­fort and power, bet­ter han­dling and ad­vanced en­gi­neer­ing.

There are four vari­ants - VTi man­ual and au­to­matic, and the auto-only and higher-spec VTi-S and VTi -L ver­sions, rang­ing from $14,990 to $22,490. All have the same 88kW/145Nm 1.5litre V-tec en­gine, a quite peppy num­ber with a fru­gal thirst. Of­fi­cial com­bined av­er­age is 5.8litres/100km.

The wedge-shaped car has a steeply raked wind­screen that helps it cut through the air and doesn't hurt its looks ei­ther. Quite a few heads turned as the el­e­gant tall-stanced hatch swept by.

In­te­rior space is quite as­tound­ing. Driver and front pas­sen­ger are very com­fort­ably ac­com­mo­dated, and the rear seat oc­cu­pants have head and legroom nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with lux­ury sedans.

Also, Honda's “Magic Seat” sys­tem al­lows the in­te­rior to be con­fig­ured in up to 18 dif­fer­ent ways.

The in­te­rior has been com­plete- ly re­designed and driv­ers will ap­pre­ci­ate the new dash lay­out, dom­i­nated by a large speedo, and a multi-data dis­play that shows av­er­age and in­stant fuel con­sump­tion, clock, out­side tem­per­a­ture, fuel re­main­ing and trans­mis­sion gear se­lec­tor po­si­tion.

The out­side rim of the speedo glows green or blue, depend­ing on throt­tle use, and there's also an “eco” but­ton that puts the driv­e­train in fuel-sav­ing mode, al­beit at the ex­pense of per­for­mance.

We didn’t bother with it. The car is very eco­nom­i­cal any­way.

The dash also has a 7.0-inch touch­screen with Blue­tooth phone and au­dio stream­ing, cus­tomis­able wall­pa­per, Mp4 movie file play and Siri Eyes Free mode.

Our car was the top-of-therange VTi-L, which comes fully trimmed in leather and has heated front seats, rear park­ing sen­sors, a fold-down arm­rest in the rear seat and a tail­gate spoiler.

Also, it had smart ma­chine-fin­ished 16-inch al­loys with lo-pro ra­di­als.

The re­vers­ing cam­era gives the driver a choice of three an­gles, all with dy­namic guide­lines to help when re­vers­ing the ve­hi­cle, and an­other classy fea­ture is key­less en­try and en­gine start/stop.

There are lots of un­der­body im­prove­ments too: the wheel­base is longer, the plat­form is lighter and more rigid, there’s new sus­pen­sion fore and aft, a sharper steer­ing and im­proved brakes, the lat­ter now in­clud­ing hill start as­sist, which pre­vents the car from run­ning back­wards when stopped on a slope.

The lighter en­gine has less fric­tion and im­proved com­bus­tion, and in Sport mode, the trans­mis­sion has pad­dle-shift so the driver can do man­ual changes, if de­sired.

The Jazz drives very well and has a sportier than ex­pected at­ti­tude.

It scoots through cor­ners quickly and se­curely, steers nicely, has ex­cel­lent brakes and we en­joyed ev­ery mo­ment in it.

Ver­dict: A class act from the re­spected car and bike maker.

Honda's Jazz will ap­peal to many buy­ers.

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