JAZZ MAKES LOVELY MUSIC
POPULAR HONDA NOW EVEN BETTER
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.