JAZZY an­swer for fuel ef­fi­ciency

To be green, you don’t have to buy a hy­brid or a diesel. A smaller petrol-engine car will do the trick for most folks, re­ports GRA­HAM SMITH

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

HY­BRIDS are still ex­pen­sive, diesel fuel like­wise but small cars such as Honda’s Jazz are eco­nom­i­cal, af­ford­able and ef­fec­tive. Why carry all that sheet metal and cast iron when you don’t have to?

Be­sides, small cars are easy to drive, easy to park and easy on the pocket. There’s plenty of choice and prices vary wildly from brand to brand.

The Jazz, as Hon­das used to be, is one of the pre­mium mod­els in its class, but that didn’t hold back its sales.

The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion GE ar­rived in 2008, build­ing on its pre­de­ces­sor’s pop­u­lar­ity.

There was a new slightly big­ger body, al­though it looked much like the old one that had proved pop­u­lar, par­tic­u­larly with women buy­ers who were taken with the styling.

The same two en­gines car­ried over, with some re­vi­sions. The 1.3-litre en­try-level engine in the GLi was given four valves per cylin­der, which made it rev eas­ier and more smoothly. Its out­put also went up sub­stan­tially.

The VTi and VTi-S were both pow­ered by the 1.5-litre engine and its out­put was also boosted by a healthy amount. Gone was the quirky con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion that had been some­what trou­ble­some, re­placed by a reg­u­lar five-speed auto. There was also a five-speed man­ual.

The Jazz, with its rel­a­tively tall body, is a prac­ti­cal lit­tle car with good in­te­rior room, flex­i­ble seat­ing and clear vis­i­bil­ity. It steers well, han­dles with as­sur­ance, is com­fort­able and easy to park.

IN THE SHOP

Hon­das gen­er­ally have a good rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing re­li­able, al­though parts and ser­vic­ing can be more ex­pen­sive than some other brands.

In­de­pen­dent ser­vice agents spe­cial­is­ing in Hon­das are a good al­ter­na­tive to deal­ers if you want to save a few dol­lars.

It’s im­por­tant, how­ever, that the Jazz is wellser­viced and has the rec­om­mended oil changes. Fresh oil and clean fil­ters keep mod­ern en­gines alive longer, so check the ser­vice record of any po­ten­tial pur­chase.

The switch from the CVT to a reg­u­lar auto is good news; the for­mer suf­fered a num­ber of prob­lems that caused headaches, none of which will bother buy­ers of the GE auto.

IN A CRASH

ANCAP judged the Jazz a four-star per­former – it would prob­a­bly have got an ex­tra star had Honda made elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol avail­able.

The Jazz did have ABS across the board and trac­tion con­trol on the VTi and VTi-S.

Dual airbags were stan­dard on the base GLi, while the VTi and VTi-S added head and side airbags for greater pro­tec­tion.

AT THE PUMP

Hy­brids and diesels have en­joyed pop­u­lar­ity in the

HONDA JAZZ 2008-10

PRICE NEW: $17,990 to $23,920 ENGINE: 1.3-litre four-cyl petrol, 73kW/127Nm; 1.5-litre four-cyl petrol, 88kW/145Nm TRANS­MIS­SION: Five-speed auto, five-speed man­ual BODY: Five door, five-seat hatch VARI­ANTS: GLi, VTi, VTi-S SAFETY: Four-star ANCAP EX­PECT TO PAY: $12,000-$14,000 for the GLi, $15,000-$17,500 for the VTi, $13,000-$16,500 for the VTi-S PROS: Eco­nom­i­cal engine, roomy cabin, good vis­i­bil­ity, flex­i­ble seat­ing, easy to park CONS: No sta­bil­ity con­trol, no side or head airbags on base model past few years, but both come at a hefty cost that most peo­ple refuse to pay.

Small petrol-engine cars, such as the Jazz, are a vi­able al­ter­na­tive, es­pe­cially when they re­turn the Jazz’s fuel con­sump­tion fig­ures, 5.8 litres/100km for the 1.3, and 6.4 litres for the 1.5.

VER­DICT

Prac­ti­cal, roomy, eco­nom­i­cal … it’s hard to beat.

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