Ac­tu­ally, its a fam­ily car

BRIAN BAS­SETT finds out why the new Jazz man­ual is not just a car for se­nior cit­i­zens

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

IN March 2014 I re­viewed the Honda Jazz and was very im­pressed with its ver­sa­til­ity and qual­ity.

So im­pressed was I that I bought one and it is a pur­chase that I have never re­gret­ted.

The Jazz has en­gen­dered huge buyer loy­alty all over the world and is made by a com­pany which re­peat­edly wins prizes for the re­li­a­bil­ity of its ve­hi­cles.

The larger part of the Jazz’s fan base has al­ways been the over-60 age group be­cause it has all of the fea­tures, in­clud­ing econ­omy and dura­bil­ity which this group re­quires.

I have al­ways thought it a pity that younger peo­ple are miss­ing out on the real ad­van­tages the Jazz has to of­fer and I was de­lighted when the new Jazz hit the mar­ket with its dy­namic, ag­gres­sive re­design and ex­tended range of safety fea­tures.

Styling

The new Jazz has a con­tem­po­rary, eye­catch­ing styling pack­age, which is both func­tional and has strong vis­ual ap­peal.

The third gen­er­a­tion of this iconic car has a V-shaped front grill, in­ward slant­ing nar­row head­lamps, low, wide front air­dam and foglamp hous­ing pan­els in the far cor­ners of the front bumper. This, to­gether with steeply-raked wind­screen and sculpted side pan­els come to­gether to cre­ate an ag­gres­sive, stream­lined pro­file, which is dis­tinc­tive as well as an in­di­ca­tion of Honda’s in­ten­tion to at­tract a much wider and younger buyer base for the ve­hi­cle.

The ris­ing shoul­der line, 16-inch al­loys and short front and rear over­hangs com­plete the dy­namic pro­file, while the new, LED tail lamp clus­ters dis­tin­guish the rear end.

In­te­rior

Honda has com­pletely over­hauled the Jazz’s cabin. The space be­tween the driver and the steeply-slanted front win­dow re­mains, giv­ing a feel­ing of light and spa­cious­ness.

The fas­cia ap­pears flat­ter and more up­right than on the pre­vi­ous model and plas­tics are all of the very best qual­ity.

The driver’s seat and leather-cov­ered multi-func­tion steer­ing wheel are both fully ad­justable al­low­ing all sizes and heights to drive in com­fort.

The steer­ing wheel has adopted a Civic-like but­ton sys­tem ,which con­trols a wide range of func­tions like Blue­tooth, cruise con­trol, the ex­cel­lent four­s­peaker ra­dio, CD, aux, two USB ports and iPod con­nec­tion sys­tems, as well as al­low­ing in­for­ma­tion changes on the main dash.

The Jazz also has an HDMI port to re­lay what­ever is on a smart­phone screen to the in­fo­tain­ment’s centrally-placed, seven-inch dis­play.

The cen­tral fas­cia con­tains a sec­ond touch-sen­si­tive panel which op­er­ates the ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem.

The centrally-placed leather-cov­ered gear lever is also quite dis­tinc­tive and a plea­sure to use. De­spite the ex­te­rior’s com­pact-look­ing di­men­sions the Jazz has a huge cabin, largely due to Honda’s Magic Seat multi-con­fig­u­ra­tion sys­tem, which means that the new Jazz re­tains all of the ver­sa­til­ity of the pre­vi­ous model. With all seats in place lug­gage space is about 363 litres while, with all rear seats folded flat this in­creases to 881 litres. If you re­quire it the front pas­sen­ger seat also folds flat.

There are also many stor­age places for bits and pieces.

The in­te­rior space makes the Jazz a com­fort­able, full five-seater giv­ing those with long legs room to stretch on long trips. Er­gonomic lev­els are also high.

Safety and se­cu­rity

The Jazz has al­ways been big on safety and the new model is no dif­fer­ent. There are six front, side and cur­tain airbags. ABS and EBD, front pre-ten­sion­ing seat­belts, ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity and hill start as­sist, as well as whiplash mit­i­gat­ing front seats and emer­gency stop sig­nals.

So you and yours can en­trust your­selves to what is es­sen­tially a safe, fam­ily car. There is the usual cen­tral lock­ing and alarm sys­tems, re­mote key­less en­try and a se­lec­tive door un­lock­ing mech­a­nism, child locks and seat an­chors.

Han­dling and per­for­mance

The Jazz has Honda’s ivtec 1,5 litre, four­cylin­der, trans­versely-mounted petrol en­gine, pro­duc­ing 88 Kw/145 Nm and ex­press­ing this power on road via a fivespeed man­ual or CVT gear­box. 0-100 km/h comes up in around 10,5 sec­onds and top speed is about 180 km/h.

Fuel con­sump­tion is very good and, depend­ing on driv­ing style and ter­rain you can ex­pect about 5,8 l/100 km. In town the car is re­spon­sive and the steer­ing sharp. Great all-round visibility makes park­ing easy and wide-open­ing doors al­low for easy ac­cess — even for those with mo­bil­ity prob­lems.

On the N3 the car holds the road well and the avail­able torque makes pass­ing easy. The Jazz is, how­ever, not an dirt-roader, as mo­tor­ing edi­tor Al­wyn Viljoen pointed out from the back seat while we were driv­ing to a func­tion on a farm road over the week­end. But the Jazz takes D Roads in its stride.

It is well bal­anced and re­spon­sive and the han­dling is gen­er­ally driver friendly with no sur­prises at any speed.

Costs and the com­pe­ti­tion

The Jazz has never been in­ex­pen­sive and is priced at a pre­mium level in the B-seg­ment. How­ever, as we have said be­fore, qual­ity is never cheap.

The en­try 1,2 l Trend is R180 000 and the range-top­ping 1,5 l Dy­namic Auto comes in at R265 000.

The 1,5 El­e­gance re­viewed here costs about R235 000 and is prob­a­bly the pick of the seven mod­els on of­fer. You also get a three-year/100 000 km war­ranty and a four-year/60 000 km ser­vice plan with 15 000 km ser­vice in­ter­vals.

The B-seg­ment is one of the most com­pet­i­tive and you should shop around look­ing at, amongst oth­ers, the VW Polo, Mazda 2, Toy­ota Yaris, Ford Fi­esta and Kia Rio.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

The Jazz gives very good fuel con­sump­tion and, depend­ing on driv­ing style and ter­rain you can ex­pect about 5,8 litres per 100 km.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

Good use of in­te­rior space is the Jazz’s strong sell­ing point. Flip up the seat like this and it takes a small tree in a big pot pretty com­fort­ably.

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