Actually, its a family car
BRIAN BASSETT finds out why the new Jazz manual is not just a car for senior citizens
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.
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.
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.
The Jazz gives very good fuel consumption and, depending on driving style and terrain you can expect about 5,8 litres per 100 km.
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.