Supermini Jazz-ed up
THE battle for the younger generation’s motoring pound has never been fiercer – so Honda have Jazz-ed up their supermini. Always popular with older customers who appreciate the ease of access, spacious dimensions and top-notch reliability, the third generation of the Jazz now boasts a new look and a long list of goodies Honda hopes will also prove catnip to those who have known nothing but the internet.
The smart interior offers soft-touch materials and a modern digital feel with the seven-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard accessing the Honda Connect infotainment system. The app-based interface can be operated like a smartphone providing access to a host of services such as social media, music and more mundane things such as news and traffic information.
The flagship EX model I drove also has touch-sensitive climate control which I found a bit hit and miss when it came to changing the temperature on the move.
The Tardis-like qualities of the Jazz allow five adults to be seated in comfort. The excellent ‘Magic’ seats in the rear can be folded flat or flipped up in a single movement, freeing an amazing amount of space for a supermini with the boot offering 354 litres of room expanding to a cave-like 1,314 litres. There are also lots of cubby holes for your bits and bobs as well as a glovebox, door bins and cupholders.
The cabin features Rex Harrison levels of refinement with road and wind noise largely excluded thanks to extra sound proofing.
The exterior is also much more appealing to the eye as it sports sharp creases, slinky curves and a high roofline to give a more youthful look – in musical terms the Jazz is now more Beyonce than Barry Manilow. The distinctive face sports natty headlights and a nifty grille while a range of eye-catching vibrant colours are set to impress.
Power is provided by a 1.3-litre petrol engine from Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology linked to a slick six-speed manual gearbox. A CVT automatic transmission is also available but costs £1,000 more.
It isn’t the quickest around with 0-62mph taking 11.5 seconds, but it feels faster than that away from the lights and can cruise quite happily at motorway speeds.
There’s no danger of running costs busting the bank balance thanks to decent fuel economy – claimed at 55.6mpg which came in closer to 45mpg during my week with the car – and low carbon dioxide emissions ensuring low road tax bills. The Jazz is not cheap to buy though so look elsewhere if you’re after a bargain. A three year/90,000 mile warranty eases the pain of the asking price.
Younger drivers seem to be more environmentally aware – something to do with the fact they will be reaping the whirlwind of global warming long after those responsible have shuffled off this mortal coil – so will appreciate the ECO Assist which alters the colour surrounding the speedometer from white to green when you are driving fuel efficiently.
Honda’s supermini is nimble in corners and handles well thanks to informative steering and an improved suspension that guarantees a smooth ride with only the ugliest of humps and potholes making their presence felt.
You and yours are protected by a host of airbags and a Driver Assist Safety Pack including collision warning, lane departure alert, speed limiter and traffic sign recognition.
It all adds up to a quality package that should appeal whatever age bracket you happen to be in.
TEST DRIVE HONDA JAZZ 1.3 i-VTECH