Drive­way Lot of car for a lit­tle price

Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVEWAY -

AT $15,990 drive-away, the base Jazz VTi with fivespeed man­ual is a lot of car.

Add $2000 for a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion.

The in­te­rior is look­ing dated (there’s no dig­i­tal speedo) but the hard plas­tics and cloth seats look and feel durable, and build qual­ity is first rate.

Stan­dard are a sev­eninch in­fo­tain­ment screen, though there’s no sat­nav or smart­phone mir­ror­ing.

The five-year war­ranty is good. Pay $1698 for six ser­vices over three years/60,000km.

Trick rear seats that fold flat into the floor can trans­form the Jazz into a de­cent load lug­ger.

The huge rear leg and head­room make it one of the best buys in the light car class if you reg­u­larly carry four adults.

The clutch and steer­ing are both light, mak­ing in­ner-city work or com­mut­ing fuss-free.

The steer­ing wheel ad­justs for reach and tilt and the driver’s seat needs man­ual height ad­justable.

Au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing and other ac­tive aids are miss­ing.

It rated five stars at launch in 2014 with a great score of 36.58/37. Six airbags are stan­dard, as is a re­vers­ing cam­era.

Driv­ers will do plenty of shift­ing with the five-speed man­ual. The nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 1.5-litre en­joys work­ing in the up­per rev range.

Drum brakes on the rear high­light the car’s age yet stop­ping dis­tances are tidy. The high-sided styling means gusts of wind oc­ca­sion­ally put it across the traf­fic lane.

The sus­pen­sion will crash on sharp-edged pot­holes above 40km/h.

Al­ter­na­tives in­clude the Mazda 2 which, while hav­ing more mod­ern styling and city-speed AEB, can’t match the Honda for cargo or peo­ple-car­ry­ing abil­ity.

The Suzuki Swift GL is a match for the Mazda in driv­ing and ac­tive safety but the 242L boot con­cedes 100L to the Jazz.

And the Toy­ota Yaris As­cent feels un­der­pow­ered com­pared to the Jazz.

Ver­dict: It’s hard to look past the Honda Jazz for ver­sa­til­ity. The only thing that hurts it is the ab­sence of AEB; this won’t be ad­dressed un­til the new model ar­rives in the next cou­ple of years.

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