Driveway Lot of car for a little price
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.