New Jazz quintet
We would like to update my wife’s 2006 Honda Jazz, probably in the run-out sales. The Jazz has been such a great car and those magic seats are absolutely brilliant. However I have never been a fan of the CVT and at the moment it really shudders on takeoff which makes me even less of a fan. Now she really has her heart set on a new Jazz VTi-L with all the bells and whistles which we could probably get for $24K-$25K. I would like her to keep her options open and look around at other hatches in this price range. What other makes and models would you suggest? Have CVTs got better in the past 10 years? Should we just bite the bullet and stick with the Jazz? Robert Danek Carsguide isn’t a massive fan of CVTs but they get the job done and appear no less reliable than a conventional automatic. As far as the Jazz goes, the new version is mid-pack in terms of dynamics but comes with impressive levels of equipment, especially in VTi-L trim. The rear “magic seats” still flip and fold into 18 configurations, making it one of the more versatile city cars.
Suzuki Baleno GLX Turbo $21,990 Worth a look for its space and standard six-speed auto. The three-cylinder turbo (88kW/ 160Nm) makes it a match for the Honda in performance and there’s no shortage of boot or rear seat space. Niceties such as satnav, disc brakes all-round (the Honda has rear drums) and reversing camera are standard and the Suzuki claims 5.2L/100km. It’s not as pretty inside as the Jazz, largely as a result of the less-than classleading plastics but, as with all Suzukis, it feels solid and secure. Skoda Fabia 81TSI $20,290 A seven-speed dual-clutch auto is matched to a 1.2-litre fourcylinder turbo (81kW/175Nm), delivering a decent drive and claiming 4.8L/100km. The Fabia (Monte Carlo variant pictured) is solid value, with a 6.5-inch touchscreen using SmartLink to provide Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. On Skoda’s reasoning, you use the mobile’s apps for navigation rather than spend $950 on satnav. The big news here is the standard cityspeed autonomous emergency braking; the downside is sensors are the only reversing aid. The spare is full-size.
Kia Rio SLi $22,990 A new Rio, due soon, will presumably come with more kit and a steeper price but dealers will still have stock of the current car and should be looking to do deals. In SLi guise the Kia uses a 1.6-litre fourcylinder (103kW/167Nm) driving the front wheels via a six-speed auto. Claimed thirst is 6.1L/100km. The SLi’s fitout shows its age. There’s Bluetooth connectivity but monochrome display only — and a reversing camera and satnav aren’t even options. Interior space is good and there’s the reassurance of the seven-year warranty and capped price servicing.
Mazda CX-3 Neo Safety auto $23,020 We’ve added the six-speed auto and safety pack to the highriding Mazda and it is a real alternative to the versatile Jazz, though with a bigger body. The 2.0-litre (109kW/192Nm) outmuscles the light cars yet still matches the Kia’s claimed thirst. Standard gear on the base CX-3 (Maxx pictured) won’t challenge the top-spec Jazz but includes cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity. Safety pack adds city autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.
I’d go for the bigger CX-3 but you may have trouble shifting your wife out of a new Jazz once she drives one. She won’t be disappointed. Of the others, particularly drive the Skoda.