Jazz can be made to flare
GORDON HALL games Honda’s Jazz Sport and finds the CVT better than previous generations
ONE could say, “Granny’s Car Got Game” as Honda’s new Jazz Sport sheds its “little old lady” image to cloak itself in a new persona.
As Fit RS, its name in some markets, it’s the default virtual car used by the makers of video game Gran
Turismo 6 to walk new players through the process.
It makes nine kilowatts and 10 Newton-metres more music than the Jazz Dynamic pair it replaces, takes styling cues from Civic RS, upgrades its touch screen to 7” and swaps 239 mm discs for the standard rear drums.
It also adds LED headlights and DRLs, red accents and stitching inside, an HDMI socket, back-up camera and parking sensors, two more speakers and push-button starting. Like the basic “game” car, Jazz Sport uses a stepped CVT gearbox with seven virtual ratios.
One of the phased-out Dynamic models had a five-speed manual shifter so if you really want that you will need to buy down.
To ease possible disappointment, all the above kit comes at no extra charge, so maybe it’s a case of swings and roundabouts.
The body kit consists of a new, triple-strake rear diffuser with red accent line, enlarged rear spoiler, side skirts, wicked black wheels and mirrors, a sleeker grille with piano black and chrome accents, more prominent front bumper with black surrounds for the fog lamps, and a further red pin stripe on the redesigned splitter.
All this adds 96 mm to the car’s length and, especially in black, accentuates its benignly evil face; very Darth Honda.
While the company could have cluttered the car with gadgets it thankfully chose not to, so most of what you really want is provided but other, needlessly costly, toys were avoided.
It gives you six airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioning, ISOFix mountings, ABS brakes with EBD, VSC, hill start assist, automatic headlamp levelling, automatic air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and Honda’s versatile back seats. Expensive stuff left out includes automatic stop-start, autonomous braking, lane keeping aids and the
Most of what you really want is provided but needlessly expensive toys are left out.
seldom-used Eco-normal-sport selector.
Sport, when you want it, is just aft of Drive on the gearshift slot while green and blue bands flanking the speedometer let you know whether you’re being good or naughty.
Getting down to brass tacks, performance is “sportish” rather than overtly sporty and the CVT is better than some previous generations have been.
Provided you don’t get too aggressive, it kicks down nicely and provides a steady flow of power. Provoking it lightly brings in the stepping process and behaviours like those of a regular automatic. It can be made to flare if you play dirty, so keep it cool.
Final thoughts: It’s solid, handles well, has plenty of room for fullygrown passengers in the back, offers a decent boot and is not overly complicated.
We would, however, like to suggest some “Rally Sport” upgrades as one can in the game.
One of Honda’s existing turbocharged 1500cc engines and a sixspeed manual gearbox would be excellent — Game On, for a Fitter kind of RS.
(Test unit supplied from Honda Motor SA press fleet.)
Price: R312 900 Engine: Honda L15B1, 1496 cc, DOHC, 16-valve inline four Power: 97 kW at 6600 rpm Torque: 155 Nm at 4600 rpm Zero to 100 km/h: 9.8 seconds Maximum speed: 180 km/h Real life fuel consumption: About 6.6 l/100 km Tank: 40 litres Warranty: 5 years / 200 000 km with 3 years’ roadside assistance Service plan: 4 years / 60 000 km at 15 000 km intervals.
The more agressive look of the Honda Jazz is inspired by “Darth Honda”, aka the new Civic RS.