Jazz can be made to flare

GOR­DON HALL games Honda’s Jazz Sport and finds the CVT bet­ter than pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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.)

The numbers

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.

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

The more agres­sive look of the Honda Jazz is in­spired by “Darth Honda”, aka the new Civic RS.

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