Perfect for the family school and park run
Honda in SA used to sell truckloads full of Jazz’s 10 years ago. People bought them because it was probably the most practical hatch money could buy.
More volume in the rear and seats that fold not only down, but into the floor, made the Jazz the perfect compact family runabout.
Two generations later and the car is still that – perfect for the young family – but sales are down.
The crossover happened!
Honda recently, in an attempt I guess to attract buyers’ attention again, jazzed up the Jazz.
On the outside they fitted the Jazz ‘Sport’ with the sort of trimmings one would expect to see on a sports car - black 16inch alloys shod with low profile rubber, an aerodynamically shaped low front bumper, side-skirts and a three-strake rear diffuser.
It all makes the Jazz Sport look more than just sporty, but rather like it belongs on a track.
Had Honda engineers lifted the bonnet as well, it could have been the Jazz Type-R. But it isn’t!
Powering the Jazz Sport is the same engine found in other derivatives; a 1.5-litre which develops 97kW and 155Nm.
It does have V-TEC technology, but that it makes a car go faster is a myth.
The Jazz Sport also only comes with a CVT box, so don’t expect any miracles there either.
So what is the Jazz Sport about if it won’t make the twins vomit on the teacher’s shoes after they’ve been dropped off at school?
The Honda Jazz is still the most practical hatch on the market, now even more so with the latest generation.
It has a lot of space in the rear and storage options all through the cabin.
In the Jazz Sport you get absolutely everything, all the trimmings and tech, but at the same pace.
It’s the flagship of the range and climb inside and you are met by a fine interior with soft this-and-that, stitched leather in strategic places and sport pedals.
That’s after you opened the door making use of the keyless entry.
In the dash is a seven-inch touchscreen and next to it a stop/start button.
A six-speaker sound system, automatic air-conditioner, cruise control, rear park sensors and reverse camera rounds off the sporty package.
And let’s not forget those ‘Magic Seats’ (as Honda calls them) in the rear, which fold into the floor to open up a massive 889-litres of loading space…
1R 7\SH 5
I drove the Jazz Sport, courtesy of Tangawizi Honda, and while it’s not all fire and brimstone as the look suggests, I found it to be a lot more nimble around town than a crossover.
On the open road it’s also more stable because it doesn’t pretend to be an offroader like most crossovers do.
The naturally aspirated 1.5 makes for smooth acceleration and a steady pace, and with some patience I even came to accept the CVT gearbox’s odd behaviour.
CVTs, while not doing much for driving pleasure, do bring the fuel bill down, and in the Jazz’s case, Honda claims 5.6-litres to 100km.
That is quite impressive for a non-turbo 1.5.
Whilst doing my rounds in the Jazz Sport I appreciated the suspension’s smoothness and stability, as well as the Hill Start Assist function.
Other safety features which makes the Jazz Sport a good family car are disc brakes all-round with ABS and EBD and front, side and curtain airbags.
Crossovers have conquered the market for a reason. SA buyers like the off-road-ish look and they do have more space than a normal hatch.
They also handle potholes slightly better. But the Jazz is not normal and can match most compact crossovers when it comes to rear legroom and boot space.
So if you’re more of a quasi race car driver than a quasi off-roader, with a young family, the Jazz Sport will be a good choice.
You get a well-built car with a lot of luxury features for R312 900, and that price includes a five-year/200 000km warranty plus a four-year/60 000km service plan.