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Honda Jazz tested

2009-05-06 08:00
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Honda
Model Jazz
Engine 1.4-litre
Power 73 kW @ 6 000 r/min
Torque 127 Nm @ 4 800 r/min
Transmission 5-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 11.1 seconds
Top Speed 176 km/h
Fuel Tank 42 litres
Fuel Consumption 5.8 litres / 100km (avg)
Boot Size 337 - 883 litres
Steering Electric Power
ABS Yes
Airbags Dual front
Service Plan 60 000 km / 4 years
Warranty 100 000 km / 5 years
Rivals Ford Fiesta; VW Polo

Wilmer Muller

With all the doom and gloom surrounding the economic meltdown, high drama in the automotive sector and all the other blah blah blah, car buyers are constantly being nagged to watch their wallets. So, making the right decision has just become a lot tougher… But don’t worry; there is one car that won’t easily disappoint you: The Honda Jazz. No big surprise. 

Honda’s “tried and tested” baby will reward you with an ownership experience that is hard to match. Not only does the Jazz consistently perform well in reliability and customer satisfaction studies (locally and abroad), but thousands of happy owners will tell you it is the best car they have ever bought. 

It might not be as youthful in character as its rivals (including the very sexy Ford Fiesta) but the Jazz is a well-built and reliable number. 

We tested the entry-level 1.4-litre LX model in manual guise and found the greatest thing about this car is that it is still a Jazz. Its predecessor remained a helluva good car even at the end of its life cycle and Honda can't be blamed for not "jazzing up" the new car too much. 

Clever hatch

The new generation is still a clever hatchback with the same class-leading standards of practicality and versatility.

Its spacious cabin comes with the Jazz’s trademark “magic seats”, which means that the rear seats that can lift up or tumble forward completely to create a huge flat loading bay. Total capacity? It balloons from 337 litres to a massive 883 litres. With all the seats up, there's also room for five adults. 

Yes, it isn’t the cheekiest small hatch around, but the Jazz is arguably the most sensible car in its class as it will probably never let you down.

The base model is decently equipped with a facia design that is modern and sensible and all the usual comfort features. There is nothing fussy about the Jazz's interior and drivers should find all controls logical and simple to operate. Standard safety kit includes ABS, EBD and dual front and side airbags. 

On the engineering side, Honda has given the Jazz a new suspension setup while the 1.4-litre has been reworked and it is now enabled with i-VTEC variable valve timing.

Power from the 16-valve unit is 73kW while it produces 127Nm of torque at 4 800r/min. The claimed average fuel consumption is 5.8 litres/100km.

The Jazz might not offer the sportiest drive, but it rewards with good stability and minimal body roll. However, the Jazz succeeds in how effortless it is to drive – it is easy to manoeuvre through town and in tight spots, has great all-round visibility and displays excellent ergonomics. 

Although it is no highway bruiser, the Jazz is adequate on the open road where the 1.4-litre engine is sufficient for a car of its size.


The Jazz features one of the most versatile cabins in its class with rear seats folding away completely to create a flat load area.

Design

The new Jazz still features the same mini-MPV design as its popular predecessor. This time it looks slightly more modern and the basic styling of the newcomer is evolutionary when compared with the old car. In short - the Jazz’s design is inoffensive.

Interior

Space is the name of the Jazz’s interior game… Honda has again given its baby a clever cabin that focuses on optimising space. There is easily room for five occupants and enough boot space for their belongings. Its rear "magic seats" are a class-leading feature. Otherwise, the fit and finish is solid, while ergonomics and the comfort kit are good too. However, the base model doesn’t get satellite audio controls on the steering wheel.

Driving

The Jazz is an effortless car to drive with excellent all-round visibility boosting its credentials as a good city runabout. Though not sporty, the drive is more rewarding than before thanks to a new suspension setup and electric power steering. Its 1.4-litre petrol unit provides decent performance and is more than capable of dealing with highway cruising and overtaking, while fuel economy is good too.

Verdict

There are sexier small hatches such as the Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2, but the Jazz still sets the benchmark for quality, reliability and versatility. Furthermore, for those looking for a set of trustworthy wheels to take them from A to B, the Jazz is extremely uncomplicated 

Pluses:
- Versatility
- Build quality
- Value for money

Minuses:
- Dull image

 

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