Why would I buy it?
- Spacious and user-friendly cabin
- Easy to drive, with an optional petrol CVT
- Versatile and practical package
Why would I avoid it?
- No diesel option
- Lacks some equipment
- Expensive amongst rivals
Engine and Performance
Like with most Hondas, the 1.2-litre i-VTEC motor that powers the Jazz depicts superb refinement and is almost silent at idle. As such, transmission duties are covered by either a five-speed manual or a CVT automatic gearbox. This motor is not only eager to get off the mark as you feed it some throttle, but it is also thoroughly responsive at lower speeds. On the flip side, the weak mid-range means constant downshifts are necessary to keep the engine on the boil for any sort of highway overtaking; an irritant at times. However, what makes the going easier are the manual box benefits from a delightfully light lever with short throws and well-defined gates. These ingredients when combined with the light clutch make for easy driving even in traffic.
As for the automatic CVT gearbox, it meets the expectations of being responsive at low to medium speeds, which comes in handy in traffic too. Plus, the jerk-free nature of the power delivery further enhances its ‘comfortable city runabout’ stature. Be that as it may, flooring the accelerator will display the CVT gearbox’s rubber-band effect that makes things feel lethargic, to say the least. Nevertheless, things markedly improve in Sport mode or even by manually selecting gears via the paddle shifters. All in all, the automatic feels best in the city.
Ride Quality and Handling
The Honda Jazz simply glides over our roads. Yes, despite the ride being rather firm, it does a good job of also absorbing most of what’s thrown at it without making the occupants feel uncomfortable. There is some roll as one pushes the Jazz around corners, but thankfully it holds its line reasonably well despite it running on skinny tyres. What also aids its surefooted demeanour is the fairly accurate steering.
Comfort, Convenience, and Features
What’s particularly nice about the Jazz’s cabin is the premium and airy feel from the light colours and stylish design lines. It’s a practical and ergonomic one too, with lots of storage spaces, while all the functions fall easily to your hands. And lest I forget, the Jazz has always been known for its brilliant visibility; full marks here. If we were to nit-pick though (like we always do), the touchscreen’s resolution should have been a tad crisper.
In terms of seat comfort, the front ones benefit from great cushioning with good overall support and loads of headroom. If only it had a wee bit more thigh support, and mind you, it’s the same story with the thigh support at the rear too. However, again, there’s comfy cushioning with good support and lots of head and legroom too. Our only gripe would be with seating three here, which can be a tad too close for comfort! Lastly, this boot’s a usable one because it is spacious and devoid of intruding suspension bits, making it more user friendly.
Features-wise, the Honda Jazz is equipped with a touchscreen infotainment system that has navigation, voice command functionality, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and also doubles up as a rear-view camera. It also gets steering mounted controls, tilt steering, USB ports, height-adjustable driver’s seat, start/stop button, keyless entry, cruise control, climate control, electric folding door mirrors, front and rear power windows, and paddle shifters (CVT only).
As far as safety goes, the Jazz comes equipped with dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, a rear camera with guidelines, and rear parking sensors. It also comes with a speed-sensing door lock, a rear windshield defogger, engine immobiliser, high-speed alert, seat belt reminder, and an LED high mount stop lamp.
You know when you set eyes on the Jazz. It’s quite unlike any other and clearly stands out for its glassy real estate. This remarkable feat also means that the visibility from within this hatch is second to none. A minimal/sharp nose section is seen flowing back to the end of this Honda in a thoroughly curvaceously form. If there’s any portion of the Jazz that looks overly done, it’s the rear with busy design lines and taillight arrangement that can almost hypnotise one if viewed in abundance! Yes, the Jazz might look different from the crowd, but at the same time, it won’t set your pulse racing.
What’s adorable about the Honda Jazz is the favourable city dynamics/performance which makes it easy to drive. Then, there’s the spacious interior that’s smeared with innate practicality and garnished with the brand’s strong peace-of-mind ownership experience. Nevertheless, we feel that the Honda Jazz has lost its edge when it comes to charm. Sadly, this comes at a time when contenders such as Hyundai’s new i20 have taken the game forward, and that too at a cheaper starting price.
All said and done, we’ve come to see over the years that the Jazz attracts those folks who not only want to take advantage of its visibility edge (like budding new drivers) but also those who swear by the Jap brand. The question is, how long is that going to last?
Photos by Kapil Angane