December 16, 2014 @ 02:25 PM

Review: Honda Jazz 1.5L V-Spec tested

It is based on the Honda City platform but is the Jazz more than just a City-hatchback? By Chris Ng

It is based on the Honda City platform but is the Jazz more than just a City-hatchback?
The shoes this third-generation Honda Jazz needs to fill are sizeable, made larger and larger with each passing generation simply because they offer versatility that no other hatchbacks can in its class. That it is built with the same spacious under-pinning as the new City already gives the Jazz a clear advantage over its predecessors. The question is: does it make good use of the extra space?
Exterior (Score: 3/5)
The Jazz is offered in two body kits – Modulo and the Mugen that you see here. It’s a personal preference but I prefer the Jazz sans the extra ornaments. Basic design is quite comely, short snout and a well-designed rear give the impression that the Jazz is nice and tight. The nearly non-existent front and rear overhang, and short stature, seem to reinforce that perception. Only the slit that runs from front wheel to rear lights give the Jazz a wider appearance, although it really isn’t.

The new Jazz sports a more masculine design. So if you’re looking for a cutesy Jazz, best to dive into the classifieds.

Interior (Score: 4/5)
While it looks small on the outside, the Jazz’s interior is anything but. You’ll wonder just how Honda managed to scrape out so much space in that little package. There’s more than enough room for legs, shoulders, elbows and heads to flail about. While four is optimum and five fits snug, the legroom remains impressive. Honda’s Magic Seats make a return – you can either flush it flat with the boot or fold the bench up to fit in small trees. 

The only thing that needs more time getting used to is the air-conditioning touch panel, which somehow lack the tactility of the traditional buttons and dials. Also, a cacophony of noise will come into the cabin at highway speeds. Still, this isn’t a hatchback to drive fast in.
Power and handling (Score: 4/5)

Under the bonnet is the same 1.5-litre i-VTEC that the Honda City has. It produces 118bhp and 145Nm of torque, and seeing that it is about the same weight as the City, the Jazz offers similar levels of performance. If you haven’t tried out both, let me tell you that the acceleration is good and you’ll get up to speed in good time. What is lacking is that torque that everyone equates with power. The reason: the engine is mated to a CVT so the shifts almost cannot be felt.

But it handles well. The quick-ish steering wheel, despite not having a lot of feedback, makes the Jazz feel like a little dart and quite willing to be chucked into corners. A huge plus is its ability to manoeuvre in and around tight corners, and will drive circles in places other hatchbacks can’t.
Tech and safety (Score: 5/5)

There’s no denying the fact that this Jazz comes loaded with safety and tech. In this V-specification, the hatchback has six airbags, traction control and hold the car on a steep incline while you move your feet from brake to accelerator. And, it also flashes the hazard lights whenever you slam hard on the brakes – it gives fair warning to the car behind to also slow down. 

As for tech, it gets touchscreen LCD in the front that controls the in-car entertainment system. You’ll also find a HDMI port included that serves only for future-proofing purposes at this point in time. The app that lets you link your smartphone to the car is yet to be launched, in Malaysia at least.
Depending what you want in your hatchback, the Jazz may not offer the best of everything. No car can do that. The Swift and Fiesta handles better, the Polo feels more powerful and the Myvi asks for less money. Yet, none of them can hold the candle against the myriad safety equipment and the versatility of space the Jazz offers. In short, young families will have a better time in here than in the competition.

Overall score: 16/20
Honda Jazz 1.5L V Spec 
RM85,314 without insurance
1497cc, inline-4, 16 valves, SOHC i-VTEC, 118bhp @ 6600rpm, 145Nm @ 4600rpm 
CVT, torque converter, front-wheel drive
17.81km/l (approx. 5.61l/100km) 
Length/width/height/wheelbase (mm)
3955 / 1694 / 1524 / 2530

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