If you are in the market for a small hatchback you have an absolute sea of choice. This lucrative sector of the market has just about every manufacturer under the sun baying for your attention. The class is dominated by the likes of VW’s very stylish yet grown-up Polo, and Ford’s funky Fiesta. Honda many years ago introduced its Jazz, a car that did just about everything. The Japanese swiss army knife was perfect for carrying vast loads, being a comfortable place to sit and had bulletproof reliability. This is the new Honda Jazz, but can it live up to its forefather?
To be specific our test car is the £14,550 Si model, a Jazz with a few sporty sprinkles. This specification includes unique 16” diamond cut alloy wheels, some sporty sills and bumpers, not to mention a unique interior. Overall the package does look very neat, particularly in what Honda call “white orchid.” It is a very well proportioned car externally with design architecture that is balanced. It may not be the last word in standing out from the crowd, but it is pleasing to the eye never the less.
Inside the Jazz is cavernous! Getting in for the first time is much like stepping into the TARDIS, it fells so much bigger on the inside. Honda have done a fantastic job in maximising interior space and making the Jazz Si a pleasant place to be. The unique fabric seats in contrasting black and white match similar tones struck by the black plastics and white finish of the exterior paint. Another nice feature is a little display in the form of a bubble that shows the current air conditioning settings. Though the seating didn’t offer much in terms of lateral support it did shine through with an overall comfortable position. Leg room in the rear is generous and thanks to Honda’s “Magic Seats,” that allow you raise the lower part seat swab yet maintain a divide to the boot, every inch of loading space can be used. The boot itself is of good size and when combined with the diversity of the rear bench, the new Jazz not only matches but by far surpasses the previous car in terms of utility.
Around town the Honda Jazz Si excels itself and proves to be more than a match for competitors. The large wing mirrors are perfect for keeping a watchful eye on others in a busy urban environment and visibility all around the car can not be faulted thanks to its large windows. Steering is light and makes parallel parking a joy. Honda has yet again provided a fantastic gearbox that is simply effortless in its function, from cog to cog it never misses a beat. It is clear that in such an environment the Jazz has no equal. The Fiesta and Polo are brilliant but the Jazz wipes the floor with them when it comes to the hustle bustle of the city. However, the trade off is that this Jazz is so suited to these surroundings that when it comes time to hit the open road, the competition fairs better. Powered by a 1.4 litre i-VTEC engine it does become apparent on motorways that the Honda Jazz begins to run out of puff. Approaching 70MPH it just feels like it could do with a few more horsepower to make an overtaking manoeuvre easier. It’s not that it can’t hold its own on the motorway, but it does feel a little reluctant to do so. That said, get the car up to speed and active the cruise control and it will sit there all day long with no trouble at all. The suspension has been tweaked for this Si model to give it a sportier edge and though firmer than the standard car, it does improve the handling somewhat. Whilst conducting our road test we managed to achieve 47MPG which isn’t bad at all in the real world.
All in all Honda has done a very good job with this new Jazz and the Si model with all of its toys does make for a smart little motor to behold. Whilst it doesn’t offer the perfect all-round package, around town it can’t be matched making it ideal for you city slickers. Of course another couple of aces the Honda Jazz has up its sleeves are strong residual values and brilliant reliability. The Honda Jazz suits a purpose.