More pizzazz for new Jazz
It’s one thing for a car company to tell us they’re revitalising their brand, but another to see it through. The buying public are a discerning lot and not easily fooled, so without exciting and interesting new product, no amount of screaming from the rooftops will get the message across.
With the new third generation Jazz, the team at Honda can be confident they have the right product to back up their claims and widen their appeal, injecting some pizzazz into their brand with an offering that’s likely to find favour with a more youthful, or young at heart buyer.
Not that the previous two generations of Honda Jazz failed to attract buyers, but you were more likely to see them parked at the bowling or bridge club than the mountain bike track carpark, despite Honda’s relentless claim that the magic rear seats had the ability to fold out of the way if you needed space for a mountain bike! Yes, that may be stereotyping, but you get the gist.
As with previous models, there’s still tardis-like interior space which would put most larger cars to shame. The magic seats remain for those who have a need to lug bulky items in the back and as before, the Jazz still holds the cup holder and cubby-hole title.
More refined, more gear, more power
Improvements over previous generations are numerous, but most noticeably, the new Jazz is more refined than before, with a much more up-to-date interior and some of the most advanced technology in this class.
Available in various guises from Jazz S, Jazz RS, RS Sport, RS Limited and RS Mugen, all but the Jazz S are powered by a Direct Injected 1.5 litre petrol powerplant. The entry-level 1.3 litre Jazz S comes only with a CVT automatic transmission and all other models are offered with the choice of CVT with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters or a six speed manual ‘box, one extra cog over and above the five speed unit in the model it replaces.
The new 1.5 litre DOHC i-VTEC engine boasts a raft of Honda’s new Earth Dream Technology features. With bigger valves, improved piston design, reductions in weight of rotational parts and lower friction, the new engine achieves improved thermal efficiency and increased power.
With the 1.3 litre engine producing 73kW/119Nm and 97kW/155Nm for the 1.5, that’s up to 10% increase in power and 6% increase in torque, and weighing in at 1,070kg (for the Jazz RS CVT), that’s 55kg lighter than before.
Both engines burn 91 octane juice, with fuel economy improvements claimed at 20% for the 1.5 litre, now at 5.3L/100km and 25.6% for the 1.3 litre at 5.1L/100km. Given the power increases along with weight reductions, the latest Jazz is quite a lively thing too, with impressive performance off the line.
Standard equipment across the range is impressive and includes hill start assist, alloy wheels and a seven inch colour touch screen with Bluetooth, navigation and a reversing camera, although it must be said that while a reversing camera is a welcome safety addition, the resolution and clarity of the camera leaves a bit to be desired.
A safe bet, with a five year warranty
Scoring a 5 star ANCAP safety rating, safety equipment includes ABS, EBD and EBA braking systems, VSA and TCA stability and traction control systems, six airbags and RS models come with City Brake Assist (CTBA).
Automatic models get a space-saver spare wheel, with manual models only having a temporary tyre inflation kit and all models are rated to tow a 1,200kg braked trailer. We’re pleased to see that Honda now publish pricing, as opposed to their old regime when depending on the day your car arrived in New Zealand and the exchange rate to the Japanese Yen on the day, one car might cost more or less than its twin that arrived last week or next. Not only that, but the pricing is also pretty competitive, starting at $23,700 plus On Road Costs (ORC) for the Jazz S, through to $30,900 plus ORC for the Jazz RS Mugen - plus there’s a five year, unlimited kilometer warranty.
Our pick would be the 1.5 litre engine and CVT transmission. Spec level is up to you, but for our money the Jazz RS, which comes with 16 inch alloys, steering wheel paddle shifters, sport seats, suspension and steering, but without some of the add-on looking body kit styling appendages of the RS Sport or OTT bling of the RS Mugen, would be the pick of the bunch, priced at $26,900 plus ORC.