HONDA JAZZ: A BRAND NEW TUNEPosted On: November 18, 2015 By : AutoLife Team
Honda entered the hatchback market 6 years ago with a lot of promise with their second generation Jazz; it set the benchmark for premium hatchbacks. However, despite global success, it fell short of massive local success because of its less than appealing prices in the Nepali and Indian market. To be honest, despite being an amazing hatchback, it did not fare too well when the likes of Hyundai took over the market with a well-priced product that featured a list of creature comforts. Over the years, Honda has learned its lesson and improved on its shortcomings. Now, with a tried and proven engine, a brand name that commands a stronghold in the market, and finally a competitive pricing, what we have now is a force to be reckoned with. We test the newest offering from Honda in the form of a hatchback that is all set to make a massive impact with its comeback. Here is the 3rd generation Honda Jazz.
What Honda has here is a cohesive form they like to call ‘Crossfade Monoform Design’ which essentially is different from conventional cars that are classified as two-box or three-box vehicles. Its MPV’ish styling incorporates sharp aggressive designs which brings you the best of both worlds.The Honda Jazz has been careful not to overdo things with the chrome treatment and the front end brandishes a mature combination of a large black grille with a hint of silver where a large Honda emblem sits in the centre. Design cues such as the narrow headlights have been borrowed from the City which works well on this hatchback; however the Jazz houses H4 bulbs while the City has double barrel lights.To give it a sporty appeal, the belt line has been extended through the side of the body all the way to the tail lights complimenting a low stance. The roofline flows well into the integrated rear spoiler and gives the hatchback its MPV’ish styling that we mentioned earlier. Sharp shoulder line creases running through the length of the body helps give the Jazz its edgy appearance.Honda has been slightly more liberal with the use of chrome in the rear of the Jazz. A well placed chrome strip runs through the width of the rear. The tail lights house LED bulbs. Faux honeycomb vents have been inserted at the bumper corners and gives the rear more character.
The interiors of the Jazz are similar to that of the City. It is an all-black affair in the top spec variant while the mid and lover variants get the popular black and beige combo. There is a 5 inch head unit (6.2 inch touch screen in top variant) that operates the stereo and Bluetooth telephony. It also works as a reversing camera. Top variants also get touch sensitive Auto AC panels which works well.
The steering wheel has a nice feel to it and has the usual steering mounted controls that let you operate the audio and telephony. Well integrated into the dash is the instrument cluster that houses two analog dials displaying the rpm meter and speedometer and a digital MID showing a trip meter, distance to empty, and fuel consumption. The ambient lighting turns green when you’re driving sensibly and blue when you’re not. To toggle through the MID, you need to use the stalk that’s located at the top right. While the steering wheel adjusts for rake, telescopic adjustment is not offered. Sadly, there is no engine start/stop button.
Inside, the cabin is a spacious ordeal and the cabin feels wider than most cars in its segment. There is plenty of knee room and the Jazz can seat 4 passengers. The VX variant also offers the luxury of what is touted as “magic seats” that allow you to utilize the flexibility of the seating to create several seating arrangements and fit in a lot of stuff. At 354 liters, the boot space is the largest amongst hatchbacks.
Born and bred under the Japanese brand name, there is little complaint when it comes to the Honda engine and its performance. We drove the 1.2L petrol version which had under its hood the familiar 1.2L i-VTEC 4 cylinder mill that powered the Brio and Amaze. The engine produces 89 BHP @ 6,000 rpm and 110 Nm of torque @ 4,800 rpm. It is well powered but could do better in terms of bottom end rpm performance which might require you to make regular downshifts.But higher up the revs the Jazz finds its stride and pleads to be pushed. Acceleration is good and you’ll see that it performs well when you’re not shy with the accelerator. The gear ratios are tall so you will have to downshift to overtake. Luckily, the gear shifts are smooth and change gears with a satisfying click.Maneuvering in traffic isn’t a gargantuan task because the Jazz responds well to your inputs. Steering is light and gives adequate feedback. Taking corners is satisfying and you won’t find yourself struggling to not soil your pants.
The premium hatchback segment has little room to spare and competition is tough. One wrong move and you’re out of the competition; making a comeback won’t be an easy task. When it first came out, the Jazz set a benchmark for premium hatchbacks but did not fare well in the local market due to their pricing strategy. Six years later, the bar has been raised for the segment.
It was imperative that Honda come with their guns blazing, which they did to a certain extent. As a well trusted company should, Honda has not failed when it comes to performance. The 1.2L petrol that we drove was decent and felt adequate for city driving.In terms of appearance, there is little to complain about the Jazz. It might not be overly flamboyant, but who wants that anyways? It definitely looks good and provides a list of creature comforts which increases the appeal of the vehicle.Most importantly, Honda has been careful to make sure that the pricing is more appealing than it previously was. And this makes it worth the consideration for customers who want a premium hatchback that is backed by a brand name that seems to tickle the fancy of all Nepalese people.