FOR a small car, the new Honda Jazz makes a big impression.
This is the second generation of the Jazz, which has been a global success story for Honda since its debut in 2001. More than 2.5 million have been sold in 115 countries, putting it up there with the classy Civic as one of the most widely-distributed Honda models.
The latest release comes with greater style, better ride and handling, and a slight power boost.
Three choices are available _ a 1.3-litre GLi and two 1.5-litre i-VTEC models, VTi and the sporty, top-of-the-range VTi-S.
Prices range from $15,990 for the GLi, to $19,170 (VTi) and $21,590 (VTi-S). This is with 5-speed manual transmission and the 5-speed auto adds $2000 in the base model and $2320 in the plusher offerings.
There are a host of standard features, including ABS brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), dual front air bags, power windows and mirrors, central locking and a single CD sound system.
For an additional $1000, you can add side and curtain airbags and a multi-information display, trip computer and seatbelt reminder for all passengers.
We tested the GLi with the 1.3-litre engine that has been tweaked to deliver 73kW (up 12kW) of power at 6000rpm and 127Nm (up 8Nm) of torque at 4800revs.
Economy is brilliant at around 5.8 litres for every 100km covered, but performance is far from exhilarating. Those looking for more punch would be advised to look at the VTi or VTi-S with the 1.5.
In saying that, the 1.3 can be revved up to slice through the city traffic and sits comfortably on the highway speed limit.
Jazz’s greatest strength would have to be its practicality.
For a compact car, it has generous interior dimensions with sufficient room for four adults. There’s a surprising amount of head and leg room and even this 192cm tester was well accommodated. The steering wheel is tilt and reach adjustable and the massive windscreen and uncluttered interior layout enhances the feeling of spaciousness.
Flexible seating allows you to collapse the rear seats to create a flat load floor able to carry 848 litres of cargo. Lay the front passenger seat down and you can fit an object up to 2.4m long. Storage options include front door bins, a compartment in the centre console and a dual glovebox. Curiously, there are 10 cup holders _ 2 for each occupant.
The latest Jazz is slightly longer and wider than its predecessor but maintains a handy turning circle of 9.8m, making it a breeze to park.
External styling oozes youth and fun and it is sure to appeal to the young and young at heart.
Honda has built on the success of Jazz and wisely opted to refine the favourite, rather than make wholesale changes.
Backed by quality engineering, flexibility and interior space, the newcomer sits at the top of its class.
• All-new 1.3-litre 4-valve i-VTEC SOHC engine delivering 73kW@6000rpm and
• Euro 4 compliant
• 5.8 litres/100km combined (Manual Transmission) 138g/km
• A 5-speed manual or the all-new 5-speed automatic transmission - unique to the segment
• McPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension
• Dual front airbags
• Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
• Front seatbelt pretensioners
• Front ventilated disc brakes and rear solid disc brakes
• Upgraded Electric Power Steering (EPS)
• Halogen headlights
• 60/40 split-fold rear seats with one-touch fold down action
• Flexible seating design including collapsible flat load floor
• Large cargo area of 337 litres (seats up) or 848 litres (rear seats folded)
• Centrally mounted fuel tank
• Compact dimensions with short nose design
• Multi information display including odometer, trip meter, average fuel economy and estimated range, speed alarm, seat belt reminder for all occupants (Safety Pack option only)
• Centre console with integrated storage pockets
• Single in-dash CD player, four speakers, AM/FM tuner & MP3 and WMA
• Central locking
• 10 cupholders
• Power windows
• Power mirrors
• Body coloured mirrors and door handles
• Fuel lid that locks with central locking
• Three rear head restraints
• Tilt and telescopic steering
• Dust and pollen cabin filter
• Auxiliary jack
• Speed-sensitive volume compensation (SVC)
As per GLi, plus:
• Revised 1.5-litre SOHC i-VTEC engine producing 88 kW@6600 rpm and 145 Nm@ 4800 rpm
• 5-speed manual transmission or 5-speed automatic transmission
• Multi information display including odometer, trip meter, average fuel economy and estimated range, speed alarm, seat belt reminder for all occupants
• Passenger vanity mirror
• Security alarm system
• Side airbag with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
• Curtain airbag
As VTi, plus:
• Front and rear sports bumper
• Side skirts
• 16 inch alloy wheels
• Leather covered steering wheel
• Cruise control
• Driver’s seat arm rest (auto only)