Honda’s reborn Jazz gets several updates, including design changes on the outside and a spruced-up cabin stuffed with equipments for making it snugger. Despite underpinning a new platform and embodying various styling changes, the Jazz is evidently reminiscent of the older one, which implies that the basic silhouette of the premium hatchback remains unchanged. Though, quite contrary to it, Jazz’s version still has a lot on offing, which was missing earlier and keeps your interest alive in it. One of the most prominent changes made to the nose is the front grille that meets seamlessly with the headlights, thus making it appear like a single unit. Also, the strong beltline stretched until the tail lights accentuates the side profile and renders the much-required assertiveness to the hatchback.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;
The earlier Jazz was such a looker as it had all the right elements in the right proportion. Even now, the previous design doesn’t look dated and scores impressively compared to others in the same range. It simply looked as if designed with patience but the same can’t be said about the new gen.The new one instead is more geeky and futuristic with lines directly lifted from the concept. It might intend to look like a daily commute but at the same time has serious potential to resemble a mean super hot hatch. A single piece front with a short hood profile and a mono rear shape with an elevated roof integrated spoiler needs something as trivial as dark matte alloy wheels, side skirts and a pair of sporty exhaust to bring out its racing side.
Without getting too carried away and focussing on the present, it gets slender headlights flowing in line with a mono style radiator grille. This piano black grille connects the headlights and also houses the turn indicators. The Honda logo sits firm on it. There is a subtle chrome highlight which flows underneath the radiator grille. There is more muscle on the front bumpers with a strong scoop for fog lamps.If seen along the length, it looks more compact than before which is just an illusion as the new Jazz is longer by 55mm. The wheelbase too has been lengthened by 30mm. The intention to alter its dimensions was to add more room inside the cabin; to make the occupants feel more comfortable. The width and height of the New Jazz remains same as before.
The short hood line with a small front overhang gives it a sharp look. To give more character to the side, there is a wedge line rising along the length with a subtly defined lower contour. The roof line, as seen before, doesn’t taper down as it keeps flowing till it meets the integrated roof spoiler. To make it look equally sporty, there are new tornado inspired 15” alloy wheels running on 175 / 65 R15 tyres, which had looked nicer if were wider.The wedge line running on the side reaches the rear section and extends into the new combination LED tail lamps. The roof spoiler is the best feature in terms of aesthetics with a wide rear windshield. There is a chunky chrome band under the screen highlighting the brand logo. The rear bumper too gets scoops with a closed wire mesh.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;
Open the large doors and an all black theme welcomes you. They do instill a sense of Deja Vu as the cabin borrows heavily from the Honda City. The centre console sits at the focus, and it comes with a very neat assortment of buttons and switches. The piano black finish for the entire console brings a premium aura to the entire cabin. We’re sure that you’ll love the 6.2-inch touch screen that is incorporated into the console, and a noteworthy point is that it comes along with DVD playback, navigation and can play music from a host of inputs.
Arranged right beneath this is a feather-touch climate control screen, with controls spread out right underneath it. While it does look cool and futuristic, operating it on the go is a bit of a bother. While we have no complaints on the performance of the air-conditioning, we have to point out that the fan is awfully loud.Integrated into the centre console, in front of the gear-knob are two cup holders. Three more storage slots have been put in place of the armrest, and this may go as a strong bonus for some, and a slash in comfort for others.
The steering wheel is just the right size and feels good to hold. However, it skips out on telescopic adjustment (VW Polo has it). The wheel is shared with the Honda City. The difference, notably, is the lack of cruise control buttons. The basic audio controls have been incorporated into the left, while the telephone buttons are placed behind the wheel.As for the instrument cluster, the dials lack the illuminated blue rings that you’d find in the City. The three-pod instrument cluster house the tachometer, speedometer and a multi-information display (MID). The MID reads out trip details and average fuel efficiency. The pod also houses an instantaneous FE meter, a readout for the outside temperature and the fuel gauge.
There is decent amount of bolstering for lateral support. Even people with heftier builds will have little reason to complain here. Cushioning is adequate and the seat also gets height adjustment. Getting into a comfortable driving position is not a big task, although a telescopic adjust on the steering wheel would have made it much easier. The rear bench is amongst the most spacious in its segment. Sitting three abreast is possible. Knee room and headroom are amongst the best in its class. A noteworthy feature is that the rear bench can recline by a couple of degrees to the back. For someone who dislikes the upright seating posture, the reclined posture keeps the lower back a lot happier.The Jazz also gets something Honda chooses to call ‘Magic Seats’. The rear bench can be folded in multiple combinations, enabling the user to tailor space according to his/her needs. A segment exclusive feature, which is sadly restricted to the top-variants.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
Under the stubby hood of the Jazz one can find either the popular 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol or the relatively new 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel motor. While the former is available with either a 5-speed manual or a CVT automatic, the diesel car gets a 6-speed manual similar to that of the new City. Starting with the petrol motor, this 1.2-litre unit is a familiar unit, previously seen in a range of Honda models including the Brio, the Amaze and even the old Jazz. Known for its refined nature and strong mid-range grunt, it produces 90bhp of power and 110Nm of torque, and in the new Jazz it retains those characteristics. During our stint behind the wheel, the petrol-powered Jazz felt fairly satisfying (if not thrilling) to drive, although I was bound to rev its absolute nuts off to make quick progress. Interestingly, the same engine in the Brio feels much stronger thanks to the car’s significantly less kerb weight. As for the gearbox, the 5-speed manual is also a familiar unit and like before, is a treat to go through the gears. Going by the spike in demand for diesel cars, it’s the diesel-powered Jazz that, in all probability, will be Honda’s new big seller; powered by a 1.5-litre i-DTEC four cylinder motor, the diesel Jazz pushes out 100bhp of power and a meaty 200Nm of torque – familiar numbers for Amaze and City users. It’s the same unit which has received a lot of blow from the users for its harshness and keeping that in mind, Honda says it has invested in additional noise and vibration absorption techniques to reduce NVH levels. So has it worked? Yes, to an extent. However, it is still not as refined as say a diesel Hyundai Elite i20 and the diesel clatter is evident nearly all the time. Honda, though, fights back with a stronger midrange and a comparatively linear power delivery than most vehicles in its class including the VW Polo GT TDI and the Elite i20.
As far as fuel efficiency goes, Honda is claiming up to 27.3 kmpl for the diesel Jazz, making it one of the most fuel efficient hatchbacks on sale today. However, we couldn’t better 16kmpl during our stint with the car, although it was mainly down to our heavy right foot and the fact that our test route included a lot of negotiating through traffic. The impressive figure, no doubt, was aided by the smooth shifting 6-speed manual gearbox which uses a slightly different set of ratios compared to the City.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
So how is the Jazz to drive? It’s as light and agile as you’d expect from a Honda hatch. Ride quality is excellent at slow and medium speeds. We haven’t got the chance to test its stability at high speeds due to the narrow roads of Goa but we did get to test the tyres. These are designed keeping efficiency in mind and so don’t offer the levels of grip we would have liked. The electric steering is light and offers no feedback, which is expected, but it weighs up well and is direct. The Jazz turns in well into corners and stays composed till the tyres reach their grip limits.cellent view of the surroundings, especially while parking the car. Coupled with the rear camera, the Jazz can be slot in tight spaces. The quality of the display screen however could have been better, especially in sharp sunlight.
The Honda Jazz got a 5-star rating from ANCAP but the model tested was equipped with side airbags which aren’t offered in India. Honda is offering ABS and airbags as standard on more than one variant which is a good thing. However, side airbags could have been offered as an option, considering this car is targeted at those who travel with more people frequently. The Japanese automaker’s service network is close to 240 outlets strong and the service offered by dealers is mostly good.
The changes that you will notice in the facelift Jazz hatchback are subtle, but the changes inevitably make the hatchback much better equipped so that it could face its new rivals easily. With all the expected changes that we mentioned above the hatchback surely looks well equipped and will prove to be much more value for money product.