First drive impressions for the refreshed Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz face-lift was recently launched with a price tag of Rs. 5.5 lakh making it a very attractive option for buyers in the premium hatchback segment. We, at CarToq, test drove one to see how it compares with its main rivals like the Swift and i20.

There are three variants of the Honda Jazz, all of which sport a 1.2-litre petrol engine. The base variant, the Jazz Standard is priced at Rs 5.5 lakh while the top-end Jazz X comes at Rs 6.06 lakh. We drove the mid trim Jazz Select that’s priced at Rs 5.75 lakh.

The first thing you notice about the Jazz is the fact that it’s a big hatchback. It offers oodles of space inside which immediately makes you feel right at home. The car still lacks a diesel engine, a front on which the competition is far ahead.

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Photo: The new Honda Jazz gets an all new grille and raked headlamps

Honda has made plenty of changes to the exterior of the Jazz, but has the company succeeded in making the Jazz a better contender in the market space? Here’s CarToq first drive impressions of the mid-variant Jazz Select.

Looks, fit and finish

Exterior

The first major change you notice on the new Jazz is the fact that it has been dipped in plenty of chrome. Overall, Honda has made some minor tweaks which include re-designed, raked-up headlamps, a chrome grille up front and a chrome slat at the rear. The bumpers have been re-designed giving the car a fresher look and stance.

The only thing that sets the new Jazz apart from the older model when looked at from a distance is primarily the chrome grille. The bright red Jazz we drove did turn quite some heads and the car does inspire a second look no matter where you take it.

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Photo: The rear of the Jazz gets a thick chrome slat and mesh slats in the bumper

So, the car is a good looker but the changes aren’t very noticeable and in essence we don’t think Honda will pull buyers simply because of design tweaks.

Interior

What is noticeable though are changes to the interior, such as the use of beige upholstery which instantly gives the Jazz an up-market feel. That coupled with the neat and sorted dashboard almost makes you forget that you are sitting in a hatchback and not a sedan. Honda has tried to make its premium hatch feel like a sedan, which will surely go down well with customers.

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Photo: On the inside the Jazz feels plush and up-market and has an airy feel

Honda has also given the Jazz some handy features. The Jazz now gets a much-needed USB and Aux-in port. Some of you may remember the versatile rear ‘magic seats’ of the old Jazz, which can be folded in multiple ways to accommodate luggage. Now they also get a recline feature.

Another thing that made us breathe a sigh of relief were the steering mounted audio controls which along with the other features bring the Jazz up to date in terms of gadget support.

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Photo: The rear seats of the Jazz are spacious and there is ample head and legroom

The insides like the older Jazz are airy and give you a good all round view of the road. The large glass area almost lets the surroundings in and you feel very confident while driving the car. Safety features such as ABS, EBD and dual airbags are standard across all variants while the Jazz Select (and Jazz X) get sporty alloy wheels as well.

Performance and Handling

The new Honda Jazz is powered by the old 1.2 litre i-VTEC petrol motor that the Jazz has always had. It produces a healthy 89 bhp of max power, but only 110 Nm of max torque which means that the car is peppy and fun to drive, but is a bit sluggish at low rpm.

Also if you have the air-conditioner on like we did to combat the relentless heat, it’s best to rev the car to beyond 3,000 rpm to get it to move. That said, it’s an engine that loves to be revved. The gearbox is responsive and doesn’t mind being pushed.

When you slot the Jazz into first gear and rev hard you’ll notice that the engine takes on a muted, sporty note. But sadly the car doesn’t really move as much as the engine’s sound would have you believe. However, once the car does gather momentum it is a complete breeze to drive. Handling is precise and the electronic power steering gives ample feedback especially on sharp turns. The suspension is effective and only particularly large pot holes will filter into the cabin. Cornering abilities also are good, with minimal body roll though, if you compare it to the Maruti Suzuki Swift you will notice that the Swift is better.

The Jazz moves effortlessly both in city traffic and out on open highways. The car feels stable even at high speeds and the engine does not yelp in pain when revved hard. The brakes are effective and ABS kicks in effectively, but the brake pedal feels a little soft. See our video review of the new Honda Jazz here

Mileage

We didn’t have the car long enough to test the mileage of the Jazz, but the ARAI claimed mileage for the car is 16.9 kmpl. That figure is good, but not as much as the competition. For example, the Maruti Swift and the Hyundai i20 claim 18.6 kmpl and 18 kmpl respectively. In real world conditions, Jazz owners have been known to get over 14 kmpl in the city.

Moreover the Jazz does not have the luxury of a diesel engine which means mileage conscious buyers may still find its diesel-powered competitors more practical.

What we think

The re-priced and face-lifted Honda Jazz is now great value for money as it has far more space overall than all the other hatchbacks in its segment. At its new price point the Honda Jazz is ready to battle it out with the Hyundai i20 and the Volkswagen Polo.

Honda cars always seemed a little too expensive, but not any more. The Jazz is better than the i20 on performance though it may lack a bit of gadgetry. But compared to the Polo, the Jazz is good value for money and a worthy competitor. Also read: Honda Jazz vs Hyundai i20

What we like

Good handling and all-round visibility
Spacious interiors
Versatile luggage space

 

What we dislike
Lack of low-end torque
No fog lamps on Select variant
Brake pedal feel

Technical Specifications

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