Honda: 2014 Jazz S review

Honda: 2014 Jazz S review

The Jazz has always been Tardis-like. You take a look from the outside and think there’s no way you’d easily fit a couple of six-footers in the rear passenger seats, but it can be done quite comfortable. Even the boot capacity is good at 363 litres (better than the Ford EcoSport compact SUV we had last week, and miles more than the perennial small car favourite, the Suzuki Swift).

The passenger compartment also contains Honda’s ‘magic seats’ which fold flat to give a huge carrying space for longer or bulkier items, or flip up the rear seats to let you carry tall things like a bike.

Honda Jazz S 2014 rear seatsThe only way you can do that with a car of such diminutive dimensions (3955mm long) is to endow it gingerly and use space cleverly (including putting the fuel tank beneath the front seats). There’s a 73kW 1.3-litre engine buzzing away under the steeply sloped bonnet and it’ll only liberate 73kW even with your foot just about through Honda Jazz S 2014 frontthe firewall. Surprisingly it wasn’t too bad performance-wise, only really struggling if it was full of people and/or goods.

The exterior and exterior have been thoroughly modernised to appeal predominantly, it seems, to younger females. The previous Jazz was fairly stylish on the inside (read 2013 Jazz Hybrid article here) , or the (2011 Jazz 1.3S here) but was overdue for a makeover and Honda has done this well by planting a large touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard and chucking every multimedia bell and whistle at it, at the expense of some, what we would consider, basic new car requirements. More on that later. The rest of the dash is functional: hard plastics, but very well fitted. It’s quite a minimalist look compared to the old dash.

The Jazz S is the base model in the range. It sits on tyres that are the width of rice cakes (175/65R15) which I thought would be problematic on the more sinuous tarmac stretches, but I was wrong as the handling is quite well sorted and the ride is benign. Try to push too hard and it start to understeer at which time the electronics intervene. The front seats lack a bit of support in the seat squab if you’re tall.

There are six airbags, all the necessary electronics to stop you skidding (Vehicle Stability Assist and Traction Control) and a 5-star ANCAP crash test safety rating. Fuel economy is quoted as 5.1l/100km combined; I achieved that figure on an open road trip.

What do you miss out on? OK, this is the base model, but we think that automatic lights and cruise control are prerequisites for cars these days, and sat nav isn’t (people have phones with better sat nav systems than ever come out in cars). Also, I haven’t seen a manual interior/exterior airflow switch since I drove a base model Toyota Hilux about three years ago – I thought that way oHonda Jazz S 2014 wheelf selecting your air was extinct.

Honda Jazz S 2014 screenBut it’s pretty cheap to put a 7-inch screen in a car these days; probably cheaper than manufacturing buttons and electromechanical bits like rain sensors and light sensors. You can buy a touchscreen Android tablet at retail for less than $140, so in a car, at bulk purchase prices, it’s going to be cheap to install everything you can.

The user interface is apps-driven and once connected to your phone either via Bluetooth or USB it stream audio or act as a hands-free phone kit. There’s also an SD card slot and a separate audio input for older MP3 players.

The Jazz comes in a range of colours both muted and garish from alabaster silver and premium violet pearl (like our test car), through to the visually arresting attract yellow pearl and vivid sky blue pearl.

With such small exterior dimensions, getting into and out of parking spots is fairly straightforward. There’s a reversing camera to help, too. Being a fisheye lens, the camera’s image is very distorted and when it looks like you’re 3 metres away you’re actually only half a metre of so. You get used to this quickly. You can purchase additional sensors as an accessory.

I think there’s one big problem with the Jazz though, and you have to ask yourself the following question to see if it’ll be a problem for you: will you ever take the Jazz anywhere and want to leave anything in the car while you are out, say, shopping or at the movies? If the answer is yes, then the lack of a parcel shelf is going to leave all your valuables on display for thieves. It’s really an unacceptable omission in my opinion.

So, there you have it. It’s a damn good city car – great for errands, socialising and shopping – ruined by the lack of one simple thing: a parcel shelf.

Price: $23,700

Pros

  • Roomy, especially in the back, with excellent luggage capacity
  • Handles remarkably well given the narrow tyres

Cons

  • Lacks basic features like auto lights/wipers
  • 73kW struggles if you have a full car
  • No parcel shelf


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