Honda Jazz Hybrid 2013 Review

August 17th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

As a piano player I’ve often used the excuse of ‘play a mistake, play it again, call it jazz.’ In fact, Miles Davis said “If you’re not making a mistake, it’s a mistake.” So, will Jazz Hybrid ownership provide you a lilting and harmonious melody, or a seething pit of arrhythmic dissonance?


You can only get the Jazz Hybrid with a 72kW 1.3-litre IMA i-VTEC engine. It’s full of ‘economy-enhancing technology’ like VCM (variable cylinder management) for optimising power and efficiency, and drive-by-wire electronic throttle control, according to Honda. And, of course, it’s connected to the hybrid-y electric bits.


The engine is accompanied by a CVT gearbox, as is becoming popular. This is quite noisy under full acceleration. The Jazz is destined to be a town car driven shorter distances, so a CVT is the sensible choice with its superior fuel economy on the urban runs. You can expect your fuel economy to sit in the 5-6l/100km range. I achieved 5.3l/100km driving from Ponsonby to Arkles Bay and back into Whangaparaoa (about 40km of urban and motorway driving), without trying to drive economically, and without having the eco switch turned on. That’s not bad, but Honda claims 4.5l/100km, so obviously I’m a leadfoot.

You can’t instruct it to drive under just battery power. Instead, the Jazz turns off the engine as you’re coasting to a stop, and thus saves petrol when you’d ordinarily be burning it at the lights, plus it will provide some power during cruising by managing the petrol engine. Continue reading “Honda Jazz Hybrid 2013 Review” »

Honda Euro Civic L Auto 2012 Review

November 13th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Take one Civic, replace 70% of it and inject some slightly more confronting design language and you have the Euro Civic. It’s a Civic-sized car with Civic sensibilities, but designed (and positioned) so that Italian playboys will buy one for their mistress.

Honda has struggled recently with its brand image, and the problems with supply that resulted from the Japanese tsunami didn’t help. This car is going to inject a bit more design excitement into the range – something that’s been carried recently only Continue reading “Honda Euro Civic L Auto 2012 Review” »

Honda Civic 2.0S 2012 Review

July 10th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Some cars really shine with the addition of some extra bling and the top-of-the-range Civic 2.0S is one of them. The increase from 16-inch wheels to 17-inch wheels, fog lamps and body-coloured bumpers and door handles lifts the profile significantly; throw cream leather seats into the mix and you’ve got a looker that’s also plush on the interior.

While you can spend more on the Civic IMA CVT Auto which we reviewed here – it is $43,500 compared to the 2.0S which is $38,500 – you’re paying for the extra economy given by the IMA’s battery technology, and not the interior fitout. I would rather have the 2.0S because, Continue reading “Honda Civic 2.0S 2012 Review” »

Honda Civic 1.8S 2012 Review

May 9th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

The first Honda Civic was introduced a couple of years before I was born – 1972. It was a time when you couldn’t give away the big-cubes muscle cars that now sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the oil crisis was very real and Soichiro Honda had a plan: a small, light car with a 1169cc engine that would get you from A to B (unless you hit C).

Yes, back in those days a one-star crash rating was common. Not now, though. The new Civic 1.8 VTEC 5-speed manual that we’ve had for the last week gets five stars with its six airbags ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist, electronic stability control and other safety measures. There’s even Motion Adaptive Continue reading “Honda Civic 1.8S 2012 Review” »

Honda CRZ 2012 Review

January 18th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

To date, hybrid vehicles have certainly been rather dull automobiles that have failed miserably to excite anyone with the need for speed. Just when you thought all was lost for anyone wanting to save the planet one kilometre at a time, Honda’s new CRZ hybrid has come to the rescue.  Billed as the long awaited replacement for the CRX, Honda has managed to capture that same youthful enthusiasm the CRX delivered those 26 years ago.

Everywhere you look the CRZ has taken styling cues from the CRX. From the bodylines to the classic split rear window, it’s instantly recognisable as its predecessor.

That CRX feel is carried on into the interior, with the instrument cluster featuring wings like the original 1986 model. A large central analogue rev counter dominates the display with a digital speedo inside. Everything can be controlled right at your fingertips on the steering wheel, including shift paddles if you elect for the CVVT auto transmission model. As with decent modern stereos there is both an aux and USB input for MP3 player or iPod. The USB cord is hidden in a small smart device sized compartment in the centre console, keeping the device out of sight and out of harm’s way.

Continue reading “Honda CRZ 2012 Review” »

Honda Accord Euro L 2012 Review

October 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It would be a difficult task tracking down a kiwi that has never driven or been a passenger in a Honda Accord. There are few models of car as entrenched in our land as the humble Accord, almost 900 are for sale right now on the Trade Me website. So after 35 years and eight generations how can Honda keep the Accord fresh and appealing? Splitting the model line into the Accord V6 and Accord Euro has gone some way to adapting to different tastes. But true success can only be found by continuing the Accord’s traditional strengths of style, affordability and all-rounder ability. Car and SUV spent some time with the facelifted 2012 Honda Accord Euro to see what’s new and what has stayed the same.

The Accord Euro has received fresh styling tweaks that include a new two-bar chrome grille, re-sculptured front bumper, foglight surrounds and reworked headlights. The taillights have also been replaced and there’s a splash of chrome detailing on the boot grab point. Our tested high-spec Euro L model was elegantly finished with twin chrome exhaust outlets, silver door handles and newly designed 17-inch 5-spoke wheels. All up, it’s a fairly tame facelift but the Accord Euro remains one of the more stylish entries in the mid-size sedan segment. Its clean lines and wide, athletic stance continue to have broad appeal. Continue reading “Honda Accord Euro L 2012 Review” »

Honda Jazz 1.3S Sport 2011 Review

October 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Although it still seems like a new model line for Honda, the popular Jazz has been around for 10 years already. To keep things fresh for Jazz fans, Honda has refreshed its sub-compact hatch with styling tweaks, new colours and extra equipment. When the second-generation Jazz reached NZ shores in early 2008 it had mums nationwide swooning and quite a few Grandmas too. The Jazz was affordable, practical and cute – healthy sales followed. But that was 2008, since then the Jazz has come up against some tough competition like updated version of the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and the rampaging Suzuki Swift.  Will the 2011 facelift be able to maintain the Jazz’s place within the affections of NZ mums? Car and SUV belted into a 2011 Jazz 1.3S Sport to find out the answers.

While Honda’s facelifts are sometimes criticized for being too subtle the Jazz receives visual updates in a few key areas. At the front there’s a more modern bumper and a replacement grille that joins new headlights. It’s a similar situation at the rear where restyled taillights sit above a new bumper. The result of the changes is a hatch that not only looks sleeker but also is also more aerodynamic. Our 1.3S Sport model received some striking extra features like a sportier grille, rear hatch spoiler and a full body kit with deeper side skirting. 15-inch alloy wheels are standard and door handles and mirror caps are nicely colour-matched. Continue reading “Honda Jazz 1.3S Sport 2011 Review” »

Next Honda Civic Type R may be turbocharged

October 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Civic Type-R has a loyal fan following. mostly by admirers of it’s naturally aspirated VTEC engine. So it will be with mixed feelings that fans receive reports that the next-generation of the hottest Civic will use a turbocharged engine for the first time ever.

While only a rumour at this stage, the unconfirmed reports claim that the 2013 Civic Type-R currently in development will use a Mugen-produced, 156kW 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine. That’s only a small increase over the 148kW of power in the current model Type-R (pictured). The Honda fan boys who are left wondering why, can thank the strict European emissions regulations for the shift to forced induction. To salt the wounds the next Type-R will likely receive a stop-start system to reduce fuel consumption even further.

The good news is that the next-gen Type-R will come packing some neat tricks like a six-speed manual box with short-throw shifter, track-ready suspension set-up and all manner of aerodynamic aids. Expect 0-100 km/h times in the low six second bracket and a top speed of around 240 km/h. Continue reading “Next Honda Civic Type R may be turbocharged” »