It’s been 5 years since Honda launched the Jazz and it’s remained pretty much at the top of its class, especially in terms of load space and versatility, but with a new model around the corner we thought we should take a last look at the Jazz. We roadtested a Jazz Sport in Blaze Orange.
Blaze Orange is a colour that you don’t lose in a car park. It’s instantly recognisable amongst the whites, silvers, reds and blues of the car world, like Ford’s range of colours on its Falcon. The Jazz Sport is a pumped-up version of the 1.3-litre Jazz and comes with side skirts, sports exhaust tip, mesh lower grille, roof spoiler and front fog lamps and reversing sensors in the bumper. Fifteen-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 185/55 profile tyres set the car off, concealing ventilated disc brakes up front.
It’s the Jazz’s ability to swallow up luggage that belies its dimensions — only 3.85m long and 1.68m wide. The Jazz extends its corners as far as possible without looking like a box, and you’ll appreciate the height that gives a respectable 380 litres of luggage space even with the rear seats up. Fold them forward and the flat floor gives you 1321 litres.
A seven-speed gearbox is something you wouldn’t expect to find in a car in this class, and with all those ratios matched to CVT there’s barely any break in the acceleration. Use the button on the steering wheel to change it to sequential manual, and you can play with the gears using the paddles just behind the steering wheel. The 81kW from the 1.5-litre VTEC engine isn’t brisk (even when highly revved), but is usable enough around town. The Jazz also feels the most accomplished in its class when travelling at motorway speeds, its slightly firmer suspension giving more precise handling and better feel of the road. A Macpherson strut up front and trailing arm with torsion beam, both with anti-roll bars, coupled with a low kerb weight of 1065kg means hurling the Jazz into the corners is fun and reliably consistent.
You sit fairly upright and high up in the Jazz, though it is possible to adjust the seat to a more laid back position. Good visibility all around is like sitting in an MPV and it is complemented by tiny turning circle making manoeuvring simple. An attractive and well-planned cabin features large buttons and dials for the stereo and air conditioning. Stereo controls are duplicated on the leather steering wheel for the in-dash single-CD player. A convenient under-dash parcel shelf is welcome cabin storage.
The Jazz achieved 5.59l/100km in the EnergyWise Rally in 2006, and its quoted fuel consumption on the combined rate is 6.1l/100km. It has a LEV II low emission vehicle rating.
The usual trio of ABS, EBD (electronic brake distribution) and EBA (emergency brake assist) are present, along with driver and passenger front and side airbags, and seatbelt pretensioners.
The Jazz has won plenty of accolades and its easy to see why. It would be an easy car to live with, and one that even after five successful years on the market is still showing the way.
Price: from $24,600
What we like
- All that space
- Fuel economy
What we don’t like
Words and photos Darren Cottingham