Honda Jazz Expert Review

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Introduction

Honda Jazz
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Believe it or not, the car you see in the picture is in fact the “new” Jazz. Honda’s hatch has got its first update after three full years. Surprisingly, though, Honda hasn’t bothered fiddling around with the recipe too much. Let’s run through what’s changed, and figure out if it has changed for the better. 

Pros
  • Space. A proper five-seater hatchback in the true sense
  • Massive 354-litre boot is the largest in class
  • Comfortable ride quality feels just right for the city
  • CVT is well tuned for everyday driving - smooth, relaxed and efficient
Cons
  • Feature deletions such as Magic Seats, rear spoiler could have been avoided
  • Design is showing its age and should have been updated
  • Top-spec petrol manual misses out on feel-good features such as start/stop button and cruise control

Stand Out Features

  • The VX CVT variant gets paddle shifters which come in handy if you want to hold on to a gear for spirited driving or quick overtaking

    The VX CVT variant gets paddle shifters which come in handy if you want to hold on to a gear for spirited driving or quick overtaking

  • New 7-inch infotainment system borrowed from Honda Amaze comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and is a capacitive touchscreen when compared to the smaller, restive-type unit offered before

    New 7-inch infotainment system borrowed from Honda Amaze comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and is a capacitive touchscreen when compared to the smaller, restive-type unit offered before

  • Cruise control (only with diesel and CVT models)

    Cruise control (only with diesel and CVT models)

  • The LED tail lamps now span all way up to the top of the rear windscreen. The outgoing version had dummy units.

    The LED tail lamps now span all way up to the top of the rear windscreen. The outgoing version had dummy units.

CarDekho Verdict

Time to answer the question at the beginning. Is there more to the Jazz than a rejigged feature list? The answer, is no. Honda has done enough to ensure that the Jazz is more in tune with the times. We’re glad there’s a 21st century-approved touchscreen, with the correct set of connectivity options. What we aren’t too kicked about are the deletion of features, especially the magic seats, which in our opinion was THE defining feature of the Jazz. All said and done, the 2018 Honda Jazz isn’t a biblically different product compared to what you could buy for the past three years.

" It’s just as dependable, drivable and accommodating as ever."

Exterior

Honda Jazz

What’s changed? We wouldn’t blame you if you thought Honda hasn’t bothered changing anything with respect to the design. That’s because, they haven’t — at all. The “updated” version of the Jazz has had no changes to the sheet metal, or the bumpers. International markets got a fresher looking model in 2017, replete with sportier looking bumpers, new alloy wheels, and a full-LED headlamp cluster (a la Honda City). Sadly, the Indian version gets the short end of the stick.

Honda Jazz

There’s nothing substantial to report here, save for the small dollop of chrome on the door handles, and the extended lighting in the tail lamps. The added lights, though, are available only in the top-spec VX variant. Since we’re talking of the VX variant, do note that the Jazz no longer gets the sweet-looking spoiler. 

Honda Jazz

Honda could have used this update to jazz it up a bit (pun intended), and throw in a pair of daytime running lamps if not the full-LED headlamps. But, that’s not been the case. What we do get, are two new colours borrowed from the Amaze - red and silver. 

Honda Jazz

Exterior Comparison

Hyundai Elite i20 Maruti Baleno Honda Jazz
Length (mm) 3985 3995 3955
Width (mm) 1734 1745 1694
Height (mm) 1505 1510 1544
Ground Clearance (mm) 170 170 165
Wheel Base (mm) 2570 2520 2530
Kerb Weight (kg) - 985 1154
 

Boot Space Comparison

Maruti Baleno Honda Jazz Hyundai Elite i20
Volume 339-litres 354-litres 285-litres
 

Interior

Honda Jazz

Unless you’ve got your eyes set on the range-topping VX variant, the Jazz doesn’t have anything new to offer at all. Not that we expected a new design here, but everything continues to remain familiar, and friendly. The cabin remains ergonomically sound too - every button and dial falls to hand easily, and you’d feel at home almost instantly. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Right! 

Honda Jazz

What did need a whole lot of fixing, though, was the 6.2-inch touchscreen in the previous iteration. It felt like a Nokia 5233 in the age of the Google Pixel, and didn’t offer a seamless user experience to say the least. Considering the Baleno and the Elite i20 pack in seriously s-l-i-c-k touchscreens, the Jazz’ infotainment command centre stuck out like a sore thumb. Not anymore, though! The 7-inch DigiPad 2.0, borrowed from the Amaze is a wonderful update and we appreciate both, the added real estate as well as the responsiveness. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are just bonuses. 

Honda Jazz

The cabin is as airy as ever, and the room on offer continues to be stellar. Be it headroom, shoulder room or kneeroom at the rear, all of it is in generous supply. Seats continue to be soft and cushy, which might not necessarily be to everyone’s tastes. The lack of proper headrests at the rear might be another snag for some. If you’re a tall person, the integrated headrest juts against the neck which can get annoying, especially on long journeys. 

Honda Jazz

Honda has also gone ahead and ditched the Jazz’ trademark “Magic Seats”. This feature alone made the hatchback a whole lot more versatile, and it’s rather surprising that Honda chose to strike this off the list. What’s even more surprising is the fact that there’s no 60:40 split for the seats either.

Honda Jazz

If you’re spending most of your time in the driver’s seat, you will appreciate the addition of the central armrest that’s borrowed from the WR-V. What’s also borrowed, is the start/stop button, keyless entry tech and cruise control. But that’s limited to the diesel- and petrol-auto variants only. 

Honda Jazz

Don't miss: Honda Jazz Old vs New: Major Differences

Other features, including automatic climate control, steering-mounted audio controls, tilt adjust for the steering, and height-adjustable driver’s seat continue to be on offer. So, nothing drastically new here either. 

Performance

The Jazz soldiers on with its tried and tested duo of engines. There’s a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel motor on offer. While the petrol can be had with a CVT automatic, the diesel gets a manual transmission only. Yep, there’s no diesel-CVT combo like in the new Amaze. 

Petrol 

The 1.2-litre, four-cylinder motor continues to make 90PS of power and 110Nm of torque. Compared to its immediate rivals such as the Baleno and the Elite i20, it is up on power, but marginally down on torque. Transmission options remain unchanged too, with Honda offering a 5-speed manual and a 7-step CVT. 

Honda Jazz

Honda’s petrol motors are known for their refinement, and this one isn’t a whole lot different. It feels familiarly silent at idle and makes a likeable noise as you start wringing it. Don’t bother doing that too often, because the Jazz doesn’t really take well to being driven enthusiastically. Typical of i-VTEC engines, you need to go heavy on the accelerator if you want to make quick progress from a dead halt. Once the engine is in its mid-range, it feels reasonably peppy. That said, don’t expect to dart in and out of gaps in traffic in this one. This engine likes it when you take things slow. 

Honda Jazz

When you do that, you’re going to appreciate the light clutch and the smooth gear throws. If you’re driving like a monk, the Jazz is happy to add to your moment of zen. And, if it’s peace you’re after, we’d recommend you spend the extra cash and get the CVT instead.

Honda Jazz

The automatic transmission simply adds to the Jazz’ easy-going nature. Of course, this transmission too doesn’t like being hustled, lest the Sport mode and paddle shifters fool you. Drive with a light foot and the Jazz automatic builds up pace consistently, and more importantly, smoothly. Acceleration for the most part feels proportional to the input on the pedal. But, bear in mind, the gearbox isn’t particularly quick, in case you need to get a move on quickly. 

Honda Jazz

Slam the throttle down and the CVT hesitates for a second before locking the revs at the redline. Progress is swift; but it doesn’t feel so, since there’s an aural overload of that engine screaming its lungs out. You can take charge of the “gears” yourself by using the paddle shifters. If you can’t be bothered with that, you can always shift to ‘Sport’ mode. Don’t expect the Jazz to transform into a hot hatch when you do so, though. 

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Maruti Baleno Honda Jazz Hyundai Elite i20
Power 83.1bhp@6000rpm 88.7bhp@6000rpm 81.86bhp@6000rpm
Torque (Nm) 115Nm@4000rpm 110Nm@4800rpm 114.73nm@4000rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1197 1199 1197
Transmission Manual Manual Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 180 Kmph 172 Kmph 170 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 12.36 seconds 13.7 Seconds 13.2 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 890Kg 1042kg -
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 21.4kmpl 18.7kmpl 18.6kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 93.37 bhp/ton 85.12 bhp/ton -
 

The “new” Jazz petrol feels exactly like the old one. Calm inside the city, just about enough on the highway and not too fond of being driven at its limit. What about the diesel, then? 

Diesel

Honda Jazz

Honda’s trusted i-DTEC motor soldiers on under the hood of the Jazz. Just like in the City and the WR-V, the motor continues to make 100PS of power and 200Nm of torque. This is paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Does this one feel any different compared to the older motor? 

We took a small spin, and couldn’t tell it apart from the older one. It’s slightly clattery at idle, and you would notice a few vibrations seeping into the cabin. Honda does claim a reduction in overall NVH levels, but we’d have to run a side-by-side test to verify that. As far as drivability goes, it remains as linear as before. Even when the turbo kicks in, there’s no surge of torque like you’d get on a 1.3 DDiS from Maruti. 

Honda Jazz

What that means is that the Jazz diesel feels right at home inside the city and the lag won’t hold you back. If you intend on doing a lot of highway trips too, it’s the diesel you should be picking. You will appreciate the extra horses for sure.

Ride and Handling 

The Jazz’ ride is the highlight of the package. There’s no change in suspension hardware, so it remains as comfy as ever. It manages to take the sting out of most patches of broken roads and potholes. On a calm city drive, it’s just what you want. The ride is relaxing as the suspension doesn’t let much into the cabin. As the speeds build, it remains poised even as the speedo hits triple digits. Push it past that, and you’d pick on a sense of floatiness. That said, as long as you stick to the speed limit, you should be plenty comfortable.

Honda Jazz

Since it’s tuned for outright comfort, there’s some predictable body roll as you enter a corner feistily. At no point does it feel nervous, though. What adds to the driver’s confidence is the ever so friendly Honda steering. Weight wise, it’s just right and it tells you what the front wheels are up to. 

Performance Comparison (Diesel)

Maruti Baleno Honda Jazz Hyundai Elite i20
Power 74bhp@4000rpm 98.6bhp@3600rpm 88.76bhp@4000rpm
Torque (Nm) 190Nm@2000rpm 200Nm@1750rpm 219.66nm@1500-2750rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1248 1498 1396
Transmission Manual Manual Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 170 Kmph 172 Kmph 180 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 12.93 seconds 13.7 Seconds 13.57 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 985kg 1154kg -
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 27.39kmpl 27.3kmpl 22.54kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 75.13 bhp/ton 85.44 bhp/ton -
 

It’s also worth mentioning that the Jazz now gets MRF ZVTV rubber. These aren’t exactly enthusiast-spec, so don’t expect too much from them when you chuck it hard into a bend. They’re also a tad noisy, so you might want to consider an upgrade to quieter tyres. 

Safety

In line with upcoming safety norms, the Jazz gets dual airbags, ABS and reverse parking sensors as standard. Other secondary safety features include a seatbelt reminder, front fog lamps, an immobilizer and a rear defogger.

Variants

The lower end variants, E and S, come with minimal features, such as a multi-information combimeter with blue illumination, a fuel consumption display, an eco assist system and a lane change indicator.

The VX variant is a must get for the practicality offered with the magic seats.

Meanwhile, the mid-range ‘SV’ grade comes with some more interesting functions, such as an instantaneous fuel economy display, an outside temperature display, a dual trip meter and an illuminated light adjuster dial. Meanwhile, the top-end VX comes with a 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a DVD player and navigation as well. 

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