Practical But Tedious. The Honda Jazz.
A full review on one of the most reliable and practical cars in the UK.
When most people buy a new car, they want it to be reliable and affordable - which the Jazz is. But they also want it to look good - which the Jazz isn’t.
The Jazz is a five-door supermini that’s practical, due to some clever features. It’s been in production since 2001, and six years down the line, Honda announced more than 2 million Jazz’s had been sold globally. It’s been popular due to its reliability, practicality, and it’s safety with a five-star Euro NCAP rating. This third-generation Jazz gets treated with a new chassis and front suspension to improve the ride quality. Not only that, but it also has a slightly longer wheelbase, providing even more room inside.
At the time of reviewing the Jazz, it came with only a few trim levels, S, SE, EX, and the Sport. You may not have seen, or even realised this, but there was a Sport model as well, but not many people bought it. There’s a surprise.
It only comes with a 1.3-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine, which gets around 45mpg. It produces 101bhp and 90lb-ft, and will reach 118mph. That's 0-62mph in 11.2 seconds. Rapid - I’m just kidding. It’s not about the power with the Jazz, it’s just a car you’d use to get from A to B. I drove the manual, which I have to say felt quite good. The gear knob itself feels tiny in my hand, but it’s surprisingly comfortable to use and slots into gear nicely.
The engine can seem sluggish, so you’ll need to give it some to keep up with fast-moving traffic. In slow-moving traffic, or even from stand still, the accelerator pedal can seem a little sensitive. It’s as if it has two modes, snail mode and “If in doubt, flat out!” mode.
But from driving it daily, I’m you’ll get used to it, as the rest of the drive feels as it should do. The steering is okay, although nothing exciting. The body roll is stable, too, considering it’s reasonably tall. I wouldn’t class the Jazz as a ‘fun’ car to drive, and I’m sure not many other people would either. But it still made me laugh whenever I planted the accelerator in first or second gear. It has this ‘all sound but no power’ which somehow, cracks me up.
Just like the exterior, the interior is the same. Nothing exciting. It's a fairly bland-looking interior. But that’s okay as everything seems simple and easy to use, which is sometimes all you want. The 7-inch infotainment system comes with DAB, USB, Wi-Fi, MirrorLink, USB, HDMI input and a CD player. It’s also got Garmin’s Sat Nav system, too. But I won’t lie, the system can be a bit fiddly to use, especially when it comes to adjusting the volume. For what it’s for, it works fine. But it’s nothing great.
The rear seats have Honda's Magic Seats. The idea is you lift-up the bottom cushion of the rear seats, and they fold up vertically, giving you more room, if you’ve already got bits ‘n’ bobs in the boot. You can also connect-up the front and rear seat together, like a bed. So you won’t need to book into a Travelodge - phew. The Jazz has been known for great overall practicality in its class. Giving it 354-litres with the seats up and once the seats are completely down, there’s an extra 906-litres, giving it 1,314-litres all in.
The SE has a few bells and whistles, such as auto start/stop, lane departure warning, cruise control, speed limiter, shift indictor light, parking sensors and a few more features. However, there’s a small problem. No matter what model or optional extras you add, heated seats, heated steering wheel or a heated windscreen are not available. It might be an idea to chuck a pair of mittens on when it’s cold.
It’s a reliable car and has clever, useful storage features, which, for a small car, is very handy. On the other hand, it’s looks let it down, a lot. The exterior design is completely and utterly boring. There’s nothing wrong with buying or owning a Jazz. But it just doesn’t look good.
Since I finished my review, Honda has brought out a new-generation Jazz. The face looks more up-lifting, and the body shape has improved. But I still can’t say I’m excited over it.