Honda Jazz Review
Car Tested: 2014 Honda Jazz Petrol
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 6-9 lakhs (est.)
The all new Honda Jazz sets the benchmark in the hatchback arena.
The concept of a premium hatchback wasn’t well accepted by Indians when Honda made the brave move of launching the Jazz in our country in 2009. Although the old Honda Jazz was a fantastic product, the optimistic pricing made it the first Honda car in India to do poor sales numbers. Honda tried to revive the Jazz by bringing in a facelift in 2011 with reduced prices but eventually discontinued the car as the lack of a diesel option meant poor demand. Now Honda is all set to make a comeback in the premium hatchback space with the launch of the third generation Jazz in 2014. The all new Jazz benefits from diesel firepower under its belly and increased demand for premium hatchbacks. We take a quick spin at Motegi (Honda’s own test track in Japan) and our first impressions of this supermini are very positive.
The third generation of the Honda Jazz is more of an evolution than a revolution. The overall design of the vehicle is quite reminiscent to its predecessor and if one parks all three generations together, the similarities between the cars is obvious. Honda for their part has made heavy styling changes which gives the new Jazz a very modern appeal. The inspiration comes from other Honda cars like the CR-V, NSX and FCX Clarity. The dimensions remain largely the same although the wheelbase has been increased to further boost interior room. So the front does get a new face which looks sharp while the edges across the car make it look apt in today’s design centric world.
One of the USPs of the Honda Jazz is the space it offers. The new model only takes this further. The dashboard is all new and is heavily revised with a new design. The large dashboard is quite functional yet attractive with a wide centre console which looks less cluttered. There is plenty of glass area and that bodes well for airiness inside the cabin. While the front seats offer good comfort, the rear ones offer plenty of leg space which combined with the flat floor makes the Jazz one of the few hatchbacks which can carry 5 passengers in utmost comfort.
There are plenty of features on offer too but we are still unsure on what all will makes it way to India. The upcoming City will give us a glimpse of what all equipment to expect as standard on the new Jazz but push button start/stop, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, multi-information display, 15-inch alloy wheels, 6 airbags are bound to be standard on the top spec variant.
Honda has worked on the seating positon and the driver sits low which gives the car a sporty driving position. Head room has never been an issue and similar is the case with the new model. The instrument cluster is much easier on the eyes compared to the old model and there are plenty of storage spaces inside the Honda Jazz which is impressive. Practicality is boosted by the enermous boot with the rear seats folding flat in split format to leverage additional storage space. Quality levels are good but the Indian model will be heavily localized and going by the fit and finish on other Honda cars sold in India, we have nothing to complain about.
We drove the Japanese version (known as the Honda Fit locally) which was powered by a 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine mated to an automatic transmission. However, for India, Honda is bringing in the new Jazz with two engines – the familiar 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine and the much awaited 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine. The diesel version will be available coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission. Honda is likely offer an automatic variant in petrol guise, using the trusted 5-speed transmission seen on the Brio and Amaze Automatic. Power and torque figures are likely to be the same as the Amaze but may vary marginally. We also managed a short spin in the Hybrid version, but this is unlikely to make it to India in the near future.
Honda’s are known to carry a good balance of ride and handling. With the new Jazz, the company wanted to take a huge leap forward and thus Honda went ahead and benchmarked the Volkswagen Polo. The result is the Jazz offers a very involving drive. Ride and handling has been its strength in the past and we reckon it has only improved in the new version. Ride quality on the butter smooth Motegi track was good with the vehicle gliding on the tarmac but our drive was too short to give a definitive verdict and we will wait for a real road experience to judge the car in the dynamics department.
Honda is on a definite roll and the new Jazz is partly responsible for it. The company has managed to improve the already capable Jazz even further which is sure going to give its chief rivals (Hyundai i20, Maruti Swift and Volkswagen Polo) a tough time. The Jazz finally gets a diesel engine in its arsenal, which along with heavy localisation can help Honda in making this hatch a super success. Now the only thing which remains to be seen is how Honda positions and prices the new Jazz with the Amaze and new City at almost similar price points. If the Japanese firm manages to get the asking price spot on, the new Jazz is sure to become a popular sight on Indian streets.
The 2014 Honda Jazz is sure going to steal the limelight away from established players and going by our first drive, we expect this to be a super hit in India.
* Cabin space and practicality
* Diesel engine
What’s Not So Cool
* Hybrid not coming to India