Car Tested: 2010 Honda Jazz Active
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 8,95,601/-
When Honda launched the Jazz, everyone had very high expectations. Many thought the company would re-invent the premium hatchback segment but sadly that wasn’t to happen. Initially the Jazz sold in decent numbers but once the honeymoon period was over, sales started to dwindle and dealers tried to push the car by offering various types of discounts and finance schemes. Recently Honda launched the Select Edition to push the Jazz sales further and in the near future we expect Honda to re-position the Jazz. However other than being over priced what exactly is the Honda Jazz like to be with? We find out.
Exteriors – The Jazz is positioned as a big hatchback with lots of space and its exterior dimensions very well convey the same. The Jazz looks like a supermini in every sense and turns heads where ever it goes (partly because not too many are around). The overall profile of the Honda Jazz is like a MPV and in person the car looks very good with excellent paint quality to boot. The small hood and large glass area signifies this car is made to maximize on interior space. The wheel caps look decent but alloys would look wonderful (the Select Edition gets alloys). The overall design has great emphasis on aerodynamics which is very evident when seen from the front. Chrome door handles, wider tires and a body kit would make the Jazz certainly more appealing but would shoot the price northwards.
Interiors – The Jazz has very airy interiors. The dashboard is very well laid out with lots of storage places including twin glove boxes and a shelf in between. The three spoke steering wheel houses audio controls. The indicator and wiper stalks are of very good quality. Front seats are comfortable and the driving position is very relaxing. Rear seats offer good amount of leg room. However there is absence of front reading lights and rear hooks to hang your suit. Driver side power window has automatic up function which is a rare feature (due to security reasons) in cars nowadays. Air conditioner is one of the better ones we have seen with the Honda Jazz chilling us up in no time (but there was absolutely no sun during our tests as its pouring cats and dogs). Visibility from the Jazz is fantastic with the quarter glass helping a bit while parking in tight spots.
The instrument cluster is always lit. No cold-hot gauge but light for the same. Odometer shows range, real time fuel consumption (we were getting 12 kmpl) and distance traveled.
The in-built audio system is of decent quality and houses an AUX port to connect your iPod. Notice that the air vents can’t be closed. Loads of cup/bottle holders, there are plenty of them all around in the car including the rear seats.
Rear seats can be folded upwards to transport plants while having the complete boot to house other luggage.
Rear seats can be folded down to make a large boot to house a cycle. 60:40 split function present.
Built Quality – Honda usually never compromises on quality of its cars and the Jazz is no different. Our test car had done close to 18,000 kms and showed no sign of wear or tear. The windows on the Jazz are made by Saint Gobain which are the best it can get in this segment. There was no rattles or squeaks from anywhere in the car and the plastic quality is used is of very high grade. Doors shut with a reassuring clunk (not a patch near how the Germans and Italians sound) and everything on this car feels Honda like.
Ride, Handling and Braking – Equipped with Michelin Energy tyres, the Jazz rides very well over bad roads. Obviously there is no tank like ride, which we find in the Punto but for a hatchback of this size the ride tends to get a bit stiff on very big potholes. The Jazz crashes into them rather then gliding over them jarring the passengers. There is slight body roll too but the Jazz feels decently planted at three digit speeds. The steering is ultra light and offers decent feedback at low and city speeds. Clutch is feather light and the gearshift is a boon to work through. The Honda Jazz handles almost perfectly in the city. Come to the highway and the equation changes drastically, the puny tyres playing spoilsport here. Turn hard into a corner and the car begs for traction, the tyres screaming for mercy. High speed handling is not inspiring due to the poor grip on offer. Fuel efficiency aside, Honda should have bolted on fat rubber on the Jazz. Brakes of the Jazz are very strong and the car stops right in its stride when asked to do so.
Performance – A 1.2L engine under the hood usually means no excitement but when the words i-VTEC are associated with the same powerplant you can’t rule out having some fun. The Jazz uses the legendary Honda technology which at low revs doesn’t really work like a rocket but once you touch 5000 RPM (and it goes all the way till 6700 RPM), the noise of the motor can drive you nuts. On starting the Jazz you can hear absolutely zilch engine noise. NVH has been very well contained and till 4000 RPM you can hardly hear the motor work. Low end torque is decent and the car delivers peppy performance at low revs. It doesn’t show outright urgency but is no slouch either. Mid range could have been stronger though as the Jazz produces its meat of torque at 4800 clicks. At high revs the SOHC motor comes into its own and shows typical Honda trait, fast climbing revs and a throaty roar. 100 km/hr comes up in 13.5 seconds and the Jazz will go on to hit a top whack of 170 kmph.
However once you reach 110 km/hr progress starts to slow. The engine starts loosing gas at 130 km/hr and you have to really work the gear box to see some serious momentum. Gearing is tall and the Jazz hits 90 km/hr in 2nd gear itself. Obviously Honda has fuel economy in mind as they have not been able to churn out a single diesel car in India yet. The City powerplant in the Jazz would change the performance equation completely and when VW can do it to the Polo, then Honda can too.
Conclusion – The Jazz is a very good car but just being good doesn’t get you sales. What Honda failed to understand is the Indian public and what they want. We Indians love value for money and the Jazz fails on that count miserably. There is no seat height adjuster, alloy wheels, dead pedal, arm rest, parcel tray and many more features found on premium hatchbacks. Lack of diesel option just magnifies the over priced Jazz’s spartan equipment list. Honda surely has a winner at its hands but need to re-consider its price and positioning because with the competition heating up, there are lot more options for premium hatchback buyers, cars which offer better value and almost similar brand image as Honda. The future of the Jazz lies in the hands of Honda, and if Honda doesn’t do anything about it, we will be sad to see such a good product flop due to premium pricing strategy. Meanwhile for the style conscious buyer, the Jazz makes perfect sense.
- Audile Aura of VTEC Motor at High Revs
- No diesel option
- Resale value a question
Honda Jazz Specifications
- Engine: 1198cc, SOHC, i-VTEC
- Power: 90PS @ 6200rpm
- Torque: 110Nm @ 4800rpm
- Transmission: 5 speed manual
- Top Speed: 170kmph
- 0-100kmph: 13.50 seconds
- Fuel Consumption: 13-14 kmpl (City), 16-17 kmpl (highway)
- Fuel Type: Petrol
- Suspension: Mcpherson Struts (Front), Torsion Beam Axle (Rear)
- Tires: 175/65/15 Tubeless Radials
- Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drums ( Rear), ABS, EBD
- Safety: ABS, EBD, Dual SRS Front Airbags, Engine Immobilizer
Honda Jazz Dimensions
- Overall length x width x height: 3900mm X 1695mm X 1535mm
- Wheelbase: 2500mm
- Ground clearance: 160mm
- Turning Radius – 4.9m
- Boot Volume: 384 liters
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 42 litres
- Kerb Weight: 1055 kgs