Honda Jazz vs Volkswagen Up

13 November 2012

Honda Jazz vs Volkswagen Up

Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Up go head-to-head in this comparative review.

Value

Honda Jazz

from $14,990

The five-door Jazz manual is slightly bigger than the Up and has a gutsier engine (relatively). Standard on the Jazz are trip computer, Bluetooth and iPod/USB compatibility. It has bigger wheels and more rear space. Drive-away pricing is $16,990. Add $2000 for a decent five-speed auto

Volkswagen Up

from $14,990

The three-door Up starts at $13,990. Add $1000 to get five doors, then pay extra for Bluetooth, USB and cruise control. Options include a portable touch-screen satnav/telephone/ trip computer for $500 and a $600 "comfort'' pack with cruise, rear park sensors and trip computer. It's manual only.

Design

Honda Jazz

The shape is distinctive yet familiar. It's deceptively spacious (337L/848L) due to its height. Best news is the "magic seats'' that flip, split and fold to swallow big items and even a couple of mountain bikes. The dash is edgy and works well, though switches could be better placed.

Volkswagen Up

The wheel-at-each-corner design isn't new (remember the original Mini?) but the shape is neat. Cabin space is very good, though a tad narrow. Boot space is 251 litres (back seats up) to 951 litres (down). Dash is perfect in its simplicity and centre screen is a no-brainer for ease of use.

Technology

Honda Jazz

The 73kW/127Nm 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and five-speed manual gearbox won't set the world on fire but are smooth and durable, using 5.8 L/100km. Suspension and electric-assist steering match the Up; the Honda has disc brakes all-round and 15-inch wheels.

Volkswagen Up

The three-cylinder, 1.0-litre petrol engine is good for 55kW/95Nm and 4.9L/100km. It's willing but add people and luggage and it needs most of the ratios in the slick five-speed manual to tackle hills. Basic suspension matches basic brakes (rear drums). It weighs just 880kg.

Safety

Honda Jazz

A five-star crash rating, six airbags (two more than the Up), electronic stability and traction control, plus a full-size spare wheel. It doesn't match the Up's low-speed brake system -- but no other sub-$30,000 car does.

Volkswagen Up

Gets a five-star rating, incorporates electronic stability and traction control, hill-holder clutch, four airbags and -- surprise -- a full-size spare. Better still, the low-speed City Emergency Braking system, which saves you hitting a car in front at up to 30km/h, is standard.

Driving

Honda Jazz

The Jazz is a good drive, easier to steer than the Up, but the fun factor is missing. The engine is smoother. Occupants are comfortable thanks to its softer ride but the trade-off is that it doesn't feel as confident through bends. The steering feels too light.

Volkswagen Up

This fun but buzzy engine can become tiresome. It can spin to 6000rpm but happily snoozes around 1500rpm in fifth. Hills kill it but one-up Up, it's a fun commuter. Zipping through bends you're aware it's light; the electric-assist steering isn't the sharpest.

Verdict

Honda Jazz

18.5/25

Better luck
next time :(

Volkswagen Up

18/25

Winner winner
chicken dinner!

My heart says Up and what's left in my wallet says Jazz. You get more for your money in the Jazz and the fuel economy difference can't mask the Honda's fundamental value.

Advertisement

Written by

Neil Dowling

Published 13 November 2012

Published In

Head to Head

We compare, head to head, two similar models of competing manufacturer cars. Which do we prefer? Why? Find out in CarsGuide's Head To Head showdowns.