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Used car review Honda Jazz 2002-2008

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    Wide-opening doors and a high roofline made getting in and out of the Jazz a breeze, something that appealed to older buyers who struggled getting into other lower models.

Graham 'Smithy' Smith reviews the used Honda Jazz 02-08: its fine points, its flaws and what to watch for when buying it.

Small cars demand a different approach than do their larger cousins in order to achieve an efficiency of packaging that delivers a level of comfort and everyday practicality for their owners.

Honda's Jazz is a case in point. By any definition it's a small car, but at the same time its rather upright wagon-like shape gives it a   roominess that belies its modest dimensions.


The Jazz arrived in local showrooms in 2002 and was updated in 2004 and 2006 with extra equipment that kept it fresh.  Despite its upright and boxy shape the Jazz had a cheeky appeal with its steeply sloping front, bright eyes and corporate Honda grille.

Wide-opening doors and a high roofline made getting in and out of the Jazz a breeze, something that appealed to older buyers who struggled getting into other lower models.  Inside, passengers sat in rather upright, but supportive seating that combined with the tall body to make a roomy and comfortable cabin.

Another advantage of the upright style was the visibility, which was good all round.  With the rear seats folded to form the flat floor there was quite good space for whatever might need to be transported in the Jazz.  Honda offered the Jazz in three models, the 1.3-litre GLi entry level, and the 1.5-litre VTi and VTi-S.

The GLi was only available with the 1.3-litre engine, but buyers could choose between a five-speed manual gearbox and a Continuously   Variable Transmission (CVT), which was an auto of sorts.

When working at its peaks the 1.3-litre four was putting out 61 kW and 119 Nm. It was a smooth driver around town, but was found out when asked to climb hills or accelerate quickly.

For better performance there was the VTi and VTi-S with the 1.5-litre engine that put out 81 kW and 143 Nm. The larger engine handled the   cut and thrust of city traffic much better and was more at home on   the highway.

VTi and VTi-S buyers could choose between a five-speed manual and a CVT transmission that could be overridden and driven as a seven-speed manual.

At first the GLi was fairly basic and didn't come standard with air until 2006. By then it boasted central locking, a trip computer, power steering, mirrors and windows and four-speaker CD sound.

The VTi came with air from the get-go and also had remote central locking, while range-topping VTi-S also boasted alloy wheels, a body kit, fog lamps, leather steering wheel, rear spoiler


Pay $5500-$13,000 for a GLi, $8400-$14,000 for a VTi, or $9300-  $17,500 for a VTi-S.


Honda enjoys an enviable reputation for reliability that many other carmakers can only dream about, but nevertheless it's always prudent to ask for a service record that confirms regular maintenance has been done. Servicing is required every 10,000 km or six months.

Modern engines live and die on oil and missing oil changes is a recipe for disaster. Oil galleries clog up and in extreme cases it can be virtually impossible to clean them out without dismantling the engine and putting through a hot tub.

Honda has had trouble with the CVT transmission in the Jazz, as reported by a number of Cars Guide readers.  When test driving a potential buy look for shuddering when accelerating away from a standstill, and walk away from any car that shudders.

Changing the oil in the transmission and resetting the computer have fixed some cars, but others haven't been able to be fixed that way   and the transmission has had to be replaced at a considerable cost.

It should also be noted that Honda claims that CVT-equipped cars need to be taken back to a dealer to have the computer reset if the   battery has been disconnected for any reason. That includes those situations when a battery is replaced, which makes replacement a rather more expensive exercise.

Honda parts and servicing can be more expensive than those on other   makes and models, but there is a number of independent specialist   service mechanics that can do the work more cheaply.


Dual front airbags and ABS anti-lock braking were standard across the range, enough to receive a creditable four star rating from ANCAP.


One of the strengths of the Jazz is its fuel economy.  Honda claimed the 1.3-litre would do 5.2 L/100 km on average with the manual gearbox, and 5.1 L/100 km when equipped with the CVT.

With the 1.5-litre engine Honda claimed an average consumption of 5.6 L/100 km for the manual and 5.5 L/100 km for the CVT.  One of our readers reported the consumption of their 1.3-litre manual   never goes above 5.5 L/100 km around town and sinks to 4.5 L/100 km on the open road.


Graham Bewley currently owns a 1.3-litre auto Jazz GLi, having   previously owned a 2006 1.5-litre CVT Jazz VTi for three years. He   says it is quiet and smooth, and roomy with a bigger car feel, it's   also economical, the steering is improved and it has a full-sized   spare. Against that he says he doesn't like the large windscreen, the   air-conditioning is barely adequate, and the gearing is a little too   high with the 1.3-litre engine. But in summary, he says that while   the Jazz is no sports car, it is very pleasant to drive and both of   his cars have been super reliable. There were no problems with the CVT in his previous car.

Dr. Graeme Paton has racked up more than 300,000 km in his 1.3-litre   2003 Jazz GLi and says it still feels tight, and starts first time,   every time. It has been routinely serviced and has been very reliable   only requiring routine brake pad and disc changes, and replacement of   the wheel bearings, which Honda did under warranty.


  • Cute, but practical styling
  • Roomy interior
  • Economical running
  • Modest performance from 1.3-litre
  • Shuddering CVT transmission
  • Honda resale


MAZDA2 02-08: Well built and well equipped the little Mazda is an easy driving car with good fuel economy, good safety and the practicality of a wagon/  hatchback. Pay $6500-$15,500.

HYUNDAI GETZ 02-08: A value-for-money package that doesn't pretend to be anything else.  Does everything acceptably well, without excelling in anything. Pay   $3500-$13,000.

FORD FIESTA 04-08: European dynamics, punchy engine and efficient packaging make small Ford an attractive proposition, but conservative looks and questionable quality dampen enthusiasm. Pay $6500-$16,500.


A well built, spacious small car with good blend of performance and economy. 80/100

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 9 comments

  • I have a 2007 CVT 1.5 Jazz done approx 100000ks ,just had brakes done.on second set of tyres. Vehicle has been serviced regularly .Have not had any problems. On country trips sitting on between 90-100 with air on 5litres per hundred quite easy to obtain. Driving Cvt as it is meant to be I often get figures below 5 per hundred. I drive by the tacho and when taking off at lights very rarely exceed 2000 rpm. Vehicle is fantastic for using as a small van also.

    Terry Hall of PERTH Posted on 23 March 2014 10:53am
  • I had the misfiring issue at 2.5k rpm, for many months.... it seems i just need to ONLY use 95 octane petrol, then after 2 tanks it runs well again. So i have to use 95 only, if i go back to 91 it misfires again.

    Binky McFurter of Sydney Posted on 15 March 2014 9:39am
  • mine is 1.3 manual with 138000 klms on the clock. i changed the tires 3 times.fuel consumption is around 6-6.5L/100km. very roomy when you get in and out.stable on the road for its size.roomy rear seats but the visibility is poor from the back also sometimes the car suddenly tremble with no reason.

    basheer of Egypt Posted on 23 December 2013 8:50am
  • i have never get 5.5/100 km usually 6-6.5. the visibility is poor at the rear part. sometimes the car tremble with no reason.other than that the car is pretty good,stable and convenient around the city and for the open road also but not for long distance travel.

    basheer of Egypt Posted on 23 December 2013 8:39am
  • I have a 1.5L 2004 model Jazz and have the 'shuddering' problem mentioned. I have been advised by many mechanics that 'all the Jazz's do it'. I has gotten continually worse and I will now have to repair it for approx $3000! Shouldn't this be at Honda's expense if it is an inherent problem with 'all' Jazz's?

    JK of Australia Posted on 27 November 2013 10:04pm
  • My wife and I have a 2008 1.3 litre auto Jazz. The car is great around town and on the open road - we have driven many long trips (800km and more). On a recent trip to the Flinders Ranges we also drove it (carefully) through the Brachina gorge - normally 4WD country through creek beds and up steep dirt roads . It has been completely reliable - the only replacement in 4 years is one battery, and it's on it's second set of tyres. It now has over 70,000km o the clock, and is as quiet and tight feeling as it was when new. Routine service costs have been reasonable. Fuel consumption over the life of the car is 6.2litres/100km. It's roomy and comfortable. The only thing it lacks is cruise control.

    Rob Boardman of Adelaide Posted on 16 October 2012 11:05pm
  • I have a 2003 1.3GLI that I use for highway travel (100-110kph). The car currently has 256,000 klms on the clock. I have been through 3 complete sets (12) wheel bearings. Bearing failure is common for the Jazz. I haven't yet worn out three sets of tyres. The air condition compressor has just seized and the gearbox is noisy and showing signs of bearing failure. Car is economical but not suitable to the high klm job I asked of it.

    Peter of Brisbane Posted on 13 March 2011 11:36am
  • Owner Graham Bewley: "Gearing too tall" - ummm the the gearbox is a CVT and therefore does not have gears at all. And the autos use less fuel than the manuals because the CVT can provide a 'longer ratio' than the manual.

    Jazz fan of brisbane Posted on 03 February 2011 10:55pm
  • I am the owner of a Honda Jazz 1.3 2006 GLI not happy. I have had 4 engine calls replaced as consideral expense over $200 per coil 4 months ago as my car was mis firing while driving. All has been good til this week and now it is doing it again my mechanic had told me this may happen. Why? Is there any recoarse through Honda? My mechanic did call them resulting in no assistance. I have also had transmission problems which had to be fixed not happy as l have spent alot on a newish car. I have previously owned a Honda Accord which never missed abeat. What can l do about this through Honda l dont want to be out of pocket every 6 months. Hoping you have some suggestions.

    Lynne Lentini of Cheltenham Melb Vic Posted on 01 January 2011 12:16pm
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