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Fuel frugality, a highly versatile cargo carrying capacity and high-tech driving aids have the new Honda Jazz giving a compact-car master class. The third generation Honda hatchback scales the heights of the light passenger car segment.
The new five-door Honda Jazz boasts more interior space, especially rear leg room, maintains Honda's unique Magic Seat system and is kitted out with a 7-inch colour touchscreen and multi-mode reversing camera.
Jazz comes in four variants – VTi manual and automatic, and VTi-S and VTi -L automatic (our the test car) – ranging in price from $14,990 to $22,490, with the option of metallic paint.
A three-year/100,000km warranty can be extended to five years as a cost option.
The new Honda Jazz holds its own among the latest rivals with a steeply raked windscreen and smooth curved roof dipping to a sharp looking rear.
A tall stance makes for ample headroom front and back, while the wedge shape profile and a flatter underbody contribute to improved aerodynamics, hence fuel economy.
An extended wheelbase compared with the last Jazz gives more legroom in the back, while interior space is made use of by the Honda Magic Seat set-up which can be configured in up to 18 different ways.
Modes include normal five-seater; utility, in which the rear seat backs are folded flat; tall, with the back seat bases flipped up to give floor-to-ceiling space for carrying tall objects; long, with the front passenger seat back folded forward flat; and refresh, where the same seat back is folded back against the second row allowing the occupant to stretch out flat.
The interior has been completely redesigned to give greater ergonomic performance, new instruments and controls oriented to the driver for quick action. Focus of the instrument cluster is a large speedometer circled by Eco Assist lighting, the colour changing from blue to green as the driver achieves greater driving efficiency.
A multi-information display lets you scroll through information such as estimated fuel consumption, clock, outside temperature, fuel remaining and transmission gear selector position.
The touchscreen display audio is centrally positioned for driver or front passenger to control. New-style steering wheel-mounted controls provide quick and easy access to various functions and information without the driver having to remove their hands from the wheel.
The 7.0-inch touchscreen supplies a link to Bluetooth connectivity for Apple and Android systems, including audio streaming and Siri integration via Apple iPhone through voice commands by holding down the 'Talk' button on the steering wheel. There's HDMI audio and video playback.
Cleverly, the centre console armrest in the Jazz VTi-S and VTi-L folds up to reveal storage big enough for an Apple iPad or similarly sized tablet. Included are a 12-volt power socket and USB port. The armrest lid has an indent to allow wires to pass through with the lid closed.
The upgraded 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine has had a number of upgrades to improve combustion, reduce weight and minimise friction. The result is increased power and fuel efficiency, the latter further enhanced on CVT models by engaging a green, dash-mounted ‘ECON' button, optimising system control of the transmission, engine and other powertrain elements.
Honda rates the combined urban/extra-urban fuel consumption of this powertrain combination at 5.8L/100km, with carbon dioxide emissions of 135 grams per kilometre.
The Honda CVT automatic transmission is new and has 'G-design shift' logic designed to offer more immediate acceleration response than conventional automatics or other CVTs.
Key features of the Jazz safety systems include six airbags (front, side and full length curtain); Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control, plus Hill Start Assist.
The brake lights flash when hard emergency stopping is applied by the driver.
There are seat belt reminders for all occupant positions and a driver-selected multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines helps when reversing the vehicle.
Keyless entry and engine start/stop are straight off the premium car equipment shelf and add to the ease of getting in, loading and setting off in the new Jazz.
The Honda Jazz platform is lighter yet more rigid than before, providing nimble, semi-sporty handling and smoother steering that gives the driver a sense of complete control of the vehicle.
The automatic's 'S' mode provides seven manually-selectable ratios using steering wheel-mounted paddles. The system is nicely capable during spirited driving.
In Normal mode the test Jazz topped 10L/100km in the urban environment, while at motorway speeds had a much more respectable best figure of 4.1L/100km.
The Jazz has moved ahead enough to appeal to Honda's loyal followers, and may well attract many other buyers from other makers.
|GLi||1.3L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$6,500 – 10,010||2014 Honda Jazz 2014 GLi Pricing and Specs|
|Hybrid||1.3L, Hyb/ULP, CVT AUTO||$8,000 – 12,320||2014 Honda Jazz 2014 Hybrid Pricing and Specs|
|Vibe||1.3L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO||$7,700 – 11,990||2014 Honda Jazz 2014 Vibe Pricing and Specs|
|Vibe-S||1.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO||$8,400 – 12,980||2014 Honda Jazz 2014 Vibe-S Pricing and Specs|