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Honda Jazz 2010 Review

Adding a supercharger to a Jazz appears like a giant overkill, but there is method in the move

As a shopping trolley, the Honda Jazz got it all - looks, function, features, price and frugal manners.  But insert the word ‘performance’ into any of these descriptions and you'll erase the words that have become firmly embedded in the Honda Jazz.

Adding a supercharger to a Jazz appears like a giant overkill, like adding an instruction label to a cup, but there is method in the move.  Perth-based Sprintex Superchargers - a division of publicly-listed Automotive Technology Group Ltd - let a current-model supercharged Jazz lose in my hands this week with the clear instructions that it wasn't a high-performance machine.

Sprintex's business development manager Jay Upton says it is one of five trial cars to test the supercharger's benefits of lifting performance while lowering fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Driving

The Jazz starts like a Jazz and outwardly, the only difference is the subtle whine of the supercharger.  It feels a little more lively directly off the mark but won't reveal any power band surprises as the tacho needle hurries its way around the dial.

In fact, such is the conventional power delivery, it could just be a bigger-engined Jazz.  But it's definitely quicker, with 100kW heading towards the bitumen as compared with the standard model's 72kW - as measured by Sprintex.

What I expected, and didn't get, was a noticeable jump in torque. Given other Sprintex-equipped cars I've driven in the past, the low-end torque should bite hard and that leads to short-shifting the gearbox - which is one of the reasons for supercharged engines being so economical.

But it feels a little soft. Upton says it's a trial unit and the problem - to do with engine mapping and not the supercharger - was being addressed. 

Though there's a bit of work to do at the lower end of the rev range, there's no doubting this Jazz's strong midrange delivery.  Fifth gear can be held down to 1000rpm and the car will pull away smoothly. Corners can be taken in fourth and all this makes the drive easy and the engine similarly easy on petrol.

The trip computer shows 6.9 litres/100km which, after some heavy footwork, was pretty good.  Nothing changes inside the cabin or to the bodywork.  It's all under the bonnet where the weeny alloy-bodied supercharger sits just in front, and above, the cam cover.

It appears to be a snug fit and close to the Jazz's tiny bonnet, but the exposed drive belt shows it can easily be replaced without too much work.  Upton expects to continue to hone the unit before sales start into next year.

Pricing Guides

$8,750
Based on 71 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$4,988
Highest Price
$11,980

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GLi 1.3L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,995 – 9,990 2010 Honda Jazz 2010 GLi Pricing and Specs
GLi Limited Edition 1.3L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $9,750 – 10,990 2010 Honda Jazz 2010 GLi Limited Edition Pricing and Specs
GLi Vibe 1.3L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,999 – 9,999 2010 Honda Jazz 2010 GLi Vibe Pricing and Specs
VTi 1.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,913 – 11,980 2010 Honda Jazz 2010 VTi Pricing and Specs
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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