Used Honda Jazz review: 2008-2012
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The Jazz arrived here in 2002 and quickly won fans with its easy driving nature and roomy and flexible cabin.
Honda was already a well-respected brand with local buyers having built a reputation for quality and reliability over many years, and the Jazz generally lived up to their expectations.
A new model hit our shores in 2008. It was an all-new car, but still retained the things Jazz buyers liked.
With an upright shape, the Jazz had the look of a mini people-mover, which allowed its designers to create the roomy and flexible interior that appealed to so many buyers.
Honda’s reputation for reliability appeals to parents looking for a car for the rookie drivers in their families
The high roof, together with the ability to split and fold the seats, meant the cabin had the interior room of a larger car, with a large space for cargo if needed.
The spacious cabin made the Jazz an easy car to live with in the city, and the visibility afforded the driver made it even easier to operate in crowded city streets.
The entry-level model was a 1.3-litre manual, which was designed to compete pricewise in the ultra-competitive light car segment.
The most attractive model, and the one most Jazz buyers preferred, was the one with the 1.5-litre engine and automatic transmission.
Both engines were capable, but the larger engine is the one to go for. With more power and torque it handles the hustle and bustle of city traffic a little better than the smaller engine, which lacks the zip of its big brother.
With a compact footprint and wheels at each corner the Jazz is agile and responsive, perfect for city commuting.
Without stability control, the safety people initially rated the Jazz at four stars, but that was corrected in 2010 when ESP was added to its safety arsenal and it was uprated to five stars.
Honda’s reputation for quality and reliability appeals to parents looking for a car for the rookie drivers in their families, but it’s important when buying cars for young drivers to consider safety.
The 1.3-litre models didn’t have all of the safety features of the 1.5-litre cars; they were pared back to get the price down.
With side and curtain airbags standard, the 1.5-litre cars are the ones to go for. If you were prepared the shell out $1000 for the option you could also have side and curtain airbags on the 1.3s, but few buyers did that.
Even better are the post-2010 models, which had ESP stability control, and got ANCAPs’ five-star tick of approval.
While Hondas are rightly respected for their build quality and reliability they still demand regular and proper servicing. Regular oil changes keep the oil passages in the engine free of engine-killing sludge. A high quality oil is also important.
Although the Jazz is rated to run unleaded fuel,it appears to run best on Premium unleaded. One of our reader respondents complains of pinging in her car, and switching to the higher-grade fuel would most likely fix that problem.
The same owner also complains of a grinding noise from the front-end, particularly when cornering at low speed. That’s likely to be a worn CV joint, and easily fixed.
There was a recall in 2011 relating to a connector for the headlight switch, which could melt and stop the low beam coming on.
Another recall in 2008 related to the handbrake operation. A manufacturing problem could cause damage to the handbrake mechanism, and with repeated use cold fail.
While Hondas are rightly respected for their build quality, they still demand regular and proper servicing
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