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Honda Jazz VTi-S 2019 review

The Honda Jazz is very cute, small car that certainly has more space inside than it look on the outside.
Nedahl Stelio
Family reviewer

22 Oct 2018 • 17 min read

Yes, the Honda Jazz is a small car, and yes, I know this is a family review, but not every family is large, and not every family wants a large car. If you're a single parent or you have one child, a small car is a viable option.

The Jazz is in a category with other small cars like the Mazda2, Hyundai Accent and Volkswagen Polo and comes in between $15-$23K, which is another reason families look at it - affordability. Plus it has an extra roomy boot which rivals the size of some small SUVs, so it's definitely worth a look. I was in the VTi-S which is in the middle of a range of three.

Here's how it stacked up when I drove it for a week with my two children in tow.

How does it drive?

It's hard to complain when you're in a small car because you zip over town so easily, whizzing into parks you can never fit into when you're in a larger SUV. It's a really fun car to drive. There's a 1.5-litre engine which is a good size for this car, and it'll get you up hills quickly enough.

I drove it over a week of constant rain and at first felt a bit vulnerable on the road because of the size, and I questioned its safety with children in the back. I couldn't wait to get them safely to our destination. But as the week wore on, the size became quite normal and even me, the big chicken, was fine with it. I'm not sure how I'd feel on the open road travelling interstate but everything is doable in this car.

The school run became extra easy as I was able to do as many u-turns as I needed to score that coveted outside-school park, so the size was a real bonus in day-to-day living. There's a reverse parking camera but it's not very high definition. Still, you can see well enough not to hit the car behind you.

There's a 1.5-litre engine which is a good size for this car, and it'll get you up hills quickly enough. There's a 1.5-litre engine which is a good size for this car, and it'll get you up hills quickly enough.

How spacious is it?

My two children aged five and seven could fit easily in the back - despite the Jazz's narrow shape there is quite a lot of room inside. The problem however, was how they fit. The flat back seats made their removable car seats lean in together while I was driving - I looked in the rear mirror and saw both girls touching heads, leaning on their elbows in the middle.

This was the fault of the particular car seats I have, they have a rounded bottom and made the seats roll inwards. But it made me very uncomfortable. As always, check your car seats and change if necessary. You won't get a third child seat in the middle, but that's to be expected in a small car. I had enough room back there and it will fit teenagers and small adults quite well.

I had enough room in the back seat and it will fit teenagers and small adults quite well. I had enough room in the back seat and it will fit teenagers and small adults quite well.

I was perfectly fine in the front - I'm 161cm so had lots of leg and headroom. My 185cm husband looked extra large in this car, and he wasn't super excited about having to test it for me. If your back is on the wall and you need a small car, this is good enough to drive, but you won't be over the moon about it if you're extra tall.

But then there is the boot, which is so big for a car this size - it was such a surprise to open it up and see all that room in there. At 354 litres it beats the size of some small SUV boots, which is such a great thing to be able to say. It will fit a pram, I fit two suitcases in there one on top of the other, and I thought it was one of the best things about the car.

It also comes with 'Magic Seats' which actually fold up from the leg side, and you can fit more in there. So there really is a good amount of space.

The boot, at 354 litres beats the size of some small SUV boots. The boot, at 354 litres beats the size of some small SUV boots.

How easy is it to use every day?

The Jazz doesn't have very much automation, in fact none in the VTI-S at all. You get two cupholders in the centre armrest and also an extra one on the driver's side dash - a genius addition, I wish more cars would do this. The back doesn't have any cupholders however there is a storage area in each door that will fit a regular sized bottle.

There's not much in the way of active safety - no new technology like Auto Emergency Braking. There's not much in the way of active safety - no new technology like Auto Emergency Braking.

There's a really decent sized centre storage bin and a spot to throw keys and a phone in the front, too. The USB point is up on the multimedia screen which makes it easy to use but it looks messy and is not ideal.

There aren't any air con vents in the back but it's a small car and the air flows through the interior easily.

What does it look like?

It's such a modern looking car, the narrow shape really works design-wise and it certainly looks like it belongs in 2019 with the tapered nose and crafted back. The exterior is punchy and hard to beat in this category.

It's hard to complain when you're in a small car because you zip over town so easily. It's hard to complain when you're in a small car because you zip over town so easily.

Inside is quite basic and looks a bit dated. The centre console is ordinary, there are no high-shine features to lift the design and it all feels like it could do with improvement.

There are fabric seats in this VTi-S model which are actually fine - not scratchy or cheap looking - they work well and are comfortable to sit on. But if you're comparing it to a VW Polo or even a Mazda 2, the Jazz has some catching up to do design-wise.

It certainly looks like it belongs in 2019 with the tapered nose and crafted back. It certainly looks like it belongs in 2019 with the tapered nose and crafted back.

How safe is it?

There are airbags for driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that extend to the back row, which is important and I was reassured when I found out they were there. However there's not much in the way of active safety - no new technology like Auto Emergency Braking, lane departure warnings or blind spot monitoring.

There are three top tether points to secure children's car seats but no ISOFIX points which are the new way to install a car seat and are more secure than top tether only. The Honda Jazz scored five stars when it was ANCAP tested in 2015. But for 2019, more competitors like the Mazda 2 are introducing AEB as standard across their ranges with higher models scoring the latest safety technology.

The exterior is punchy and hard to beat in this category. The exterior is punchy and hard to beat in this category.

What's the tech like?

The Jazz relies on its own multimedia system, with a 7.0-inch touchscreen. You can connect via Bluetooth to sync your phone to make calls and play music, and there is a sat nav that is a bit clunky and slow to use.

The Honda Jazz doesn't have Apple Carplay or Android Auto which is newer technology that would come in handy.

Inside is quite basic and looks a bit dated. Inside is quite basic and looks a bit dated.

What does it cost to own?

The Honda Jazz VTi-S comes in at $19,990 with a claimed fuel consumption of 5.4L/100km on the combined cycle.

There is a five year/unlimited km warranty which is pretty good compared to Mazda's three years, and it's also transferable if you want to sell within that time at no extra cost.

Service is recommended every 12 months/10,000km, whichever comes forst.

 


The Wrap

The Honda Jazz is very cute, small car that certainly has more space inside than it look on the outside, with a really big boot and roomy back seat. However I found the way my children were leaning in towards the centre made me feel quite uneasy and the lack of extra safety features didn't work in its favour if you're driving a family around every day.

I gave it a family rating of six out of 10, my children gave it a six too because they weren't comfortable either.

Likes

Exterior design
Boot space
Interior space

Dislikes

Lack of new safety features
No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

Scores

Nedahl:

3

The Kids:

3

$19,990

Based on new car retail price