Honda Jazz (2015) Review

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The Honda Jazz has been a mainstay for buyers looking for trouble-free motoring. It's the car you buy as the last car you’ll ever need to buy, its reliability and practicality has reached near legendary status. It has in recent times commanded a slightly premium price in comparison to the competition and the all-new 2015 model seems to have followed suit. We spent a week with the top of the range 1.5-Litre Dynamic to see if the hype lives on.

What’s New?

For starters the Honda Jazz rides on a newly-developed platform and the car is built at Honda's Tapukara facility in India. The platform is said to be stiffer and that allows for improvements in the suspension to improve the ride and steering. The styling has been changed as well, modernising the front end while the back has had some strange plastic inserts added that make the Jazz look a bit fussy at the rear. Active and passive safety features have also been plugged into this new Jazz as even in the base model there’s ABS, EBD and stability control.

Naturally Aspirated Engines

The Jazz hasn’t got anything new to offer in the powertrain department as Honda has gone with the tried and tested i-VTEC naturally aspirated engines. Our top spec engine here has the 1.5-Litre i-VTEC motor that has 88 kW and 145 Nm of torque. In typical Honda fashion the engine is more than happy to rev all the way to the redline and feels at its best when pushed. Unfortunately it lacks the low down torque to give you confidence to overtake comfortably that the European competitors have installed in their vehicles. Due to the rev happy nature of the Jazz’s engine fuel economy took a bit of a hit as we managed 8.1L/100km over our week’s test. Claimed fuel economy is 6L/100km, which is what most Jazz drivers are likely to get if they drive it carefully and use the five-speed manual to keep the revs down.

Space Race

The Honda Jazz puts all other hatchbacks we’ve seen to shame when it comes to interior space. The boot for starters offers 363-litres, that’s some 60-litres bigger than the VW Polo. The rear seats magically fold flat and opens the loading space to 1 881-litres. The rear legroom is easily the best in class, even behind a six-foot driver there’s loads of room in the rear. I’ve seen D-segment sedans with less room in the rear than this new Jazz. (I managed to transport a new coffee table with ease. So spacious! - Editor)

The new infotainment system on the top-spec Jazz makes use of a large seven-inch touch screen system that is designed to work like a tablet. It’s quite intuitive and easy to use but the touch system can be a bit slow to react. There’s two USB slots and an HDMI slot for those that really want to take all their connectivity on the road. We hooked up a laptop and the screen was instantly displayed on the car’s screen as well as sound. The whole system is built around connecting your smart device and then using your compatible apps within the system.

Strangely for a Honda product, some of the finishings don’t seem to be well put together and some of the materials are less than what we’ve come to expect from the Japanese brand. The plastics around the boot were loosely fitted and the wooden floorboard used for the boot is particularly flimsy. This may be the Indian building getting off the ground and we hope they improve these mishaps in the future.

Ride and Drive

The good news is that the Honda Jazz remains a quality product on the road. It’s comfortable in town over our typically bumpy roads and sits flat in the bends. The 16-inch wheels with relatively high profile tyres help in keeping ride comfort good while grip is still is not relinquished easily. Most Jazz drivers aren’t going to be worried about whether the steering is heavy or light but it’s still a good thing Honda has weighted it well in order to provide driving confidence out on the open road.

Honda Jazz - Verdict

The new Honda Jazz still feels like a bulletproof product, the engine is rev hungry and with Honda’s famed reliability will be happy to rev on to eternity. Interior space is best in class and if that’s one of your top requirements then don’t bother looking elsewhere. A few build quality issues seem to have snuck into the Jazz as build production has moved to India, but nothing too worrying. The Jazz still targets the top end of the hatch pricing as this 1.5 Dynamic model costs R249 900. That puts it above competitors like the top spec VW Polo Highline (R241 500) and the new Opel Corsa (R236 300) as well, competitors that offer similar spec and power credentials.

Second Opinion

With that clever rear seating arrangement and flexibility, the Honda Jazz remains the most practical small car you can buy and this particular model is also loaded with infotainment features. The 1.5-litre Dynamic reviewed here is, however, quite a pricey choice. Then again, given its predecessor’s reputation for bulletproof reliability the higher price is probably justifiable, especially since it hasn't changed too much on the mechanical front. - Hannes Oosthuizen

Honda Jazz Price in South Africa

The Honda Jazz range starts with the 1.2-Litre Trend model that comes in at R179 900 whilst our 1.5 Dynamic costs R249 900. The Honda Jazz is also offered in automatic versions on both engines.

We Like: Amazing interior space, fun engine, good to drive 

We Don't Like: Quality issues creeping in, pricey

Also Consider: VW Polo, Opel Corsa, Mazda2

See a comparison between the Jazz, Polo and Corsa here

Honda Jazz Quick Specs

Engine 1.5-Litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power 88 kW
Torque 145 Nm
Transmission Five-speed manual
Wheels 16-inch alloy wheels
0-100km/h 9.9 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed 180 kph
Fuel Economy 6L/100km (claimed)
Fuel Tank Capacity 40 Litres