Today's generation wants no compromise! Whether it means purchasing a smartphone, a smart TV or a car. The Honda Jazz diesel has been in the Express Drives' garage for over three months and has proven to be an impressive mile muncher returning at least 18 kmpl in bumper-to-bumper traffic when cars won't move for over 15 minutes. Turning off the car is a good idea, however, in such situations there comes a time when cars would creep ahead, thereby defeating the purpose of shutting the engine down. Coming back to the point, the Honda Jazz diesel has proved to be a worthy workhorse for my daily commute between Gurgaon and Noida (approx 100 kilometres per day) and thanks to its small dimensions and a reasonably lightweight construction ( It isn't the lightest with a kerb weight of 1,066 kg as the Maruti Suzuki Baleno weighs 980 kg), the car had an impressive overall fuel economy of 20 kmpl.
But, does the better fuel efficiency mean there is a compromise on ride and handling as most cars are tuned more towards comfort which robs away the fun of an engaging driving experience? Unlike some cars from its segment that have a wallow ride, the first thing one would notice about the Honda Jazz is the composure it has over sharp turns. Negotiating corners even at speeds of up to 70 kmph was easy and the Jazz never lost its composure. Obviously, the engine is heavier compared to its petrol counterpart, however, not for one moment did the car understeer and the Michelin Energy XM1 rubber kept it in the line I wanted it to be. The car can understand, despite the lack of heavy electronics for the suspension, what the driver wants it to do and vice versa, there is a proper feedback for the driver from the steering. The steering setup (Electric Power Steering) has the right balance between feedback and ease of use. Another aspect that might get you thinking is if the Jazz diesel is a good handler, does it compromise on ride quality and comfort for its occupants? The ride quality may be stiff if you go over a pothole and won't 'glide' over them like some competitors and may also be unsettling for some, however, it isn't uncomfortable. The better half has actually enjoyed being in the co-driver seat of the hatchback particularly for its ride quality and the toddler was happily making her drawings sitting at the rear bench.
Speaking about practicality, another anecdote where a relative who needed to be picked up from the airport had three full-size suitcases as well as a couple of small bags. The Jazz diesel's rear reclining seats made enough room for the luggage while the front seats accommodated me and the relative with ease. So, while everyone in the family loved the hatchback for its impressive mileage, ride quality, there are a few compromises a Honda Jazz diesel owner would have to make for the V Grade. For starters, there isn't a company fitted AVN of Audio Visual Navigation system which is available in the VX grade (that means it is available only in the petrol version), as a standard fitment means the buyer would have to shell out the little extra if he/she needs a touchscreen infotainment system. This variant, however, has an audio system with Bluetooth compatibility which is satisfactory for its segment but doesn't exude a premium feel. Another kink in the Honda Jazz diesel's armour is the feel of the plastic quality on the inside. The fit is impressive, but the plastics used in the hatchback aren't good to touch. They may feel could have been better when compared to some its competitors. In addition, the front disc and rear drum brake setup have a good bite, but there could have been better feedback from the pedal. Unlike the diesel version which was available for review (V grade), the VX grade gets 60:40 split 'Magic Seats' which can be folded in more than one way. Another aspect is the absence of reverse parking sensors. The hatchback gets a reverse parking camera that supports three different views, but, the addition of sensors would boost more confidence to the driver while parking.
The final Achilles heel is the NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness) proofing! The all-aluminium 1.5 litre diesel engine has a considerable clatter which creeps into the cabin. Also, there isn't an option of an automatic in the diesel variant which is a huge boon in traffic jams. This does set the Honda Jazz diesel a little aback, however, given that most cars in its segment do not have an automatic option for the diesel, this should not be a worry for the Japanese carmaker. The 6-speed manual gearbox is crisp and very few gear changes are needed if you are travelling in a consistently moving traffic and the clutch is also light. That said, the impressive fuel efficiency overshadows its shortcomings to a quite certain extent.
So, who is the Jazz diesel for? It is for a buyer who is looking at a premium hatchback that favours practicality, cabin space for four tall passengers including the driver and should have no compromise on handling while being comfortable. At Rs 8.75 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi, it may not be the most feature-rich premium hatchback in the market, but is a practical, spacious and comparably fuel-efficient car in its segment.
Date Acquired: 1st October, 2016
Initial Odometer Reading: 7,250 kms
Current odometer Reading: 12,125 kms
Kilometers Driven: 4,875 kms
Average Fuel Cost per month: Rs 3,500