The earlier Honda Jazz despite being a good car couldn't sell much due to a high price tag back then and the absence of a diesel heart. So, when Honda introduced the third generation with an oil burner, a number of potential buyers turned towards the Japanese. We just got ourselves a diesel Jazz as a long-termer to find out the hits and misses in this new generation car and here are our first impressions!
The Honda Jazz has proven to be a game changer on how a small car can have oodles of cabin and boot space, without compromising on comfort. Our long-termer was introduced to our fleet on 1st October, 2016, with an odometer reading of 7,250 kms. Having the credibility of delivering over 25km/l fuel efficiency, and my commute constituting of crossing two states (Gurgaon – Delhi – Noida) to reach office, made me happily take the keys to this spacious and frugal hatchback. So, here is what I think for a start.
First up, the design has evolved and the Jazz now looks more premium on the outside. There's a good balance between straight and contoured lines, which gives the Jazz a good stance. The rectangular headlamps, swooping-down tail lamps, a chunky chrome-slat grille and wide bumpers up front and back, all exude a 'big car' presence. In fact, the paint, chrome and black colour codes on the exterior has the right balance, which few carmakers get right. Open any door, and the wide opening angle makes a six-foot individual (like myself) getting in pretty easy. And the door is light while being strong which makes opening or closing effortless. Once inside, the first thing one would realise is the acres of space for five tall occupants.
Beyond the best-in-segment cabin space, there are other noticeable things such as the simple, yet functional, dashboard that houses the infotainment unit, a touch panel for air-conditioning, a chunky steering wheel and a neatly laid out centre console. Another nifty feature is the cup holder for the driver which is right in front of the right side AC vent that keeps a beverage at the optimum temperature for her/him.
Next up is the powerful yet fuel-efficient engine, and after two weeks and 450 odd kilometres, we've come to terms with the engine's loud clatter. This is mainly due to the aluminium head and other light parts, that offers lesser sound dampening viz-a-viz an iron block. As it settles, the pronounced hum inside the cabin does not fade away and vibrations in the gear lever as well as, the steering wheel are also present. The engine noise inside the cabin gets louder, especially under hard acceleration. However, once on the move and up to a consistent 70 km/h, the sound reduces considerably.
A unique and impressive feature on the speedometer pod is the Eco Assist, which is an ambient light telling the driver if he/she is in the optimum rev band and the right gear for the car to deliver maximum mileage. Following it can help one get closer to the claimed fuel efficiency of 27.3 km/l which for a car weighing over a tonne, is impressive. The Jazz has returned an impressive 20 km/l of average fuel-efficiency until now, which includes driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic as well. The clutch, like all Hondas (as I own a Honda City Gen 4 myself) is feather light and gear changes are crisp.
In terms of features, the Jazz we have is the V Grade variant which misses out on the touchscreen infotainment unit that supports navigation as well as video. That said, the 5-inch system in this car has Bluetooth pairing with streaming as well as phone and audio controls on the steering wheel. Although, what is a let down is the way this system pairs to one's smartphone. Press and hold the call button on the audio system and that takes you to the pairing menu. Private or personal mode is activated, while on a call, with a single tap of this button and double tapping disconnects the current call.
So, while the Honda Jazz is spacious, fuel-efficient and practical, it could have fared better with a simpler entertainment system. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will subject the Jazz to highway trips and more driving in various conditions. That will allow us to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Jazz in a better manner. Until then, however, our summary for now, is that the Jazz offers best-in-segment space and betters some sedans too. Fuel-efficiency is another strong point so those on the lookout for an economical and spacious car would be happy buying and living with the Jazz. More on the Magic Seats and the cabin in our next update.