The 2018 Honda Jazz, even according to Honda, isn't an all-new car. They will even tell you that it is not an official MMC, which stands for Mild Model Change, the type that you would typically have halfway through a cars product cycle. It is then an update to keep the Jazz fresh in a market full of well equipped modern premium hatchbacks. What we are trying to say is that expecting a lot from this update is not very fair. That said, let talk a little about what has changed in terms of the new 2018 Honda Jazz.
The Honda Jazz has always been one of the better premium hatchbacks on sale, with a great chassis and lots of space. Although with the new 2018 Hyundai i20 proving to be a runaway success and the Maruti Suzuki Baleno still topping the sales, Honda would have begun to feel the pinch. This meant a hurried, mid-mid-cycle refresh to keep the Jazz relevant until the all-new one makes it to India was the order of the day. Now that it's on sale, we tested it to find out if the updates are good enough to make some difference.
2018 Honda Jazz: Design
Stare all you want at the front fascia of the new Jazz and it will still be unlikely that you will see something that you haven’t seen before. No DRLs or even projector lamps for this update. From the front, the 2018 Honda Jazz still looks almost identical, although you start to see the visual cues once you start moving to the rear following the flanks. The first difference you’ll notice is the fact that chrome door handles with keyless ingress button have now been integrated, although this change is limited to the top-trim diesel and the petrol CVT.
However, if you really want to tell the Jazz apart from the outgoing model, look to the tail-lamps. The 2018 Honda Jazz gets a full new set of LED tail-lamps that now flow better from the pillar to the tail-piece making it much more appealing to look at. In order to give it a better outline, the new tail-lamp also has a tubular LED that runs from the top to the bottom in the new 2018 Honda Jazz.
2018 Honda Jazz: Features and Interiors - Magic Lost!
The big changes on the Honda Jazz have been focused on the interiors, most of which are centred around the new Digipad 2.0 infotainment system, which now comes in the form of a 7-inch touchscreen that features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and in-built navigation. The Digipad 2.0 also doubles up as a screen for the reversing camera with grid-lines and three different camera angles, which is a boon for parking in tight spaces. The top-of-the-line Diesel Jazz, as well as the petrol CVT trim, also get the new start-stop button from the Honda City, that has a cool red pulse illumination. Not much use but it definitely adds to the Jazz’s cool quotient. The 2018 Honda Jazz also gets a few more premium touches including a new centre armrest with storage, a driver's side vanity mirror and speed sensing door locks. The strange bit is that the Jazz’s signature magic seats in the back have disappeared altogether and have been replaced for a standard bench in the back. The back does not even get a rear-ac vent, which is a big miss, although the Jazz is still the roomiest of the premium hatchback with a generous amount of knee room, leg-room and shoulder space. Even the 354-litre boot is the best in its class and is more than ample for a family weekend getaway worth of luggage. Altogether, the updates do a good job of making the Jazz more desirable and building on the Jazz’s spacious, comfort-oriented appeal.
2018 Honda Jazz: Engine, Performance & dynamics
The 2018 Honda Jazz does not get anything in the form of updates to the power-train and will be available with the standard 1.2-litre petrol engine that makes 89 horsepower, while the 1.5-litre diesel powertrain makes a conservative 99 horsepower. Honda has even glossed over the diesel CVT option like the Amaze gets, and the Petrol CVT replaces the top VX trim in terms of petrol meaning the petrol manual doesn’t get all the features that the top of line diesel or the Petrol CVT get. We had the 1.5-litre diesel i-DTEC engine on a test, and while it isn’t particularly slow, it's not quick either. There is still a pronounced lag in the motor as the turbo spools around 1,600 rpm and the gearbox too makes you work a bit harder than expected. This is a bit of a downer, especially considering how capable the chassis really is. Offsetting this a bit is the impressive fuel-efficiency since Honda claims exceptional mileage figures of 27 kmpl on the 2018 Honda Jazz, I-DTEC. Due to our short drive, we weren't able to test the real-world fuel-efficiency but we'll have those numbers soon after a detailed test. We really think a hotter version of the Jazz will be a more than welcome especially considering that Honda’s 1.5-litre VTEC motor from the City would be an absolute blast!
The 2018 Honda Jazz also gets cruise control, another welcome change, which is reasonably easy to use, thanks to the steering mounted controls. While it doesn’t really, affect the performance, it makes the Jazz convenient to drive on the highways.
2018 Honda Jazz: Conclusion
Overall the 2018 Honda Jazz is still a spacious, convenient and comfortable hatch that offers some differences from the regular crop of premium hatchbacks that are on sale in India presently. This update just helps it add relevance and stay in the running, ahead of the all-new car likely to debut soon!