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10:13 PM

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Sharper, more practical Honda Jazz

Rafay Ansar

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What is it?



Technically the Jazz is a supermini. It's supermini money and competes against familiar cars in the class such as Ford's Fiesta and Vauxhall's Corsa. But it feels bigger. Much bigger. Think super-sized supermini. The Jazz has always been big, it managing to offer class-above space in a supermini-sized footprint. Thank Honda's clever engineers for that, features like an underfloor fuel tank allowing the Jazz to offer its huge interior space. Add flexible seating in the rear that folds and tumbles with a mere button push and it's a very practical small - big inside - car. The Jazz traditionally appeals to an older audience, with the average age of a Jazz customer being 63 years old. Honda is proud of that though, the grey pound as good as any other.



Is it any good?



The Honda Jazz might historically interest a more mature audience, but with the current economic climate it's also perfectly positioned to appeal to those motorists who are downsizing. It really is vast inside, EX specification including a huge panoramic glass roof that makes it even more airy. Even with the front seats fully back there's room for adults to sit comfortably in the rear seats and the boot offers not just Ford Fiesta beating capacity seats up, but actually betters the Focus. Clever touches abound inside, the rear seat cushions folding up to allow bulky items to be placed on the floor, the boot featuring a double floor and handy pouch to stop fragile items rolling around.



The seats up front are wide and supportive, the large windscreen, quarterlight glass and slimmer A-pillars giving a great view ahead. The steering is light, the chunky wheel and neat instruments adding to the quality feel inside. Two petrol engines are offered: either a 1.2-litre or 1.4-litre. The smaller engine's 65bhp actually feels peppier than the larger 1.4's 72bhp. Fuel consumption in both should top mid-40mpg in daily driving. The five-speed manual is typically Honda crisp and mechanical in its action, a six-speed 'i-Shift' automated manual also offered. One of the key criticisms of the previous car was its rather jarring ride, revisions to the suspension with the new car retaining its taut control but also delivering far better ride comfort. It's not a sharp car to drive like Mazda's 2 or the new Ford Fiesta, but it's refined, comfortable and feels like a much bigger car than it is.



Should I call the bank manager?



You might need to, the Jazz costing a bit more than its supermini competition. It's just £10 short of £10,000 for the entry-level S model, and if you want air conditioning you'll need to spend an extra £1,000 on an SE. Residual values are among the best in its class though - so when you sell it you should get more money back. Start adding options like the eye-wateringly expensive integrated satnav and hard drive music server and you'll need another £2,000. There's a dealer-fit satnav system that's neater and cheaper, but it is still pricey at £495. Buy a map or an aftermarket satnav system if you're prone to getting lost. Choose the i-Shift automated manual transmission and you'll need another £800, too.



Summary



The Jazz has consistently been one of the top three sellers in the supermini class and the new car is certain to continue that. Honda's clever packaging really is sensational, it amazing how much space the Jazz offers. It might look a little expensive against its supermini rivals and not be quite as fun to drive, but it really does offer class above space allied to great comfort and refinement. It's nicely built and should also offer bulletproof reliability, making it not just a sensible purchase among its traditional older buyers but for absolutely everyone.

1 Response to "Sharper, more practical Honda Jazz"
nd1361 said :
September 10, 2008 at 11:04 PM
It's not a sharp car to drive like Mazda's 2 or the new Ford Fiesta, but it's refined, comfortable and feels like a much bigger car