Honda Jazz first made its entry into the Indian automotive scene way back in 2009. The premium hatchback segment was just gaining popularity amongst the consumers then. It’s a known fact that in the global markets the Jazz (also known as ‘fit’) was priced as much as its bigger siblings, or even more in most cases. The story wasn’t different here either, the base variant cost almost Rs.8.30/- lakhs on-road Mumbai. Considering the typical Indian mentality that a hatchback though premium, cannot be more expensive than a full-blown sedan. The so-called ‘magic seats’ couldn’t help the Jazz either, as it started losing popularity sooner than expected because of its stratospheric pricing. Honda decided to give the Jazz a makeover and the much-needed price cut, way back in 2015. Since then, nothing much has changed until now. Let’s not waste any more time, and jump straight into the car to know everything about the all-new Honda Jazz.
Exterior & Styling
Exterior design is more or less the same except for a few subtle changes. The most significant change is the tail lamp layout; the car now gets an added vertical LED strip on top of the regular setup, which lends the car a funkier look. The car also gets more chrome accents all around, including the chrome door handles that add in the extra premium feel. The outside rearview mirrors are now electrically foldable and adjustable. The front is now more pronounced with the accentuated gloss black grille that makes the car look more striking. The wraparound headlamps seem to extend a bit further up into the fender than before, which makes the car look more modern and contemporary.
The fog lamps are now neatly embedded with the honeycomb capsule surrounding them. The five twin-spoke alloy wheels look super cool. But we really wished they came in black, just to add in that sporty feel. The Jazz comes shod with 175/ 65 R15 tyres which according to us limits and hampers the cars handling capabilities to a great extent. The front and rear bumpers are also well-chiseled, that perfectly complements the funky and radical design theme of the Honda Jazz. Just for the record, the Jazz now gets two new color shades for the red and silver color variants.
Interiors & Infotainment
Honda claims that the majority of changes of the new Jazz are on the inside. First and the most important update is that the Jazz now gets the 7-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system, more commonly known as the DigiPad 2.0 that premiered with the all-new Amaze. The infotainment system also supports Android Auto & Apple CarPlay along with voice command and the usual Bluetooth which supports music streaming via mobile phones, two USB connections, one of which also supports fast charging and the 3.5mm audio-in for the audiophiles. The music system offers four speakers all-around and the sound quality, though improved over the previous model, leaves much more to be desired.
The most important, or rather the most useful feature the DigiPad 2.0 supports, is the satellite-linked, turn-by-turn navigation system with a 3D display. The display itself is pretty impressive, showing all the signboards that lie ahead of us and also identifies the fuel stations lying ahead, flawlessly keeps us well-informed. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering is meaty to hold, it gets all the audio, telephone and cruise control, yes…the updated Jazz gets cruise control. The massive display console gives a clear view of what’s behind while reversing, offering three different viewing angles- the normal view, the wide-angle view and also a down-focused view, to identify any stones or potholes that might be hiding behind the car. Further aiding this are the rear parking/ proximity sensors, which are now standard equipment across all the variants.
The three-pod, part analog, part digital instrument cluster lights up well. The multi-information display shows all the relevant information like range, average fuel consumption etc. The automatic climate control is very chilling, to say the least. Sadly, the car doesn’t get the rear aircon vents for the passengers sitting behind. Other relevant features include the smart key with keyless entry, push start/ stop button, driver-side seat height adjustment, the steering is only adjustable for tilt, and the telescopic adjustment is sorely missed. The center armrest now gets concealed storage space underneath. Coming to the rear seat, you get decent room to accommodate three fully grown adults. The legroom, knee room, and headroom are more than adequate.
The cabin undoubtedly is the most spacious in the segment, which has always been a major USP for the Jazz. The dashboard flows beautifully and offers a premium and upmarket feel because it resembles that of the Honda City to a great degree. Talking about the storage and cubby holes, the car offers a spacious glove box and bottle holders of up to one litre on all four doors. The smartly incorporated cubby holes all over add to the practicality factor. The boot space is hands down the best-in-class, offering 354 litres of storage space. The rear seat can be folded to further increase the room. Sadly, Honda skipped on giving the ‘magic seats’ even as an option.
Engine, Drive & Safety
The Honda Jazz is powered with the proven 1.2L i-VTEC petrol engine that pushes out 90PS @ 6000RPM & 110NM of torque @ 4800RPM, it comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and a 7-speed CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with paddle-shift. The 1.5L i-DTEC diesel engine is also carried forward from the previous model; it pushes out 100PS @ 3600 RPM & 200NM of torque @ 1750 RPM, it now comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. On the fuel efficiency front, the Honda Jazz returns the same mileage figures for both the petrol and diesel models. The ARAI figures for Jazz petrol manual is 18.7 kmpl, while the CVT equipped model delivers 19 kmpl. The diesel-powered model returns 27.3 kmpl of fuel efficiency. We were driving the diesel Jazz and it returned a respectable mileage of 18.3 kmpl.
The Jazz has good ride quality and its primary job is to keep its passengers comfortable. The Jazz has a capable chassis, but its smaller 175/ 65 R15 tyres are designed for low rolling resistance and better mileage. The result is a car that begins to squeal and understeer in the corners, as you push the car to its limit. Upgrade the tyres and the Jazz should considerably handle better, perhaps the fuel efficiency figures will go down a bit. The Jazz isn’t an exceptional driver’s car; the cabin is not as quiet as its European counterparts, because the road and wind noise do seep in as you approach triple-digit speeds. Still, it’s a big step ahead from the loud cabins in the Brio family. The best part about the Jazz is most of the safety features come as standard from the base variant, which is praiseworthy. The Jazz gets dual airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), rear parking sensors, speed sensing auto door lock and a few other safety features as standard across all variants.
So, does the Jazz have everything that it takes to shake up the competition? Well to be frank the Jazz is a strong brand in itself and sells on its brand USP and this update takes it further. Tho the update is a small one but it is a much needed one that makes an already good product much better. The basic exterior design remains the same to a great extent. The Diesel Jazz is our pick but then the Petrol one is not bad either if you are looking for that option. The 2018 Jazz does make a very good alternative in its segment considering its key USP of space, style, comfort and looks.
Review & Photography – Amit Shelar