I thought I would put down my impressions of the Honda Jazz VCVT after using the car for about 1600 km. The Purchase Rationale
Wanted to get rid of the Duster - nobody really liked it (it was not cool at all) and Bangalore's traffic made it very difficult to continue with a manual transmission. So, we decided that the replacement will be an automatic hatch in petrol. No sedans. No diesel. No MT, however good the car.
All those constraints made it a three cornered fight between the Polo TSI, the Baleno & the Honda Jazz ( My shortlist process & checklist here
I decided on a Jazz because of the following reasons
- Found the Jazz more comfortable
- Much smoother engine
- Baleno had a transmission whine which I hated
- Wait time for Baleno
- Jazz has better safety as per NCAP - not just basic star ratings. If you look at the details in the report, the Jazz seems to protect occupants better
- Polo - we loved the way it drove but the DSG issues & the dealership attitude turned us off
I bought the Jazz about a month ago for an on-road price of 9.5 lakhs in Bangalore. The deal included reverse sensor, mats, mud flaps and a bit of cash. The Buying Process
Dakshin Honda in Bangalore had an absolutely beat up demo car which almost made us decide on the Baleno. Whitefield Honda, luckily, had a new car and driving it convinced us.
The knowledge levels of the SA was flipped around though. The guy in Dakshin was knowledgeable and wanted to close the deal. The Whitefield guy was pretty bad - did not know anything about the car (said the green/blue eco lights were for "design"). To top it all, he borrowed 20 rupees from me!!
But the deal was better at Whitefield and hence I went with them.
Strangely, they had an issue with 'allowing' me to do a PDI. I insisted and got my way. No major issues were found in the PDI.
The car was delivered with no stickers as instructed. The tires were inflated to 42 PSI for some reason! The preparation could have been slightly better - there were a lot of smudges & fingerprints.
The delivery Photos:
Handing Over the Key
The obligatory selfie Impressions
A good looker - love the Carnelian Red
The Ganesha - I did not like the free one Driving Experience
The car has been everything that I had hoped for. It is very silent and smooth (may be I feel that way because of the intervening 4 years of pure diesel driving!). It is comfort personified. The acres of room in the rear is an added bonus.
There is a whole list of minor irritants (Basic cheapness - no keyless start; they only give you ONE key with a remote (really, Honda?); some safety compromises which I hate that Honda made for me without giving me a choice - no passenger seatbelt warning; convenience factors like no automatic headlights, etc) but on the balance, the car has been a good choice.
I have absolutely no buyer's remorse or regrets!
The car is a dream to drive around in the city. I have had no problems at all about moving from an absolute stop, unlike what was reported in forums. I did not notice any major rubber banding effect while starting the car. If you are sensible, you will not notice much rubber banding, in the city. However, if you go all macho and push the throttle to hustle the car, it will just ignore you. This car is almost more mature than I am!
There was some discussion on one of the forums about how difficult it is to do a hill start with the CVT. I can happily report that I have had no issues with this. I have a reasonably steep slope from my garage to the road (Rise of about 7 ft in 15 ft). The car goes up quite easily with out any hesitation or strain on that slope. Even if I stop on the slope, I can quite comfortably go up again without the revs going up. I guess you need to figure out how to accelerate just the right amount!
On the highway, overtaking is easy on divided highways. On two lane roads, it requires a bit of planning and smoothness on the throttle. If you panic and press the throttle hard all that happens is that the engine noise increases and the revs go up; the car just stays at the same speed!
The better approach is to tap the left paddle, drop a cog, and keep the throttle constant. The acceleration becomes a bit more urgent and once you merge back into your lane, the car goes back to the sedate approach as it is wont.
The basic driving experience is not one that would satisfy a gear head. It is a soft car (dare I say it?!!) It is ideally suited for women and older gentlemen. Ride & Handling
For a soft car, the Jazz has is very well behaved. It sits higher than my old Honda City (2nd Gen) and most speed bumps do not bother it. It disposes off potholes without much ado. The Duster is still tops for ride quality but over the last 2000 km, I have had no occasion to fault the ride. It is pliant and does not allow too many bumps to intrude into the cabin. The ride is of a piece with the character of the car - smoooooooth!
The handling, surprisingly, is quite good. The car is very well behaved around corners and goes where you point it without fuss. I did not experience too much under steer. I do believe that the handling can, er, handle a much more powerful & sporty set up. Mileage
It might be a bit too early for this but thought I will give my impressions. This is based on a daily commute of about 30-40 km and one trip to Madras and back. So roughly 50-50 city & highway split.
I have got a combined mileage of about 14.5 kmpl.
The mileage breaks down to about 11.5-12 kmpl in the city and about 17 kmpl on the highway
A few notes might be in order to 'explain' the mileage.
I believe this is a realistic mileage you can expect. Extracting a better mileage out of the car is possible but you need to completely compromise on the pleasure/ ease of driving to get to those numbers. Allow me to expand on this.
City Mileage - hard commute the last few days
In the city, most of the mileage gets killed because of idling in the eternal traffic jam that is a Bangalore commute. You are stopped most of the time either for a light or behind another car.
I try to mitigate it by switching off the car if the wait time is greater than 60 seconds. However, to be honest, in the Jazz I find that idling does not really affect the mileage all that much. The car barely sips on the petrol while idling. I don't think your mileage figures will be destroyed if you kept the car idling at signals.
The other thing that might affect mileage is leaving it in D and holding the car at rest via the brake. I feel that the car is straining against the brake when in D as it moves instantly when the brakes are eased off. I put it in neutral when I stop but again, I suspect it does not affect mileage all that much.
Switching off the AC might have a more significant impact on your mileage figures - even in the Crysta, I noticed that in the city, mileage with AC vs non-AC is a difference of about 2 kmpl.
Since I have the AC always on, I think this is about the maximum mileage I can expect.
So, in a city like Bangalore, 11.5-12 kmpl is what you will get if you like your creature comforts and drive like a normal person. Highway mileage
On the other hand, highway driving is a different animal in the Jazz
The car is most comfortable around 90 kmph. At this speed, I got around 20 kmpl. I did notice that the mileage improves dramatically if, once you reach your desired speed, you back off on the throttle a bit. If you do that, the speed stays at around 90 kmph and the mileage goes to around 20 kmpl. If you just lock the throttle in at the desired speed, you get around 14-15 kmpl.
Why the car behaves like this, I do not know. May be all cars have to be driven like that. I don't, normally. And if they do, I cant imagine why this can't be programmed into the ECU. I am reasonably sure cruise control, if present, will work like this - backing off on the throttle once you reach cruise speed.
Unfortunately, I cruise around 110 kmph. The car is very grumpy at this speed. Oh, dont get me wrong. It goes at this speed willingly enough but the engine picks up a slightly gruff note (which I like!) and the mileage goes south to around 14-15 kmpl. The backing-off-the-throttle trick does not work at these speeds. If you do it, the car settles back at 90 kmph! You are in luck if you like cruising at 90 kmph. If you like cruising at higher speeds, you wont get mind blowing mileage. To be honest, I suspect there will be very little difference in arrival time between 90 kmph and 110 kmph. But there is no arguing with what you are used to!
Point to note: at no point does the car feel under powered. It is quite eager and smooth getting to the speed (tops out around 130 kmph). Just don't expect the insane mileage that people seem to be fond of posting, even on Team-BHP. (27.5 kmpl!!!!
My advice? Just relax and enjoy the car. Mileage be damned! Features
I would like to add to the chorus of protests about the lack of features in the car. I do believe that Honda optimized the feature lists for manufacturability and margins along with reliability.
The features, apart from alloys, steering wheel etc, you get are:
- - A slightly informative instrument pod. You can see mileage, trip for two trips, the instant (and useless) mileage and a very conservative fuel gauge. The party trick is the eco light which tells when you maximize mileage. It is like your grandmother nagging you to be a good boy. And just like your grandmom, you ignore it. I dont think you can change your driving style too much
- - A reverse camera - actually pretty good.
- - Bluetooth: Good. The only problem is that it shuts down for 15 seconds when you start the car. So, if you are on a call, you cant shut the engine down
- - ICE: Decent but not audiophile quality. I think the V version is better than the Vx version. But I replaced it with an Android Auto unit.
- - Auto AC: What can I say? It is there!
- There is no keyless go/ start. I dont really mind it - being in IT testing, I get nightmares about the security hole that a keyless start system creates for such a small benefit. I have already ranted about it!
- What I miss is the automatic headlights & LED lamps. What would it have cost Honda to give it? I really dont understand.
- The other thing I would have liked is the Vx's smart seats. Not so much for the smartness but for the ability to lean it back and for the headrests.
- I am really upset that Honda chose to screw us on safety. Separate rant below!
What galls me is that these are not big deals and are not even available as options. Safety
I feel most short changed about the safety features that are missing in the car. I can live with out the comfort/ gizmo features. But I literally cant live without the missing safety features.
The version that got the 4 stars in NCAP has 6 airbags, including side curtain airbags. We get a measly 2 - not even the knee airbags.
They went with a skinny rear bumper to get the car under 4m (I think) but none of that benefit comes to us.
Hell, we do not even get seat belt pre-tensioners!
I understand Honda giving us a car without any unnecessary features to focus on reliability and ease of manufacturing. But skimping on safety is not following that plot. Accessories Added
I always add reflective strips to the rear view mirrors, tail lights, headlights and the inside edges of the doors & tail gate. Why? I think it improves safety discreetly (my opinion. YMMW)
The stock ICE is pretty decent but there are no pre-outs/ RCA connections in the back. You cannot really add an amp or sub-woofer.
The stock speakers are adequate but very flat.
So, I changed the HU to a Pioneer AVH-5090 BT and upgraded the speakers to components in the front & co-axial in the rear. I also added a subwoofer.
The sound now is absolutely sublime. Be it Queen, Illaiyaraja, AR Rahman, Kishore Kumar or Brahms - they all sound absolutely stunning.
The only issue that bothers me is that the BT switches off for about 15 seconds when the car is started. (This is the same behaviour as in the stock HU). That, and the fact that it required a ₹3,500 harness to get the steering phone buttons and reverse camera multiple-angle display to work.
This HU is Android Auto capable and I have documented my impressions on the ICE upgrade here Hatch Cover Lifter
Honda absolutely cheaped out in not providing an string to lift the hatch cover when the tail gate is opened. Details about my fix to this and a possible reason why Honda did this here Interior Leather
After my bad experience with Stanley & Karlsson, I was not sure whom to go with for the interior leather. By chance, I ran into Girish, who used to be in Stanley, Mission Road. Kumar of Auto Planet re-connected me. He has started a new company, Schon. I took a chance on him and he has delivered an excellent interior.
I do recommend him strongly.
The Rear (The tissue box was free!)
Detail on the stitching - I did not want too much red but wanted a touch in the interior.
The door pad. I particularly like the arm rest finish.
The hand brake cover (Also see the groove mat, procured from AliExpress)
Another groove mat, this time for the cup holder & space before the shifter
Groove mats - here
The seat pockets on the front seats (Honda does not provide seat pockets in the rear of the front seats. Why? Who knows!) Gap Flap
I also fixed the irritating gap between the hatch cover and the seat back when I did the interior. Basically, there is a flap in perforated leather with velcro on the other end. It gets attached to the hatch cover quite easily.
This fix helps ensure that nothing falls between the stupid crack and the perforation helps with the sub-woofer effectiveness.
I am particularly proud of this juggad!
You should be able to achieve a similar effect with just a 4 inch strip of art leather/ rexine, glue and velcro. The hatch cover & the matting on the back of the rear seat are perfect places to attach velcro to.
How it is attached to the hatch cover
Flap integrated with the back seat Armrest
After trying to get the Rati Armrest (that looked really classy but ultimately, I could not justify the ₹7,500 -₹11,000 asking price), I settled for the normal Aliexpress armrest at $55.
It is quite good - moves forward & backward, can increase the height by another inch, has umpteen USB ports and has 2 compartments. Most importantly, it feels solid - not flaky at all. Link here Nonda Zus Smart Car Charger
Got a Nonda Zus smart car charger
. It is a nifty widget that figures out where you parked and fast charges phones. I think it gives 3 A output in both ports. There is also a companion app.
This is highly recommended but a bit (?)
expensive, widget. I paid 1750 on some christmas deal. Dashcam
I installed the Viofo A119 dashcam from the Duster. It works fine. FastTag
I got the FastTag done by WhatsApp from Nagesh & installed it myself. This took about 1 week, from start to finish with absolutely minimal intervention from my end. I found out that the tag works just fine even if it is stuck on the frit - the black dimpled portion around the rear view mirror. Mats
The mats given by Honda are not very good. They keep coming off and get very dirty. So, I switched to 3D mats. Happy until now. Final Opinions
All in all, it is a brilliant city car that can be used on the highway too. On the highway, just dont worry about the mileage.
Like a recalcitrant child, it responds better to a smooth approach than to urgent moves.
The best things I like about the Honda Jazz VCVT are the smoothness & silence.
But I really feel short changed by Honda on the safety front.
What we have is a car that is comfortable but not very safe; has good handling without the power; stripped down features but expensive. But still, it is a strongly recommended buy!