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Old 10th June 2009, 15:16   #1
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Review: 2nd-gen Honda Jazz

What you'll like:

• Premium build & quality
• Extremely spacious interiors
• Fuel efficient, revv happy engine
• Flexible storage solution (magic seats)
• Light & easy to drive. An excellent city car

What you won't:

• Ride quality has stiff edge at low speeds
• Low rpm torque delivery is weak
• Poor level of equipment

The 2015 Jazz:

Review Link

From the time that Honda set foot in India in ‘97, the “City” (C segment) has marked the entry point for the brand. All of this changes with the Jazz. Trivia : The “Jazz” nameplate seems to be a favorite with Honda’s head honchos. Depending on the country, the Jazz badge has been worn by a Honda motorcycle, an SUV, and a hatchback.

This is the 2nd generation Jazz - Honda’s world hatch. It is one of the rare cars that is sold in an identical form (save for varying engine options and trim) across the globe; the same car is called the Honda Fit in North America, Japan & China and is sold as the Jazz in SE Asia, Europe & South Africa (unlike say, the entirely different Accord versions for USA & Europe). Japan is the largest market for this car, followed by Europe & then the United States. The 1st & 2nd gen Jazz’, both, have walked away with the “Japan World Car of the Year” awards in their respective introduction years.

The Indian premium hatch segment is tricky, one that the Fabia has failed at and the i20 just about managing to get along. Can Honda crack the premium hatch code?

Sharing its platform with the City, the Jazz is a thoroughly contemporary supermini, introduced to North America & UK in Y2008. It has a near identical wheel base to the City (shorter by only 50 mm), the same width and a taller stance. The car wears an MPV-like profile, especially when viewed from the front & the side, and comes across as a one-box automobile. The design is fresh, the Jazz looking distinctly premium in person. Fit, finish & paint quality are top class. Look at the side profile picture and you can tell that cabin space is stretched as much as possible. “Man maximum, machine minimum”. Yet, in my books, the i20 is the better looker.

NOTE : All the smaller images on this thread are thumbnails. Click on them to open up larger - more detailed - versions.

Last edited by GTO : 8th July 2015 at 17:19. Reason: Adding link to 2015 Review
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:16   #2
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The packaging is sheer brilliance. The Jazz’s interior is functional while the storage space is high on flexibility. The dash design is funky, only adding to the modern feel of the interiors. The doors shut with a premium-feeling “thunk” (though far from a “thud, if you know what I mean ). Interior space is more sedan- like, sufficient room for front & rear passengers alike. A large green house does its bit in making the interiors feel even more airy and headroom, in particular, is generous. I found the Jazz better suited to carrying 4 passengers in comfort (and not 5). All doors open wide for easy access, but the seats themselves are set a tad on the lower side (compared to the tall boys) while under-thigh support is below average (especially of the rear seat). On the positive side, the front seat’s awesome side bolstering literally hugs you, and lower back support is good too. The fuel tank is positioned below the front passenger seat and releases room at the rear (lower cargo floor for instance); the boot too is a massive 384 liters size. The “magic seats” – as Honda calls them – are nifty, more on that later.

There are plenty of cubby holes & storage spots for the knick knacks. Interior parts feel durable and overall quality is good (though most plastics are hard on the knock). The air-con controls are chunky & great to use, while the tactile switchgear has a very premium feel to it. Overall, the interiors feel well screwed together and, strangely, better than even the more expensive City! The driver enjoys fantastic all around visibility, driving position spot-on and all controls fall easily to hand. Unique quarter windows in front of the ORVMs & at the rear help in tight turning situations. Steering has only tilt adjustment and – sadly - none for reach. The City's steering wheel (with audio controls) is great to use while the orange backlit instrument panel is easy on the eyes. There’s even a fuel indicator that throws out real-time information on economy (FE lovers will be delighted!). The air-con is an absolute chiller. 20 minutes into the drive, I moved it down to position 1. The Jazz is extremely straight forward to use, in a way that only Toyota & Honda seem to have mastered.

Stung by the criticism in the City, Honda has made amends and equips the Jazz with an MP3 CD player as standard fitment. Aux input present, though no USB. The stereo volume is speed-sensitive. The head unit's unique shape & integration make an aftermarket stereo upgrade difficult.

All Jazz variants come standard with dual-front airbags, OEM sound system + steering controls and ABS / EBD brakes. Yet, no alloy wheels, no height adjustable seat, no dead pedal, no parcel tray, no arm rests, no lumbar support at this price!! C’mon Honda!

Rear legroom

Second (double) glove box

Golf-ball gear knob

Center piece is detachable (for longer items)

Premium feeling controls

Electric ORVMs

Unique rear quarter glass aids visibility

Adjustable headrests

Wide opening doors + lower set seats

Rear door with bottle holder + speaker

Last edited by GTO : 10th June 2009 at 15:43.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:17   #3
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The “Magic seats” – as Honda calls them – are a highlight. The number of combinations that the rear seat & boot offer you is impressive. It’s entirely a one person / one hand operation too! Minimum boot space (with all seats up) = 384 liters. You can load anything from a plant to a cycle in here!

One seat down

Both seats down

One seat up!

Both seats up!!

A full size adult comfortably sits in (not recommended on the move)


............and storage

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Old 10th June 2009, 15:18   #4
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The Jazz's 1.2L SOHC 16v iVtec engine is rated at 89 BHP (most power of a 1.2 in the country). The car is unbelievably refined at idle; it’s actually hard to tell if the engine is running at all. The smooth nature extends to when on the move too, though the Vtec gets a little throaty (enthusiasts will appreciate, others won’t) when nearing the redline. The 1.2’s low end torque is strictly average (torque rating of 110NM @ 4,800 rpms), much like the other new age 1.2's (Ritz, Kappa etc.); it needs to be worked to perform. The motor shows an eagerness to revv and driveability is decent. Compared to chief competitor i20, the Jazz superior power to weight shows (84 BHP / Tonne versus 74 for the i20) in its performance. Below a 120 kph, the Jazz doesn’t feel under-powered at all. Above 130 kph though, progress is slow with the li’l 1.2 working hard against wind forces. At 110 kph, the rpm needle is at 3,500 rpm. At 120, it’s at 4,000 rpms. This engine is no highway burner and is most suited to the city itself. In fact, the engine characteristics feel very NHC like (previous gen Honda City) in more ways than one. ARAI certifies the fuel efficiency at 16.1 (Ritz certification was 17.7), expect city FE to be respectable. The super light clutch & steering make it a boon within the city. Gear shift quality is positive.

The Jazz' ride quality is sufficiently compliant over most road surfaces, but you can feel the stiffness of the suspension. This is all the more evident at lower speeds. Big potholes will see it crashing through. The body roll is controlled (though noticeable) while straight line stability is good (yet nowhere Fabia-like). Don’t expect to please the enthusiast in you. The electric power steering is light, playstation-like & great within the city. However, as the speedometer climbs up, it becomes vague & lifeless (much like the previous-gen Honda City). A 15 inch wheel size is standard (175/65 R15 tyres). A ground clearance of (only) 160mm raises concerns. While it didn’t scrape on our Goan drive with 3 onboard, I have my reservations. The ABS + EBD assisted brakes (14” disc at the front) were fantastic to use. In a nutshell, the Jazz is an excellent city car. This is the definitive premium hatch and competition's pretty much between the Jazz & the i20 (Skoda Fabia is not even in contention here).

Pricing: Honda's pricing has been a shocker and, at 6.98 lakhs (ex showroom Delhi) doesn't offer value. The difference between the top-end Jazz and the entry level City is a mere 48,000 (City 1.5 E MT @ 7.81 lakhs). The Jazz's pricetag actually makes the Hyundai i20 seem like VFM. Even the full blown i20 Asta (O) is a whopping 1.2 lakhs cheaper (ex showroom Delhi), and that's with FAR superior equipment levels (6 airbags et al). Can a clever car & the "H" badge do some magic in the marketplace? Only time will tell.

Last edited by GTO : 10th June 2009 at 15:48.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:19   #5
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• 4 year warranty + road side assistance are standard.

• Turning radius : 4.9 Meters.

• Tall 2nd gear : Good for 90 kph.

• There’s a total of 10 bottle / cup holders! Two cup holders in front of side air-con vents can keep your Pepsi cool. Rear doors come with bottle holders as well.

• 1055kg kerb weight. Safety standards are making cars heavier. The Jazz tips the scales higher than the Palio!

• Rev cut-off at 6,700 rpms.

• Steering is super-light at parking speeds.

• I hope Honda offers a CVT option sooner rather than later. It'd be in line with the market positioning of this car.

• I was happy to see Michelins as the OE tyre on some Jazz’. Make sure to tell your dealer of your preference.

• Potential of a larger engine as an option? Rumour mills are working overtime, I don't think so.

• 5 star safety rating in the NCAP. But that car had better safety features (more airbags etc.).

• Colours : Black, Red, Blue, Light blue, Silver & white.


Jazz Base - Dual airbags, ABS + EBD, Immobilizer, Audio system + steering controls, Keyless Entry

Jazz Active - Jazz base plus spoiler, body colour grille, front fog lamps, Chrome rings + panel (interiors), side step garnishes

Jazz Mode - Body side moldings + corner protectors, mud flaps, Chrome rings + panel (interiors), side step garnishes

Disclaimer : Honda invited Team-BHP for the Jazz test-drive event. They covered all the expenses for this trip.

Last edited by GTO : 10th June 2009 at 15:49.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:19   #6
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Smaller but significant things:

Slider looks vintage

Large ORVMs help

Real time fuel efficiency and range

High quality fittings. Including the rubber beadings

Honda's new secret MUV caught

Flexi-flap at the bottom of the bumper. No scraping worries. Notice how it bends against the shoe

Neat rear light design

External roof-mounted antenna

Large vanity mirrors. No lights

You could open a mineral water shop with all those storage places

Classy touch. Lit up too.

Sporty pedals. No dead pedal (just rubber padding)

Rear Wiper

Euro IV compliant + E10 Compatible
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:25   #7
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Wow. You have all the areas covered GTO.

I dont think it is a good value for money proposition when compared to the i20. The Hyundai offers far too many features that make the Jazz look spartan. The Fabia is the only relief to the buyer at this price point but who wants it anyway?

Last edited by vivekji05 : 10th June 2009 at 15:27.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:26   #8
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Wow, nice review, GTO.

Pricing is surely a shocker, but with a Honda, you never know.
I wouldn't be surprised if they get away with it - like with the ANHC.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 10th June 2009 at 15:27.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:27   #9
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Wow !! This is a very impressive review !
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:27   #10
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Mumbai pricing? any one?
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:29   #11
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Good stuff GTO. What remains to be seen is how many people can that Honda badge really draw?
BTW what is that 'Honda Bolero' doing there?!

Last edited by PhrozenFire : 10th June 2009 at 15:30.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:29   #12
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Ah, so this is now becoming a habit, getting access to the initial test drives.
GTO, you forgot to mask the number plate in one of the pics.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:34   #13
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Brilliant Review there GTO! The price inspite of the sparse equipment is a shocker!
Honda certainly needs a reality check in India.

Last edited by extreme_torque : 10th June 2009 at 15:45.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:38   #14
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Compared to the "slanting H" its 1.2 lacs extra for a "straight H" and 10 bhp + some titbits such as cubby holes minus so many features such as alloys, ACC, etc... But this will sell more than i20 and Fabia put together :(

Anyway, I will go and take a TD soon to compare it with my i20.

Last edited by appuchan : 10th June 2009 at 15:49.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:40   #15
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Just a note : The smaller pictures are actually thumbnails. Click to view a larger version.
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