Switched from Etios Liva to Jazz: 9 months & 9K km ownership experience

I had been driving manual cars for the last 14 years & it did take a toll on my health. Hence, I decided to move to an automatic.

BHPian VikramCS recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

My ownership experience: Honda Jazz V CVT automatic

"If something can be done tomorrow, don't do it today", well, that's how I kept postponing penning down my ownership experience. Apologies. It’s been close to 9 months since I purchased this car, and so far have covered close to 8.5K+ kilometers.

Need for change

Well, I was happy with my Toyota Etios Liva V (Petrol) which I was using from 3+ years. Owning Toyotas is simply a joy - absolutely fuss-free ownership. Fill, drive and repeat; very reliable and comfortable. It could easily carry 4 adults + my kid and luggage for 3-day trips. Then, why change in 3 years?

No, I didn't get any promotion, no salary hike either... However, what I started to get aplenty was a pain in my left foot, ankles and left shoulder joint - it was bad and I could not even lift my left arm vertically up. Got X-rays done and Doctor mentioned that some liquid in my joints (can't recollect the medical terminology) had started to dry up. He put me on medication for a month and advised me to stop driving for a month at least (with complete respect to the Doctor - what the hell? give-up driving? Sorry, impossible). It was clear that clutch and gear were taking a toll - so, finally, after driving Manual Transmission (MT) for 14 years, it was time to get comfortable: go for an automatic.

Which car - My requirements were simple

  • Reliable, comfortable for both City and Highways.
  • Safety - at least 4-star (Just to recollect: Etios Liva was one of the first hatchbacks to be rated 4-stars by GNCAP. The model tested had 2 airbags and the body shell was rated 'stable'. ABS was added later. Safety was one of the key reasons for getting Liva against a lot of "popular choices").
  • Proper automatic (NO AMT).
  • Stable highways manners and decent handling.
  • Spacious cabin and generous boot-space.
  • Budget ~8L (lower the better. Since the budget was on the lower side, was looking for pre-owned cars.)

I'll not get into selection details, but took a test drive of Baleno, i20, Jazz and Polo. My brother owns Baleno CVT and I had gone on road trips with him for over 2K kilometers - it was easier to decide. i20 didn't meet my requirements. Polo, though a little short on space, was undoubtedly the best to drive. However, being a family man, I was inclined to go for the spacious car - hence, Jazz automatic was finalized.

I found a decent deal and booked a pre-owned Jazz CVT (2017) that had about 25K on the odo. Did a background check and was convinced to put my money on it.


Driving in the city

Jazz CVT is easy and smooth to drive. I live in Bangalore and can't thank enough for the convenience of this smooth automatic from Honda. No head nods, no jerks, just pleasure! No clutch, no frequent gear changes – very easy to drive. With gentle accelerator inputs, progress is a little slow initially, but suits my 'city-driving' style where I prefer to make gradual progress especially while moving in a sea of two-wheelers, autos, cabs and BMTC buses.

I do not feel a lack of power, especially for relaxed driving. Yes, can’t launch aggressively from traffic signals, but I have left that adventure to other road users. When conditions permit brisk progress, simply use the paddle shifters (can be used in D mode as well), drop a step and the car rushes forward. When roads are a little free (they seldom are!) a little more pressure on the A pedal is sufficient to move ahead of traffic. All-in-all Jazz CVT is a capable + comfortable city car.

Driving on highways

Well, neither am I an enthusiastic nor a sedate driver – I drive according to the road conditions, although at times I’m a little aggressive. Now, in the D mode, with firm pressure on the A pedal, Jazz makes ample progress (not quick!) in lower rpms, but as revs rise it can comfortably get to around 80-ish in a reasonable time. Progress upto 100 km/hr is brisk, but beyond that, takes time to reach 120-130 mark. Whenever there is a need for quick acceleration, use paddle shifters to drop down – I sometimes employ double-drop: drop a step (let’s say the car is in D4 around 70-ish, I drop to D3 and get the push; again, I drop a step which brings it back to D3 and allows to rev higher thereby gaining speed). I’m not sure whether this is the right way to step down in a CVT, I’ll let the experts comment.

Power output of Jazz CVT is around 90PS, while the car weighs over a ton. It’s not a very quick car, but even in the D mode, I can easily reach triple-digit speeds, with 2-adults + 5-year-old daughter + luggage on board. Again, no comparison to Polo, but, Jazz is not a slow car.

When in the mood for fun, slot to S mode and the car makes quick progress by holding on till higher rpms. Using paddle shifters in Sports mode can help manual control – this is really fun. I have used this combination and managed to gain very quick speeds. Have hit ~100 in S3, 130 in S4, etc.

Disclaimer: I do not recommend driving beyond speed limits. For testing purposes, when road conditions were ideal, had tested the car’s ability. Please drive safe.

Though I do not redline the iVtec frequently, have observed that at higher rpms(5K+), engine response is comparatively better than at lower rpms.

Ride, handling and comfort

At highway speeds, Jazz is stable and solid. Yes, as revs rise, one can hear the engine’s roar, but it’s music to ears and not at all disturbing. I found the car stable around corners and is not nervous around twists. Straight line stability is impressive and brakes are confidence-inspiring. Road undulations are handled well and the car does not lose composure. I found the suspension set-up to be balanced. Ride quality is comfortable at city speeds; on long highway trips, though the car is comfortable overall, at times when at higher speeds, some unruly potholes tend to make it bouncy at the rear. Just to compare Jazz with Liva – my parents (father aged 70+; mother 60+) in the rear seat, feel a little more comfortable in Liva than Jazz, however, the difference may not be significant.

Body roll is controlled and direction changes happen without much drama. Steering response is acceptable and it nicely weighs up at higher speeds.

Wheels, tires and Ground clearance

I have read multiple times that Honda provides skinny tires – unable to comment on the tire size, not sure whether upsizing tires can increase comfort/grip levels. However, I recently replaced old tires with the same-size MRF ZVTV tires from Madhu’s Tyres, Bangalore. Probably, I should have enquired about upsizing!

Ground clearance is adequate. Despite travelling on pothole-ridden roads and unscientific road humps, haven't scraped the car’s underbelly (I can’t control the urge to curse the folks responsible for unscientific humps though – some are mountains, not humps… who designed, laid and approved them!?).


As you might have observed, this section comes below the more important sections above. For me, a car should have a good engine, reliable gearbox, sufficient safety, a comfortable ride and confident handling. Personally, creature comforts, 10-inch TVs, gimmicky features, sunroof etc. are not very important to me.

  • Dashboard, fit and finish: Good quality interiors at this price point for a previous generation car. No panel gaps, no rattling sounds… current odo stands at a tad below 34K.
  • Music system: I’m not an audiophile and hardly switch on the music. My family members like to talk more than listen (to music I mean). I’d say the music system does its job well - steering mounted audio controls are helpful (wonder why there is no mute button though).
  • Seats: are comfortable for long drives. I assume there’s no lumbar support, but, the seats offer enough cushion to the occupants for long journeys – no issues here.
  • Space: Jazz has acres of space, believe me, even Liva offered a lot of space. Head-room is more than sufficient - my family members, including me, are on the shorter side, but even six-footers will not have much to complain about in Jazz.
  • Boot-space: Let’s just say my wife is happy with it, no explanation required.
  • Air-conditioning: AC is very comfortable for all occupants. No complaints of less throw or cooling from rear occupants so far. When I switch on AC, I increase the fan speed and lower the temperature a bit, and, then adjust as per need. My car also comes with auto-AC, but I hardly use it.

Kitna deti hai?

Ji vo exactly ‘pata nahi’. I believe the right method to measure mileage is to do a tank-full to tank-full, and, ideally refill from the same petrol bunk. However, I have not measured mileage this way so far in Jazz, and, am in no mood to.

Going by the MID:

  • In City (depending on traffic density): 10.5-12 kmpl
  • On highways (depending on my mood!!): 15–16.5 kmpl

As we all know, mileage is sensitive to individual driving styles. On highways, when maintaining a constant cruising speed ~90, have managed between 17-18kmpl. Aggressive acceleration, racing beyond 110+, using Sports mode – these will drop mileage. The choice is clearly the driver's!

Service costs

Honda recommends a 6-month service interval for Jazz (probably, models later than 2018/2019 come with a 12-month/10K kms service interval, other owners can confirm) - I believe this was Honda’s ploy to make Dealers profitable.

Anyway, I try and stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines and have got my car serviced once so far – at Magnum Honda (Kanakapura road). Service experience was good, but, as usual SA’s try to increase their commission by pushing unnecessary stuff – just follow the owner’s manual and save yourself some money.

Last service cost was around 6.3K, and, I expect average costs will be in the vicinity of 6K, which I think is fair for a premium hatchback.


  • Headlights: OEM fitted ones are basic. However, I hardly drive on highways at night-time, so this upgrade is not urgent. For city usage, current ones are okay-ish.
  • Arm-rest: Honda dealerships quoted 7K, so have to check outside.


Jazz CVT is a fantastic product – a spacious, comfortable car with Honda’s famed iVtec engine plus a reliable automatic gearbox. One can’t go wrong with Jazz – sad that Honda decided to discontinue this car.

Dear Honda: why can’t you just plonk the RS1.0L turbo engine (available in the Thailand market) in Jazz, bump up the power output to 100-105PS, and keep prices competitive (at least initially)… you’d have a winner on hand. I can’t believe that you don’t even market your products properly in this age and time. Please increase your marketing spend, and upgrade the product and I’m sure the numbers will follow.

Lastly, Jazz will not please very keen and enthusiastic drivers – it’s not for folks who want to fly from 0-100. For pure driving pleasure get a Polo, but, for balanced needs Jazz should do fine.

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