In its initial days, Honda had only City, Jazz and CRV. All were available with petrol engines only. Though Honda couldn’t command volume of sales with these cars, Honda had managed to maintain a premium feel on the brand. Owning a Honda used to get you lots of status appeal compared to any other car of similar price range.
Image Courtesy : Shrinidhi Hande
City was the only car doing great business for Honda. CRV was selling too few a units, as it couldn’t compete with diesel powered rivals like Fortuner. Jazz was also priced very high and wasn’t registering good numbers.
Eventually Honda introduced Brio and later Amaze. Amaze came with diesel and volumes started picking up. To make space for Brio and Amaze in the production line, Jazz production was suspended. For a few years, there were no new Jazz to be seen in the Honda showrooms.
In July 2015, Honda brought back a fully refreshed Jazz into Indian market. Jazz is a world car and is on sale in 60+ countries around the world. It has to meet a unique expectation- deliver agility and economy of a small car along with space, comfort and status of a sedan. Before launching the car, Honda organized a bloggers meet at Delhi’s prestigious Buddh International Circuit where bloggers could drive the all new Jazz on Formula 1 race track. I was privileged to be part of that drive and go to learn a lot about the car and drive it first hand before rest of the public. This post offers detailed review of the fully refreshed Honda Jazz that hit the road 6 months ago.
Jazz is stunning from every angle- front, side or rear. On the side view Jazz gets some curves that seem to be borrowed from its cousins but otherwise it is brilliant. Singapore variant gets DRL next to fog lamp, but it is missed for India. Rear Tail lamp is also completely reworked and looks stunning. The design is very unique among other Honda cars and feels fresh and inviting.
New Jazz is available in both petrol and diesel, unlike the previous edition. Diesel unit is same as the one found in Amaze and City. 100 PS power is more that almost all of its competition. Diesel unit also gets 6 gears (only manual), not many in competition offer that either.
Petrol unit delivers 90 PS- sounds like less than diesel on paper but it is indeed more agile and quicker, thanks to lighter engine. 5 speed MT and a CVT is also on offer, with segment first paddle shift, to give you a race car like feeling while you zip through the highways.
New Jazz is slightly longer than its previous edition- both in terms of wheel base as well as overall length. This has made the car more spacious and cabin volume has increased significantly. 354 litre boot can compete with any compact sedan and the magic seats- flexible seats that can fold in several different positions can make space for all kind of goods- a bicycle, or a Christmas tree or lots of bags or a surf boat and so on. You can set to leisure mode which will let you fold front seat all the way back and get a 180 degree flatbed experience. 9 cup holders and lots of storage spaces let you carry your essentials in comfort and handy.
Instrument cluster is also unique from other Honda cars. A tri-circle unit gives all the information that you would ever need while driving, including outside temperature.
Drive and Handling
When we drove through the iconic Buddh International Circuit, the new Jazz handled the curves amazingly well. Because we had to drive in a convoy as per the instructions, we couldn’t drive at will to test the car’s response to various driving conditions. But during the several laps we drove around, we fell in love with the car.
Should I buy one?
Jazz is a world car. Since past 16 years, over 6 million Jazz cars are sold world-wide in over 75 countries. The 3rd Generation Honda Jazz we have today is a lifestyle vehicle- it is stylish, utilitarian and reasonably priced. Its immediate competition is from Hyundai i20 Active, Ford Ecosport and even Maruti Baleno. Jazz is selling in good numbers- it sold 2600 units in December 2015 which is more than Ecosport, but Jazz volume is just about one fourth of what Maruti Baleno or Hyundai Elite i20 sells. Most expensive variant of Jazz can cost up to 10-11 lakhs on road in your city. It is priced higher than its main competition. If you value the premium feel that Honda offers, and you like the persona Jazz stands for, you should definitely pick up one. But if you are going to Honda showroom with only 6-8 lakhs budget, then you will be a bit disappointed. You will be better off with a Maruti or Hyundai.