There is always an air of expectation when driving a new Honda for the first time, an anticipation of something special. Approaching the new Jazz for the first time it is clearly an evolution of the previous generation, more modern and striking while retaining a simple yet familiar interpretation of Hondaâs family face. Well proportioned with minimal front and rear overhangs and large doors to ease entry/exit, the carâs gently curving profile is noticeable for its ample glazing â quarter-panes ahead of the A-pillar are balanced by smaller windows in the C-pillar. The flagship 1.5 Dynamic model featured here has privacy glass aft of the B-pillars for added comfort and security.Striking in its Sunset Orange paintwork (six vibrant colours are available, the others being Taffeta White, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Carnerian Red Pearl, Urban Titanium Metallic and Golden Brown Metallic), the styling is devoid of unnecessary appendages, rather relying on a series of subtle swage lines in the body work to create light and shade to the overall shape. The stylish 16-inch alloy wheels add a sporty touch.
Inside there is an instant sensation of space and comfort, with a compact instrument/control facia console set behind the three-spoke, adjustable multi-function steering wheel. The instrument cluster consists of a large central speedometer flanked by a rev counter and a multi info dial offering a range of fixed and selectable data afforded by the on-board computer.Recognisable Honda switchgear is clearly identifiable and logical in operation. Seat adjustment is sufficient to accommodate even my long-legged 1.9-metre frame and still leave ample legroom behind to maximise the many seating options offered by Hondaâs Magic Seats. The tailgate rises to reveal generous and practical boot space for its class â and the under-floor spare wheel is full-sized. The new Jazz offers an ergonomically sound driving position with ample space for a family and its luggage.
Fire up, belt up and pull away, the Jazz immediately comes across as an easy driver. With just three turns from lock to lock, the assisted steering is well weighted for effortless and precise response. With a turning circle of 10.8 metres, manoeuvrability is excellent, aided by those front quarter panes offering views of the kerbside and easing movement in tight confines. The front of the vehicle ahead of the sloping bonnet is easy to judge through the large windscreen. Rear parking sensors assist when reversing.The 1.5 fuel-injected petrol engine delivers relaxed performance, the high-compression four-cylinder delivering peak outputs of 88kW at 6600rpm and 145Nm of torque at 4600. There is sufficient mid-range torque to preclude continuous use of the five-speed gearbox, the shift action of which is a snick-snick delight helped by a nicely-weighted and progressive clutch action a CVT transmission is also available. Brakes â ventilated discs up front, drums at the back are linear and powerful in response to sensible pedal pressure.
In and around town, shopping centres and suchlike, the new Jazz excels in practicality, but out on the open road it reveals the sportier side of its character. Riding on 185/55R16 tyres, the cabin is well insulated from coarse and irregular road surface noise, which enhances ride quality. Firm but without being harsh, the carâs long wheelbase/wide track configuration relative to its body creates a four-square stance that is reassuring in adverse conditions. Handling is benign, turn-in is sharp with fail-safe understeer only becoming apparent if limits are pushed to extremes, as I discovered with a run up a deserted tight and twisty stretch of road.In between the extremes of city life and the twisties, the new Jazz is a sublime cruiser with all manner of infotainment options available to entertain driver and passengers. Such all round capability allied with the most versatile and practical interior available in its class, means the new Jazz once again raises the standard for family hatchbacks.2015 Honda Jazz Pricing:1.2 Trend R179 900
1.2 Comfort R204 900
1.2 Comfort CVT R221 900
1.5 Elegance R234 900
1.5 Elegance CVT R249 900
1.5 Dynamic R249 900
1.5 Dynamic R264 900By Mike Monk