Test Drive: New Honda Jazz
IT’S official, I’m a man of a certain age.
It’s not that I have to get up in the night, nor that I’m bewildered by tech or the younger generation. No, I would say it’s because I love the new Honda Jazz which condemns me in the public perception to being middle-aged, or so I thought.
I was heartened then when a young mum told me that she also loved the Honda Jazz and that hers ‘went like stink’, which it actually does.
This latest Honda comes in the form of the new Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid EX Style, now there’s a mouthful, and it’s a cracker.
My requirements of a car change little because a week’s mileage will be up somewhere near the 1,000 mark, which really does show up a vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses. In the case of the new EX Style the emphasis is definitely on the strengths.
Firstly, time is always of the essence. By the time you have dragged a 13-year-old from his pit in the morning, decent performance is essential if you are to get him to the school gate before the bell.
Jazz is startling swift. It’s a full-on, proper hybrid so right from the minute you press the throttle the two electric motors have you sprinting down the road with London Underground train alacrity. Come off the throttle and dab the brakes during the twisty route to the motorway and the regenerative braking tops up the battery nicely.
Then when you hit the straight stuff the 1.5 litre four cylinder petrol takes the strain, helped by the electric duo when you need more oomph for an overtake or to climb a hill. Really press the motor and it sounds like a motorbike – wahey. Let me tell you, the little Honda gets you to school as quickly as anything on test and is more than capable while staying within the constraints of the law.
The other big tick in the box during these times of extortionate fuel prices is the Honda’s wonderfully frugal nature. I made absolutely no attempt to drive it economically, in fact quite the reverse, yet the lowest figure I saw on the trip computer was 52 MPG. I’m told if I’d tried even a little bit harder, or done more town miles when it runs on EV, I would have easily achieved 60+MPG, which is impressive.
Being a Honda the great dynamics of the car are a given. I’m yet to drive a Honda that doesn’t handle anything other than brilliantly; it’s just what they do. The ride is supremely comfortable and body control near perfect. Steering is light but sharp with plenty of feel. Grip is excellent with minimal road noise and when you add in the peppy motor, excellent CVT gearbox, then you have a great little car to drive.
Styling-wise it is inoffensive. Honda has attempted to spruce it up a bit with black side mouldings, two-tone paint, crystal black mirror caps and spoiler and jazzy 16in alloys. Dare I say it, I’ll whisper, but the lights look like they could have been stolen off a Porsche and Jazz has a sheen of quality about it and an air that it will last for years untarnished.
Inside, the first thing to strike you is visibility which is immense. The windscreen seems to stretch beyond the car giving drivers a completely unobstructed view of the world before them. It is easy to see why it is popular with older drivers when eyesight, spatial awareness and therefore confidence start to drop off but, that said, being able to see clearly must surely benefit all generations. Levels of light inside the cabin are fabulous and it is bright and airy even on a dull day.
The clocks, 9in touchscreen, switches and controls are all easy to locate, memorise and use making Jazz so easy to drive and live with. If there is a fly in the ointment it’s the driver’s seat which comes up against the rear stops far too quickly and I would have liked to sit further from the steering wheel.
Rear space is fine and the boot is larger than I expected as I imagined there would be hybrid gubbins under the boot floor. The petrol tank is also larger than I thought it would be – £55 to top up to full from near-empty.
Specification is big-car impressive so you can expect rear view camera, heat seats and heated steering wheel, satnav, cruise control and decent infotainment with Bluetooth. There’s a raft for safety features too which will keep you free from harm.
Jazz has aged well over the decades and has certainly broadened its appeal. If only I could do the same.
Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid EX Style
Engine: 1.5 petrol hybrid
0-62mph: 9.9 secs
Top speed: 107mph
Combined MPG: 62.8
Transmission: CVT automatic
CO2 g/km: 102