Expert Review - Honda Jazz Mk3 (2014-Present)
11 August 2014
The Honda Jazz is a handsome, competitive alternative to the Ford Fiesta, although potential customers might balk at its close proximity in price to its booted and slightly better-equipped City sibling. Its cabin, however, is a standout in its class in terms of space and versatility, and it also uses less fuel than most of its rivals.
As before, the Jazz utilises a 1.5 litre i-VTEC four-cylinder engine. Being lighter than the City, the Jazz feels freer and more responsive, although the CVT means it still doesn't feel as fast as its output numbers indicate. But actual performance is brisk, and the transmission at least ensures excellent smoothness.
Ride & Handling
The Jazz feels more enjoyable around the bends than the City, with direct, accurate steering and less roll, but it's still no Fiesta. The upshot of this is a ride that's slightly stiffer than the City's, a bit more unsettled over rougher roads.
Road and wind noise is reasonably low, and the engine is quieter than most when fully-extended. You're going to hear more of that engine noise more often, however, thanks to the CVT. Seats offer less support that you'd hope for.
The top-of-the-range V model gets six airbags, and all but the base S model receive stability control. This is opposed to the Fiesta, whose full complement of airbags are only available on the significantly more expensive EcoBoost variant. ISOFIX child seat anchors at the rear and three-point seat belts all around are standard across the range.
With a shorter wheelbase than its City sibling, the Jazz offers slightly less legroom. That's not to say that it is in any way lacking – it still eclipses pretty much anything in the segment. The rear Ultra Seats are the real party pieces, folding flat to boost the already impressive boot space, or tipping up to provide space for tall items such as furniture or potted plants. The front seats can also be reclined flat for lazing around or for accommodating longer items such as surfboards.
Compared to the V-grade City, the equivalent Jazz loses out on cruise control and the fuel-saving ECON mode. Most of the remaining toys like the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and touch-sensitive climate controls are only available on the top-spec model. You do, however, get a five-year warranty with unlimited mileage, as well as six times free labour service up to 100,000 km.