Honda’s only premium offering in the premium hatchback segment, the Jazz was introduced in India in 2009 while it was in its second GEN. It was one of the stylish, radical and spacious cars in the segment thanks to intelligent packaging. At that time, it was launched with only petrol engine but due to over ambitious pricing strategy the sales of Jazz started to plunge heavily after initial success. As a result of it, Honda reworked on the price strategy and cut down the price of Jazz by Rs. 1 lakh to tackle rapid sales collapse. However nothing seemed to work in the favor of Honda as Indian buyers still responded it with thumbs down. Eventually in late 2013, the Japanese car maker had to withdraw car from the Indian market. Apart from overpricing, absence of diesel engine, poor equipment and advent of Hyundai i20 (first Gen) keeps denting the sale of Jazz which leads to its discontinuation.
But like most good things in Life, Jazz has overcome the difficulties and challenges and is now returning with a third GEN new Jazz. There are certain positive things about new Jazz this time around which was not there in previous Gen model such as a diesel engine, long equipment list, lighter, quicker and has more than 90% local content. But, does it have the punch to blow down the segment benchmark, Elite i20? Let’s find out..
- During its first outing in India, it was the price that took Jazz into deep shell and dented the sales figure, but this time around Honda seemed to work on it by giving new Jazz 90% local content which helped them pricing it aggressively.
- The all new Jazz now starts at Rs. 5.30 lakh (ex-showroom) for petrol version which is at par with the competition but it ends on the higher side at Rs. 8.59 lakh for the top variant.
- The Jazz also comes with an automatic transmission which will prove to be a game changer for the Japanese car maker; CVT is available in two variants priced at Rs. 6.99 lakh and 7.85 lakh respectively.
- Overall, the new Jazz is way affordable than the previous Gen which was steeply overpriced. Honda should have kept the price of top variants equal to Elite i20 if not less.
Engine and Performance:
- Powering the new Jazz is 1.2L i-Vtec petrol engine which makes 88.7bhp power and 110Nm of peak torque while there is a new 1.5L i-Dtec diesel engine which is making its presence for the first time in Jazz. The diesel motor also seen on other Honda cars is good for 98bhp power and 200Nm of peak torque.
- The Petrol can be either had with a 5-speed manual or a CVT automatic with paddle shifters, the diesel comes with only 6-speed manual gearbox.
- Let’s start with i-Vtec first, its same the unit that does duty in Brio and Amaze. Like other Honda Petrol models it is revv happy to drive and shows its true performance only in higher rpms.
- Bottom end response isn’t lively as it is hampered by the kerb weight; even brio feels stronger in low end response. The mid range performance is acceptable ad engine starts to get alive past 4000 rpm.
- The performance post 4000rpm is steady and strong fabricating up of power will excite the enthusiasts, though the sound it makes in the process will only excite them not the layman.
- Honda Jazz is also available in CVT automatic with paddle shifters (a segment first) which will surely attract buyers thanks to the added convenience and comfort it offers. As like most CVTs gearshifts are effortless with good driving experience complimented by light steering which makes it best suited for city commuting.
- The new Jazz has neutral handling dynamics, steering behaves in more consistent and sedate manner in most parts. The car feels stable at 110km speed and maintaining speed around 90-100 km/hr shouldn’t be a difficult task.
- Honda Jazz rides on Michelin tyres while they provide decent grip at certain levels, looks skinny at some levels. Better tyres would have been good but it might have hampered the fuel efficiency.
- We also tried our hands on 1.5L i-Dtec powered diesel variant of Jazz which develops 98bhp power and 200Nm torque. Honda claims that the diesel engine now offer higher gear ratios to improve efficiency and drivability.
- Honda jazz was previously criticized for lower ground clearance as well but this time Honda seems to have worked on it by providing 165mm of ground clearance, so that it will surpass all the potholes of Indian roads without scratching the bottom.
- Start up the diesel Jazz and you’ll be welcomed by inherent noise as most 1.5L i-Dtec diesel motors are known for. NVH levels are good at idle but as press the accelerator the noise become audible inside the cabin.
- Another drawback of the diesel Jazz is the vibrations we felt at accelerator and brakes which are directly related to engine power. In this segment, Hyundai Elite i20 is in different league altogether.
- Let’s be fair, performance of Jazz diesel is linear with good drivability which is best available between 1500-2500rpm. Highway performance is competent but isn’t quick as i20 and 1.5L TDI VW Polo as it offers little to excite the enthusiast.
- However, Jazz has enough grunt for City cruising with good low end punch, taller gear ratios and absence of turbo lag. The ride quality is much leap ahead of older Jazz.
- The new Jazz returns 27.3 KMPL of fuel efficiency making it second best fuel efficient car in India. Though we got only 22 KMPL during our test drive which is also not at all bad for a premium hatchback.
Space and Dimensions:
- Step inside the new Jazz and you’ll be greeted by spacious cabin as new Jazz is longer by 55mm and has an extended wheelbase of 30mm as compared to older model. The new jazz is certainly the roomiest in the segment.
- The doors are wide and opens at 90 degrees so getting in and out is easy and it won’t bang your head thanks to higher stance. Front seats are wide, supportive and aren’t cheap and thin as Amaze.
- You will find lots of storage options in new Jazz like a twin big glove boxes, five storage slots, two cup holders at the central console (between driver and front passenger seat), two seat back pockets and door pockets at all doors.
- Honda Jazz comes with 354 liters of massive boot space which can be further extended up to 881 liters by taking down the rear seats.
- Let’s talk about the rear bench space which is definitely the class leading and way better than Polo and Swift. The rear seats also come with reclining feature which we have seen in Corolla Altis and EcoSport.
- The rear seats are wide enough to swallow three passengers easily and even if two of them are tall around 6 feet, the third one will not have to compromise on space. The only minor minus thing about rear seat is that the middle section of seat is slightly raised up which could be uncomfortable for the occupant for long journeys.
- The all new Honda Jazz features magic seats which contains different modes such as refresh mode, tall mode etc. The under thigh support is just adequate for the magic seats which is good for only short drives.
- Overall, Honda new Jazz is one of the spacious hatchbacks in the segment which could even challenge some of the sedans in this department. If you want a hatchback to stretch your legs, Jazz is just made for you.
- The first thing that strikes about the new Jazz is its Mini MPV-ish look while the design remains purely radical and subjective.
- Starting from the front which is beautify by city like grille done in matte black that blend into shaper, meaner single barrel headlights to flaunt a strong design entity upfront. However, Indian Spec misses out on LED DRLs sold on Japanese variant.
- The piano black finish grille, widened black air dam with cornered round fog lamps and muscular bonnet makes the Jazz shaper and Sportier than ever.
- Coming to the sides, which houses new alloy wheels, electrically foldable OVRMs, grab type door handles and a strong beltline that merges into taillights makes new Jazz way more cooler.
- The rear side is nicely done with LED effect taillights, chunky wiper, thick chrome strip above the number plate and reflectors near the windscreen make the back side a bit like Volvo V40 hatchback.
- The new Jazz is offered with number of color shades such as Sunset orange, taffeta Brown and five more colors.
- Overall, the design of new Jazz will surely allure the enthusiast but the rear design isn’t outright exciting and might grab mix opinions.
Interior and Safety:
- The interior of new Jazz evokes a familiar feel especially of City sedan; the car we drove had all black theme with black seats with contrast stitching. The doors had a tint of silver as well on door opening handles, steering wheel, A/c vents, MID and door pads.
- Let’s start with three spoke steering wheel which houses audio controls, telephony buttons and right behind it you will get the MID with engine temperature, distance to empty, fuel efficiency bar, speedometer with integrated Eco assist feature with blue illuminated lights which looks cool.
- In a verge to make cabin roomier, Honda didn’t compromise on features, as it sports a 6.2 inch screen, a segment first feature (5” for lower variant) with USB, Aux-in, DVD and I-pod connectivity. The screen also doubles up the display for navigation and reverse parking assistance.
- There is separate 5” touch control screen for automatic climate control which sits right below the main 6.2” head unit and it is too taken from city sedan.
- The gear lever is finished in leather but it doesn’t look as classy as Elite i20’s and also the design of it doesn’t suit the car. Overall, in terms of quality and finish it is good but Polo and Elite i20 still remains way superior.
- Honda Jazz misses out certain features like driver side armrest, no lock/unlock button, rear AC vents but the absence of it is not a problem as AC unit is capable enough to keep the rear occupants cool.
- Honda hasn’t skipped on the safety features either as it features dual airbags, anti-lock braking system, EBD, impact mitigating headrests, disc brakes for the front and drum for rear, reverse camera with guidelines, pedestrian mitigation technology and a stronger body shell.
After so much analysis, the question now arises who should buy it and the answer is someone who is looking for oodles of space, best in segment fuel efficiency, decent list of features and good on road behavior. Fuel rocketing Jazz’s plus points is the presence of diesel engine, automatic gearbox and the versatility it carries. Honda Jazz doesn’t feel like a hatchback from inside, no wait! Don’t take it negatively as it is a big plus for it. In terms of driving dynamics, it might not be of enthusiast taste but it’s not at all bad either.
The competition around is really tough as it has to take on Hyundai Elite i20 which is selling around 10,000+ units a month and no car has been able to give Elite i20 cut throat competition in terms of sales. The new Honda Jazz certainly looks a prospect to give Elite i20 a good run for its money due to its brilliant packaging and fuel efficiency. To sum up, Honda Jazz might finally get the success it meant to be.