Honda Jazz X 1.2 i-VTEC road test review

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Honda Jazz X 1.2 i-VTEC road test review

Introduction

The Jazz has been around for some time now, and one would wonder why we are writing a review now. Well, the Jazz X variant of the car was launched rather recently, with some added features and it gave us a good reason to appreciate the virtues and lambast the vices of this globally acclaimed car. And hence this piece, at this time.

More than a year ago, when the Jazz was launched, everyone was praying with hands clasped and eyes shut tight for Honda to price it reasonably. But aware of the premium that their products command in this part of the world, the Japanese company didn’t relent. The Jazz is priced substantially higher than any other hatchback in the country today. That H badge on the car’s grille is one of the primary reasons for the steep price, but we’d try and find out if the qualities of this car also contribute to that tag.

From what we knew of the Jazz before we got our hands behind its wheel, we thought of it as a highly versatile car, with loads of passenger and luggage space inside, intelligent seat adjustability for luggage or people, a comfortable ride, and a very modern and contemporary interior. Honda’s rock solid engineering and indestructible engine quality comes as a given too. So let’s buckle up and take this big Honda hatch on a ride, giving it a chance to justify its price.

Honda Jazz X introduction
Honda Jazz X engine and transmission
Honda Jazz X design and style
Honda Jazz X Features, Interiors and Cabin Comfort
Honda Jazz X Ride, Handling and Driving Dynamics
Honda Jazz: summing it up
Honda Jazz X Specifications and features list
Honda Jazz X image gallery


Honda Jazz Engine, Gearbox and Performance

Internationally, the Jazz is available with a variety of engine options. However, for India, Honda chose to bring the 1.2-litre i-VTEC gasoline engine so as to avail the excise duty cut. Now, 1.2-litre may not sound like a lot of cee cees, but like all VTEC engines, even this power plant packs in quite a punch for its size. This 1198cc engine produces 90 PS of peak power at 6200bhp and peak torque of 110Nm produced at 4800 rpm. Both these figures are the highest in the 1.2-litre class, and by a good margin. This makes the Honda Jazz the quickest car in the 1.2-litre engine bracket, with a 0-100km/h sprint timing of 13.5 seconds.
This delightfully powerful and smooth engine is mated to a five speed manual transmission which itself is an absolute joy to operate. Quite honestly, the shift action and the smoothness of the Jazz gearbox, with its short throw and fluid movement is comparable to the most sophisticated and expensive cars available on the planet. It’s easily the benchmark that the rest of the pack will have to match up to – and trust us it’d be a tall order.
Coming back to the engine, it’s the smoothest and the most silent power plants that you would ever come across in a hatchback in India. It’s utterly difficult to make out whether the engine is running from within the cabin. In fact, that’s a situation where you’d end up utilizing the tacho most number of times in this car. Another interesting fact about the Honda 1.2 i-VTEC is that unlike the DOHC configuration of the competitors’ engine, this one employs an SOHC (Single Over Head Camshaft). The single shaft manages all 16 valves impeccably well, and even shuts one intake valve per cylinder down below 2100rpm. The idea here is to increase the pressure of the intake air at low rpms, and enhance low end response.

The ploy really seems to have worked in this case. The Jazz is responsive and urgent from idling rpms. It pulls without a whimper from the bottom of the rev-range – there’s no spluttering or coughing, just seamless progressive power, without any noise, cabin boom or vibrations. The engine tends to get a tad lethargic around the mid range (3000-4500), where it prompts you to shift if you are looking for that brisk acceleration. However, once past the 5000 rpm, the VTEC comes into its element and reaches it 6500rpm limit within no time.
An ARAI certified fuel efficiency figure of 16.70kmpl isn’t too far behind the class leading 18+ figure delivered by the Chevy Beat. It looks even more impressive going by the fact that the power and torque figures of the Jazz are far superior to any other car in the engine segment. All in all, Jazz’s 1.2 i-VTEC delivers reassuringly well on every count, and is complemented equally well by its wonderful gearbox. Full points to Honda on this count.

Honda Jazz X introduction
Honda Jazz X engine and transmission
Honda Jazz X design and style
Honda Jazz X Features, Interiors and Cabin Comfort
Honda Jazz X Ride, Handling and Driving Dynamics
Honda Jazz: summing it up
Honda Jazz X Specifications and features list
Honda Jazz X image gallery

Honda Jazz X Design and Style

The Jazz isn’t exactly a sensational head turner, but it looks nice and sporty with its balanced proportions and handsome lines. The Jazz is the epitome of practicality and space enhancement where every bit on the car has been designed to augment comfort and maximize cabin space. Be it the big windows to allow the maximum amount of light in, or the rear window quarter panel adding its own bit to the cause – the Jazz reeks function. Even the front window is extender towards the bonnet with a glass quarter panel to let that extra light come in and enhance the airy feel within.

The stubby nose is accentuated by a bulge on the bonnet, and is flanked by two large triangular headlamps. The cute grille has a smiley face. The body colour slat carrying the Honda emblem used to be a mesh earlier, and the inclusion is exclusive to the Jazz X variant only. The pair of fog lamps below the front grille, flanking the air dam is also a new inclusion on the Jazz X. There are no offensive or loud lines on the profile as well, with only a subtle crease running across the two doors via the handles. The area around the rear wheel arches is rather beefy, with a straight-ish line emerging out from there and going halfway into the front door. All this to lend some athleticism to the huge surface area in profile, which otherwise may have looked a tad too lardy and boring.  The newly incorporated 5-spoke titanium finish alloy wheels (only on Jazz X) further add to the sporty and agile look of the car.

The rear windscreen doesn’t bend forwards like a conventional hatch – again a trick to enhance cabin space. The tail-lamps are rather simplistic, and flank a black slat holding the Honda badge at the rear. The tail gate has complex, angular creases emanating from around the number plate bay area, and extending into the bumper and towards the tail-lights. The rear end of the Jazz, as compared with the rest of the car is more complex, yet manages to looks sophisticated and neat.

Overall, the Jazz is a very evolved design, implying improvisation to accommodate function. It’s got a sophisticated, European feel to it. It isn’t overly snazzy like the Chevrolet Beat (although that sort of a treatment would have gone very well with the name), but has its own flavor of vibrancy. It’s lively, but without crossing the borders of subtlety.

Honda Jazz X Features, Interiors and Cabin Comfort

The Jazz, as we pointed out earlier, has its unrelenting focus on cabin space and comfort. Just have a look at its big doors that open wide, the big windows and the stubby front and you’d know that a lot of thought has gone into the design. The engineers at Honda have shifted the fuel tank to the middle of this car to liberate space from under the rear seats. Step inside, and all the hard work and thought makes itself amply evident. The Jazz’s cabin looks like a well-lit, airy, plush and expansive place.

And the story doesn’t just end at the space optimization. Once the Honda boffins were done with making sure that they had the maximum space enclosed within the Jazz’s monocoque, they implemented well thought-out ideas using quality materials. The Jazz’s cabin is filled to the brim with intelligent bits, each one of them reeking quality.  The ‘Magic Seats’ as the Jazz’s rear seats are called by the Honda guys, can be flipped flat with one hand to form a flat bed. The resultant space will be in addition to the massive 366-litres boot which is enough to keep your suitcase with a week’s worth of clothes and grub when you plan to go out on a road trip. The original Jazz lacked a parcel tray, but the Jazz X comes equipped with one, so it’s easier to toss those small items over your shoulder, and collect them later without having to open the tail-gate.

Then there are plenty of cubbyholes, including as many as 10 cupholders. There is space to store small items below the centre console and the passenger side dashboard flips open to allow extra storage space apart from the glove box below. Some front passengers, however, complain of the glove box lid rubbing against their shins while travelling long distances.

The Jazz shares its steering wheel and the instrument console with the City. But everywhere else within the cabin, you can witness the Jazz’s own identity which is plusher, richer and more ergonomic than its saloon cousin. The quality of plastics and the equipment levels within the cabin are decidedly better than the City. The centre console looks better, has much superior quality and more ergonomic controls and boasts of better functionality as well. The Jazz’s music system always used to play CDs (unlike the City’s which only plays through USB drives), now the Jazz X also has a port for USB and Aux-in. Steering mounted audio controls come as standard, and the fit and finish across the cabin, including the quality of materials feels better than the City. One may find it surprising, but in markets like Thailand, the Jazz is a more expensive car than the City.

The front seats are wide and comfy, and provide great support to the back. The bucket seats have a deep recess, and you sit ‘in’ the seat, and not ‘on’ it. Some may just love those contours, but others, of the more orthodox taste may not relish the overly sporty seats. The Jazz X comes with driver-side seat height adjustment, a feature which wasn’t available with the earlier Jazz models.

At the rear, you experience knee-room and comfort which you would not have experienced in any other hatchback in the Indian market. There’s acres of space, not just for your knees, but also for your shoulders. The Jazz can comfortably seat five without the rear occupants having to take turns for who rests his shoulder on the backrest, with the other occupant having to sit erect to make space. The headroom too, apart from the legroom is abundant and the Jazz can seat six-footers with ease.

The cabin, on the move is a silent and tranquil place to be in, although the tyre noise makes itself more evident than normal owing to the super-silent engine. As a whole, the Jazz’s cabin is by far the most luxurious and spacious than in any other Indian hatchback.

Honda Jazz X introduction
Honda Jazz X engine and transmission
Honda Jazz X design and style
Honda Jazz X Features, Interiors and Cabin Comfort
Honda Jazz X Ride, Handling and Driving Dynamics
Honda Jazz: summing it up
Honda Jazz X Specifications and features list
Honda Jazz X image gallery

Honda Jazz X Ride, Handling and Driving Dynamics

The Jazz’s suspension has been raised and slightly stiffened on the Indian version. Still, the feeling at the steering wheel is not that of a taut, well planted, and impeccably sure footed machine. This Honda, even with all its virtues isn’t the best handler. Cars like the Polo, the Fabia and even the Figo inspire more confidence while hurling them around a set of sumptuous bends. The steering feel of the Jazz is incredibly smooth and light, and one never wants to let go of it while in the city. On the highway, however, it lacks the tactility of say, the Swift’s wheel, although it’s not entirely dead. There is a reasonable amount of road and steering angle information flowing into the palms, but not to an extent where it would delight the enthusiast.

There is a good bit of body roll as well, which again, isn’t quite the case with the Jazz’s German and Czech counterparts in this segment. Having said all that, the Jazz never had any overly sporty pretensions, and it’s always been considered a practical and comfortable car, with its focus being more on ferrying mortals than behaving like a roller coaster around corners. If you are an out-an-out driving enthusiast, the jazz isn’t probably the car for you even with its potent, peppy engine.

The Jazz, however, does a good job of flattening undulations out on the notorious Indian roads, and takes the rough in its stride rather well. That said the Jazz still isn’t the class benchmark for ride quality.  The Figo, and even the Polo soak the jarring Indian potholes better.

Honda Jazz X introduction
Honda Jazz X engine and transmission
Honda Jazz X design and style
Honda Jazz X Features, Interiors and Cabin Comfort
Honda Jazz X Ride, Handling and Driving Dynamics
Honda Jazz: summing it up
Honda Jazz X Specifications and features list
Honda Jazz X image gallery


Honda Jazz X : Summing it up

The Jazz, without a doubt is the most accomplished petrol powered family hatchback in the country today, in its class. It’s the most powerful in its class, the most spacious, offers the best quality cabin, has the smoothest engine-transmission combo, offers great fuel efficiency and is very comfortable too. To top that all up, it comes fairly kitted up, and the Jazz X version has addressed some of the common grouses that people had with the original version.
However, the problem is the price at which it comes. The price tag of 9 lakh rupees alone is good enough to turn away ninety percent of the customers looking to buy a new hatchback away. It’s as expensive as the Honda City, a car which itself isn’t an economical option in its segment by any stretch of the imagination. Even with all its great virtues, the sticker price is a little too much to ask for from the utterly price conscious Indian customer, if you wish to do any substantial numbers that is.

And there you have you answer. The Jazz is strictly not a car for the value seeker. And it’s not that Honda don’t realize that. In fact they don’t want to do very high volumes with the Jazz, and are happy with the monthy 800-1000 numbers that the big hatch does for them. They know that there is a certain class of customers who are looking for certain qualities in their car, and the Jazz fits the bill perfectly for them. It’s a class above your regulation hatchback, and makes the fact very evident to the people who have the money to spare for those qualities. These are people who aren’t value conscious at all. They want a comfortable, stylish and feature packed machine, probably as a second car, or as a gift to their wives. And the Jazz, as I have seen in many such cases, is the only car they settle for.
You may still find those arguments irrational, but the Jazz is cute, it’s comfy, it’s upmarket, and it’s a Honda. No wonder it’s got its way with ladies. And that, my friends is a point where rationale and sensibilities may afford to go into hibernation, if you know what I mean….

Honda Jazz X introduction
Honda Jazz X engine and transmission
Honda Jazz X design and style
Honda Jazz X Features, Interiors and Cabin Comfort
Honda Jazz X Ride, Handling and Driving Dynamics
Honda Jazz: summing it up
Honda Jazz X Specifications and features list
Honda Jazz X image gallery

Honda Jazz X Specifications and Features List

Exterior features
Alloy Wheels
Body Colored Bumpers
Front Fog Lamps
Body Colored Tail Gate Spoiler
Body Colored Front Grille
Body Colored Outside Rear View Mirrors
Body Colored Door Handles
Halogen Lights
Green Glass
Rear Micro Antenna
Mud Flaps

Interior Features
Interior Colour Titan / Black Titan / Black Blue
Black Integrated Audio with AM/FM CD MP3 + Aux in + USB Port
Steering Mounted Audio Control
Front & Rear Speakers
Auto Volume by Speed
Magic Seats
Rear Seat (60:40 split)
Seat Back Pocket (Passenger Side)
Inside Door Handle Color
Rear Parcel Tray

Safety and Security
Dual Front SRS Airbags
ABS with Brake Assist
EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution)
G-CON (G Force Control Technology)
ECU Immobilizer
Front Seatbelt Pre-tensioner with Load Limiter
Driver Seat Belt Reminder
Driver Side Auto Pinch Guard
Day/Night Side Rear View Mirror
Rear Windshield Defogger
Rear Wiper
High Mount Stop Lamp
Full Size Spare Tyre

Convenience Features

Air Conditioner with Heater
Tilt Steering Column
Drive by Wire
Keyless Entry with Answer Back
Driver Seat Height Adjuster
Power Door Lock
Power Door Mirror
Power Windows Front & Rear
Front Power Window Auto Up & Down (Driver)
Dual Glove Box
Instrument Panel Pockets
Front and Rear Console Pockets
Front and Rear door Lining Pockets
Driver and Passenger Vanity Mirror
Average Fuel Consumption Display
Instant Fuel Consumption Display
Distance to Empty Range
Headlight Height Adjuster
Front Seat Belt Height Adjuster
Front & Rear Seat Adjustable Headrest
Key Alarm
Headlight Alarm
Foot Rest
Accessory Socket
Coat Hanger

Specifications

ENGINE
Type: SOHC i-VTEC   No of Cylinders 4   No. of Valves 16   Displacement (cc) 1198
Power: 90PS @ 6200rpm
Torque: 110Nm@ 4800rpm
Fuel Supply System: PGM – Fi
Fuel Efficiency: (ARAI Certified) 16.7 kmpl
TRANSMISSION:  Manual Five Forward, One Reverse
STEERING: Type Collapsible Electric, Power Assisted   Turning Radius (m) 4.9
BRAKE SYSTEM: Front Disc   Rear Drum
SUSPENSION SYSTEM Front McPherson Strut   Rear Torsion Beam Axle
DIMENSION & WEIGHT
Overall Length (mm) 3900
Overall Width (mm) 1695
Overall Height (mm) 1535
Wheelbase (mm) 2500
Tread (Front / Rear) (mm) 1490/1475
Ground Clearence (mm) 160
Kerb Weight (kg) 1055 (Jazz, Jazz Select);1060 (Jazz X)
Tyre Size 175/65 R15 84T
Fuel Tank Capacity (lts) 42
Seating Capacity 5

Honda Jazz X introduction
Honda Jazz X engine and transmission
Honda Jazz X design and style
Honda Jazz X Features, Interiors and Cabin Comfort
Honda Jazz X Ride, Handling and Driving Dynamics
Honda Jazz: summing it up
Honda Jazz X Specifications and features list
Honda Jazz X image gallery

Honda Jazz X Image Gallery


Interior and Detail Images
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Exteriors and Motion Shots
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Honda Jazz X introduction
Honda Jazz X engine and transmission
Honda Jazz X design and style
Honda Jazz X Features, Interiors and Cabin Comfort
Honda Jazz X Ride, Handling and Driving Dynamics
Honda Jazz: summing it up
Honda Jazz X Specifications and features list
Honda Jazz X image gallery


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