Images : Chirag Mondal
Goa gets beautiful by this time of the year, with the scattered rainfall keeping the leeching tourists at bay. As sun and rain played hide and seek, we sampled Honda India’s latest offering in the premium hatchback segment – the new Jazz.
Internationally, the name Jazz has been borne by about 5.5 million units by Honda, since it was introduced in 2001. Out of 75 countries it did business in, the Jazz ran out of luck of India after a good run, for being too overconfidently priced for its own good.
The abrupt and significant reduction in the prices of the car towards the end of its life cycle also irked some of the buyers who felt shortchanged witnessing other buyers getting the car for almost INR 1.5 lakh less.
Since then the game has changed. Led by the Hyundai’s Elite i20 and VW’s Polo, Indians are slowly warming up to premium hatchbacks. So, in times like these, Honda thought fit to have another crack at segment. In comes the all-new, second generation Jazz.
The Jazz elevates its contemporary self further with this generation, and adds a wealth of updates to its traditionally good competency. While the petrol engine, now shared with the Brio and Amaze, carries on, a much needed diesel engine option has been included this time around, borrowed from the City. Also, the former can now be had with an automatic transmission.
Funk, space and versatility gets duly updated too, with the new Jazz being longer and more spacious than its predecessor. Based on Honda’s new B-segment platform, the new Jazz shares its underpinnings with the HR-V, as well as the City.
The new Jazz looks well-proportioned and smart, with its mono-volume mass (“Crossfade Monoform” in Honda speak), which aims to maximize interior space.The design follows an evolutionary approach, with Honda’s new styling philosophy embracing the Jazz.
Like on most modern, family hauling Hondas, headlamps and grille are now fused into one single design element.Elements on the grille are region specific, and the Indian version gets a meaty, black, Honda logo bearing rib running across.
A streak of chrome at the bottom of the grille expresses things more sparklingly. Slim headlamps look good and taper inwards when they hit the grille. The front bumper is well sculpted, and features a massive intake in its midst, with large, deep recesses for the fog lamps on either sides.
Giving company to the round fog lamps are blanked out spaces for DRL strips, something that the European Jazz has to offer. The top and mid variants of the Jazz ride on 15 inch, five spoke alloy wheels with a twin spoke design.Wrapped around them are a set of 175/65 tires, while the lower variants get to do with 175/70 tires and 14 inch steel rims.
The sides are visually heavy, and the girth is broken by a deep gash of a character line which subtly starts from the front wheel arch, and ends in a flourish, merging into the blocky, 3D effect, LED tail lamps. The rear bumper mirrors that of the front, with a couple of large, faux intakes at either ends.
A thick slice of chrome bridges the tail lamps, while the prominent, high mounted roof mounted spoiler on the highest variant sticks out by a fair bit. The rear screen is flanked by a couple of slim reflectors, and reminds one of contemporary Volvo crossovers and SUVs.
At 3955 mm long, 1694 mm wide and 1544 mm high, the new Jazz is 55 mm longer than its predecessor, but has identical width and height. Wheelbase gets stretched to 2530 mm, an increase of 30 mm over the last generation Jazz.
The new Jazz is available in 7 colors in total; 5 basic and 2 character colors; Sunset Orange being the halo shade.
>>Next page for interiors and details
With a lengthier wheelbase, the new Jazz is endowed with more interior passenger space (leg, shoulder and headroom in the front and rear), as compared to its predecessor. To put it in numbers, overall passenger volume is up by 139 liters, front shoulder room has increased by 135 mm, rear tandem distance is up by 80 mm, knee clearance is up by 65 mm and rear leg legroom has shot up by 115 mm.
Honda’s new B-segment platform employs efficient packaging solutions. A lower-profile fuel tank mounted under the front seats frees up under floor space beneath the rear seats, enabling the platform to accommodate Honda’s new trick for the Jazz– the flexible Magic Seats system, available only on the top-end variant.
Each of the 60:40 split Magic Seats in the rear can adopt numerous configurations to maximize the versatility of the spacious interior. The four configuration modes are Utility Mode, Tall Mode, Long Mode and one with the most spoils – the Refresh Mode.
In Refresh Mode, the rear seats now also allow one to form a recliner by pushing the front seat backrests fully till it meets the rear seat base. Another segment first feature is the adjustable rear backrest, again, available only on the top end variant.
Boot space has been increased to 354 litres with the rear seats in use and an impressive 881 litres with the rear seats down.
The interior evokes a familiar feel, with the entire dashboard being borrowed from the City. The seating position is relatively high, while the tilt-adjustable steering column is also positioned on the higher side. The wheel itself is chunky and feels great to hold, and also hosts controls for the music and telephony.
Peering through the steering is the “3-eye” instrument cluster, a three pod affair, lit in cool blue. The speedometer takes center stage, and is flanked by the tachometer to the left. The rims of the speedometer glow, and colors change from green, to blue-green, to blue, based on one’s driving style – something that Honda calls EcoAssist lighting.
Apart from a fuel indicator, a clock, a trip meter and an engine temperature indicator, the pod on the right packs a digital fuel efficiency indicator, which basically outputs real time efficiency figures based on throttle inputs.
As with most cab-forward designs, one has to deal with blind spots as the A-pillars frequently run across your line of sight, especially at crossroads, which can be quite unnerving at times.
The minimalistic center console is angled towards the driver, and bears a classy piano black façade. Don’t go out looking for knobs to turn up the cool, because the top-end variant gets the swanky, City sourced touch screen controls for the climate control, as well as steering-mounted buttons for audio and telephone functions.
The new Jazz features an audio system with a 5 inch LCD screen, which also shows footage from the handy rear camera. Integrated with the system is a hands free telephone system, with controls mounted on the steering wheel. The system also supports USB, aux-in and MP3 player connectivity.
Higher variants benefit from abigger 6.2 inch touchscreenAVN (Audio Visual Navigation) infotainment system with DVD playback. Interior storage is plentiful, with the new Jazz having as many as nine cup holders and more than a few cubbyholes.
The front seats are supportive and offer excellent comfort; with enough room all around. The rear isn’t as bad either, with generous room for the head and feet, thanks to the efficient packaging and design. While top variants get black upholstery in the seats, the others are upholstered in beige.
Everything has been rather nicely put together, and emit trademark Honda levels of quality. The hard touch plastics that make up the dashboard feel nice and upmarket, while the brushed aluminum finished inserts, along with the piano black trim add class.
The H face.
Chrome elements called “side markers” adorn the headlamps.
Empty DRL slots.
The rear bumper design is a nod to the Honda NSX supercar, but things had to be toned down for obvious reasons.
Carefully hidden exhaust pipe.
ORVMs with integrated turn signals look like an UFO.
City sourced touch sensitive panel for the automatic climate control; works well.
Auto one touch up and down power windows.
The paddles shift gears with a resounding click.
The steering column is tilt adjustable, while other ergonomics are top notch.
Luggage space stands at 354 liters..
..but increases to a house like 881 liters with the rear seats stowed away.
>>Next page for engines, performance, ride, dynamics and verdict
Engines & Performance
The Jazz will launch with petrol and a diesel engine. The petrol engine is the 1.2-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder unit borrowed from the Brio and Amaze, while the diesel is the 1.5-liter i-DTEC also seen on other Honda cars in India. The diesel will come exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission whereas the petrol variant can either be had with a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) with paddle shifters.
The diesel engine delivers a maximum power of 100 PS at 3600 rpm, and a maximum torque of 200 Nm at 1750 rpm.
Claimed fuel efficiency stands for the Jazz diesel stands at an impressive 27.3 km/l. Honda says this figure has been attainable due to an offset oil supply crankshaft, use of low viscosity oil, and an overall reduction in friction, apart from other small applications in the motor that contribute to the cause.Emission levels have been contained by the low compression ratio (16.0), high swirl and head port and high intake flow.
The diesel engine is exclusively mated to an improved, lightweight and compact six-speed manual transmission.
Performance is carefully honed for tractability and making the power accessible throughout the band. The dirty fueled Jazz drives pragmatically, with a very predictable lay of performance, which arrives in a very linear fashion.
There is no in-gear, blower assisted rush or a discernable, grin inducing build of shove, neither is there lethargy. In fact, the torque curve beyond 2000 rpm is so flat, that even a bowling ball placed at the center will not roll on either direction.
Getting off the mark with some spirit, however, needs a generous prod on the accelerator, and the i-DTEC wakes up from its slumber, as the needle shows past the aforementioned figure. Cruising capabilities are effortless in the higher gears, with the engine ticking at a leisurely 2,500 rpm, and the fuel efficiency indicator throwing up promising figures.
The clutch action is light, and shifts on the six-speed manual transmission feel a bit gravelly and coarse. But that said, it feels quite mechanical and enjoyable, with the ratios being pleasingly spaced out, being a good mate to the engine.
Tractability and efficiency are the USPs of this motor – a sixth gear attests to that, outright performance being adequate for all intents and purposes.
Noise containment could have been better, as a noticeable amount of diesel clatter makes its way into the cabin, although Honda says that cabin quietness is the best in class.
The 1.2-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder petrol engine develops 90 PS at 6000 rpm and 110 Nm of torque at 4800 rpm. Mated to the CVT, the Jazz petrol promises a claimed, class-leading, fuel efficiency figure of 19 km/l, while the MT delivers 19.7 km/l.
More than the performance, it’s the CVT that demands attention. Designed to extract maximum efficiently, the CVT has a 19 percent wider ratio range and lightweight components, the latter making it 16 percent lighter than the standard five-speed manual transmission.
If driven hard, responsiveness is commendable, and it has surprisingly more alacrity than one’s average CVT. Something called the G-design shift adds to this cause. It employs control during kick down, enabling the box to select an optimum ratio when the given the beans – the box being neither too aggressive, nor too lazy, allowing for sustained acceleration.
Added involvement comes from the steering wheel mounted dual mode paddle shifters, and an additional S mode. The latter holds on to a gear till intervened with the application of the paddle shifters. If not, it automatically upshifts at about 6000 rpm to prevent overstressing the engine. .
The paddle shifters put to use the 7 ratios to make it feel like the CVT has gears and is more pleasant to drive fast rather than the engine just sitting at the one RPM. Though it behaves like a conventional automatic, the inherent, performance sapping rubber band effect can be felt seeping through the accelerator. The matte aluminum finished paddles shift ratios with a definitive click, and feel nice to the touch. Shift times are pretty quick, and make the experience quite enjoyable.
Though D mode is fully automatic, paddle shifters can be used to dictate upshifts and downshifts, especially on steep inclines and while descending a steep hill. Also, it makes things marginally more enjoyable than a regular CVT.
When compared to the diesel variant, the petrol powered Jazz feels incomparably well refined, with NVH levels being contained respectably well. Performance from the Brio sourced i-VTEC motor is dampened a tad due to the CVT, so don’t expect Brio like responses from the same.
Ride and dynamics
Suspension duties on the Jazz are handled by a strut type setup in the front and torsion beam setup at the rear – a similar arrangement had featured on the previous generation, but this time, it has a revised geometry and a completely new, lightweight design.
Up front, the setup allows an increased amount of caster trail, and features a low-friction stabilizer link, along with a thicker stabilizer bar. At the back, the damper mounting angle has changed, while rigidity of each section has been improved. All of this translates into a ride quality that is above average, and even at low speeds the Jazz quietly filters out bad roads with ease. The petrol version being lighter (at 1066 Kgs-CVT) rides a smidgen more firmly than the diesel version. Weight figures for the diesel variant haven’t been announced yet.
Stability and compliance at higher speeds is confident assuring, and encourages quick driving. Though we didn’t fling it around much, the Jazz also feels eager and agile enough in corners, in spite of a touch of a body roll. The ride and handling balance has been well perfected for its intended audience.
The new electric power steering offers decent feedback, as far as these types of setups go. It’s incredibly light at low speeds, well trained for intense urban usage. The higher limits of its capabilities were not reached in this test. Also, U-turns and small runabouts are dispatched with a turning radius of just 5.1 meters. The ABS assisted front disc and rear drum brakes drop anchor at the drop of a hat – no complaints here.
In terms of safety, the Jazz features a hood that is designed to absorb and reduce the impact for the unlucky pedestrian. For its occupants, it offers front seats with mitigating headrests which reduce the possibility of neck injury in rear impact at low speed.
Dual SRS airbags are there to save lives upfront, while ABS and EBD ensure that the Jazz stops in the shortest distance possible. Besides the new Jazz also employs an Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure, which, according to Honda, enhances self-protection while mitigating damage to other vehicles.
The new Honda Jazz is an extremely competitive package wrapped around a fresh dose of evolutionary style. The diesel variant is a methodical runabout, with a frugal engine offering linear and tractable performance. However, in-cabin engine noise should have been contained better. Think of it largely as a Honda City i-DTEC sans a boot, but with added practicality, versatility and more efficiency.
The extremely refined petrol variant with the responsive CVT makes a strong point for itself too, especially in town. Pure performance is marred by the inherent rubber band effect, but it does away with having to row a gearbox in sticky traffic, something that its intended clientele wants. The paddle shifters certainly makes things playful. Both ride and handle with poise as well, and are comfortable places to be in.
In terms of interior space and versatility, the new Jazz has it covered by cavernous innards, the ingenious Magic Seats system and generous interior storage space. Quality all around is top-notch too, and if the claimed fuel efficiency figures are anything to go by, things in the premium hatchback space will start to get interesting. The new Jazz will be sold in 12 variants, with the petrol version missing out on the top-end VX trim, along with the Magic Seats system. Prices and variant specific details will be announced at launch.
To be manufactured at Honda’s Rajasthan facility, the new Jazz benefits from more than 90 percent localization; up by 72 percent from the preceding generation. While prices start from a reasonable INR 5.30 lakh for the basic petrol variant, the top-end diesel variant retails for a rather lofty INR 8.59 lakh, dearer by a lakh rupees from its arch rival – the Hyundai Elite i20. Now the i20 is wonderfully packaged and equipped, and easily one of the segment leaders, but the price not withstanding, we believe that Jazz is the more polished, refined (petrol), stylish (subjective) and practical choice.
All New 3rd Generation Honda Jazz Prices – (Ex-Showroom Delhi)
|E : 530,900|
S : 594,000
SV : 644,900
V : 679,900
VX : 729,000
S CVT : 699,000
V CVT : 785,000
|E : 649,900|
S : 714,000
SV : 764,900
V : 809,900
VX : 859,000
Honda Jazz Image Gallery