The Honda Jazz is a venerable premium hatchback that has garnered a cult following in India due to its versatility and the sheer brand value of the Honda badge. Thus for its second innings in the country, Indian automobile website MotorBeam.com inducted the hatchback in its long term fleet.
The third generation Honda Jazz is considered a thinking man's premium hatchback, who prefers space and foldable rear seats over stylish headlamps and curved wheel arches.
But in a country like India, the looks of a vehicle are only second in order of importance after fuel efficiency figures.
Hence the Jazz, despite its Honda badge smugness, is a distant third in sales figures, behind the Hyundai Elite i20 and Maruti Suzuki Baleno. But if one looks over the bulky exteriors of the vehicle and the price, things are a little bit different.
The exterior of the vehicle is typically Honda, where function is given precedence over form. The unmistakable MPV like silhouette of the Jazz generate mixed responses from people, who either like the styling and appreciate the space it offers or simply term it as an egg on wheels. Our long term Honda Jazz is the top-spec VX model and car’s sufficiently orange colour does look eye catchy.
The interior of the car is the real USP of the vehicle. There are just acres of space on the inside and the flexi-luggage options are such a boon.
The Jazz VX trim gets a touch-screen infotainment system with all kinds of connectivity, but it certainly isn't the best one out there due to laggy touch responses and broken Bluetooth audio calling.
Other than that, very well sorted out ergonomics and the practicality theme running through the car, such as the number of cubby holes near the handbrake which can give your cupboard a run for its money, make this vehicle the most sensible family hatchback in the market.
The rear 'Magic Seats' are a different story altogether. Honda used some mechanical witchcraft to make the seats fold in the most practical way possible so that one can carry a huge load of stuff without a fuss, including a cycle.
The front seat reclines all the way down to join the rear seat, making it a bed of sorts. But the car for its price feels a bit spartan in terms of equipment levels such as the missing keyless entry, push button start and auto locking doors.
The Honda Jazz is powered by the 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel unit that generates 100 PS of power, while mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The NVH levels are acceptable but fall short considerably when compared to its rivals.
The engine redline comes in fast at just a shade above 4000 RPM, but the car is able to achieve its top speed of 170 km/hr without much trouble. Lag is almost non-existent and that makes driving in the city such a breeze.
The ride and handling balance package on this car is a real matured setup in a typical Honda fashion, along with the steering wheel which feels so rich in feel that you fall in love with it.
But the grip from the low rolling resistance pizza-cutter tyres needs to be better, especially in the monsoons. One can easily extract 20-plus km/l fuel efficiency numbers and those with a sedate driving style will be happy to post a thoroughly impressive 22-24 km/l.
At the end of the day, the Honda Jazz seems to be a smart, spacious, adequately equipped and reliable mode of transport which will surely gobble up anything the owner throws into it.
We do see a lesser number of Honda Jazz cars on roads than we hoped, largely due to a plain-jane styling and not-so-premium feeling from the car - features which are of prime importance in this segment. But live with the car and you know why 'Nothing else is a Jazz'.