Premium hatchbacks have defied the general consensus of bigger is better, a rare reality in the size conscious Indian car market. Honda was first to bring in a premium hatchback with the second gen Jazz last decade, the vehicle being the most expensive hatchback at that time. A facelift and a massive price correction did no wonders and the Jazz continued to do rather poorly on the sales chart, leading to its ultimate discontinuation. Honda India pulled the plug on the Jazz a couple of years back so it could focus on mass market products like the Amaze and now with the compact sedan doing well, the big Honda hatch is making a return. The Jazz is a very successful product for Honda, the company having sold more than 5.5 million units across 75 countries, with 11 countries producing the vehicle. So why should we sit up and take notice? Because in its last outing, the Jazz did not have a diesel mill, it was also lower on local content but this time around, the Earth Dreams oil burner finds its way to the Jazz (India is the sole country in the world were a diesel Jazz exists as Europe doesn’t get it and no diesel Jazz exports will be done by Honda India) and the vehicle has more than 90% localisation! Check for review & price of Honda cars
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
The Honda Jazz 2016 is based on the new Honda City and is 55mm longer than the previous generation. Honda internally calls this design as Crossfade Monoform design. The fascia of the Honda Jazz 2016 resembles the Honda City. It has a similar front grille, though it doesn’t get the chrome finish. Honda is targeting the Honda Jazz 2016 for the youth or those you prefer trendy styling over subtle. The headlamps are single barrel and the front bumpers are different from the City.
The side profile of the Honda Jazz 2016 is a lot similar to the previous generation as it still retains the same design philosophy like the quarter glass panel, blacked out pillars and the large glass-in area. The tail lamps and rear styling too remind you of the previous Jazz, but it does look fresh with LED tail lamps. Check Price of Jazz
INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;
Open the large doors and an all black theme welcomes you. They do instill a sense of Deja Vu as the cabin borrows heavily from the Honda City. The centre console sits at the focus, and it comes with a very neat assortment of buttons and switches. The piano black finish for the entire console brings a premium aura to the entire cabin. We’re sure that you’ll love the 6.2-inch touch screen that is incorporated into the console, and a noteworthy point is that it comes along with DVD playback, navigation and can play music from a host of inputs.
Arranged right beneath this is a feather-touch climate control screen, with controls spread out right underneath it. While it does look cool and futuristic, operating it on the go is a bit of a bother. While we have no complaints on the performance of the air-conditioning, we have to point out that the fan is awfully loud.Integrated into the centre console, in front of the gear-knob are two cup holders. Three more storage slots have been put in place of the armrest, and this may go as a strong bonus for some, and a slash in comfort for others.
The steering wheel is just the right size and feels good to hold. However, it skips out on telescopic adjustment (VW Polo has it). The wheel is shared with the Honda City. The difference, notably, is the lack of cruise control buttons. The basic audio controls have been incorporated into the left, while the telephone buttons are placed behind the wheel.As for the instrument cluster, the dials lack the illuminated blue rings that you’d find in the City. The three-pod instrument cluster house the tachometer, speedometer and a multi-information display (MID). The MID reads out trip details and average fuel efficiency. The pod also houses an instantaneous FE meter, a readout for the outside temperature and the fuel gauge.
There is decent amount of bolstering for lateral support. Even people with heftier builds will have little reason to complain here. Cushioning is adequate and the seat also gets height adjustment. Getting into a comfortable driving position is not a big task, although a telescopic adjust on the steering wheel would have made it much easier. The rear bench is amongst the most spacious in its segment. Sitting three abreast is possible. Knee room and headroom are amongst the best in its class. A noteworthy feature is that the rear bench can recline by a couple of degrees to the back. For someone who dislikes the upright seating posture, the reclined posture keeps the lower back a lot happier.The Jazz also gets something Honda chooses to call ‘Magic Seats’. The rear bench can be folded in multiple combinations, enabling the user to tailor space according to his/her needs. A segment exclusive feature, which is sadly restricted to the top-variants.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
Under the stubby hood of the Jazz one can find either the popular 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol or the relatively new 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel motor. While the former is available with either a 5-speed manual or a CVT automatic, the diesel car gets a 6-speed manual similar to that of the new City. Starting with the petrol motor, this 1.2-litre unit is a familiar unit, previously seen in a range of Honda models including the Brio, the Amaze and even the old Jazz. Known for its refined nature and strong mid-range grunt, it produces 90bhp of power and 110Nm of torque, and in the new Jazz it retains those characteristics. During our stint behind the wheel, the petrol-powered Jazz felt fairly satisfying (if not thrilling) to drive, although I was bound to rev its absolute nuts off to make quick progress. Interestingly, the same engine in the Brio feels much stronger thanks to the car’s significantly less kerb weight. As for the gearbox, the 5-speed manual is also a familiar unit and like before, is a treat to go through the gears. Going by the spike in demand for diesel cars, it’s the diesel-powered Jazz that, in all probability, will be Honda’s new big seller; powered by a 1.5-litre i-DTEC four cylinder motor, the diesel Jazz pushes out 100bhp of power and a meaty 200Nm of torque – familiar numbers for Amaze and City users. It’s the same unit which has received a lot of blow from the users for its harshness and keeping that in mind, Honda says it has invested in additional noise and vibration absorption techniques to reduce NVH levels. So has it worked? Yes, to an extent. However, it is still not as refined as say a diesel Hyundai Elite i20 and the diesel clatter is evident nearly all the time. Honda, though, fights back with a stronger midrange and a comparatively linear power delivery than most vehicles in its class including the VW Polo GT TDI and the Elite i20.
As far as fuel efficiency goes, Honda is claiming up to 27.3 kmpl for the diesel Jazz, making it one of the most fuel efficient hatchbacks on sale today. However, we couldn’t better 16kmpl during our stint with the car, although it was mainly down to our heavy right foot and the fact that our test route included a lot of negotiating through traffic. The impressive figure, no doubt, was aided by the smooth shifting 6-speed manual gearbox which uses a slightly different set of ratios compared to the City.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The ride quality of Honda Jazz 2016 is good and is also an improvement over earlier Hondas. It does a good job of absorbing the bumps. The Michelin Energy Saving tyres help to increase the fuel efficiency of the Honda Jazz 2016, however, they aren’t that sticky on the road. The handling of the Jazz is good. This along with the peppiness of the diesel, is a great combination. The steering feedback is excellent and it weighs up well. This is indeed one of the much better electronic power steerings in the market.
The front passengers are shielded with the presence of dual airbags. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) are offered as well. Along with this, you also get a rear parking camera, front fog lamps, driver seatbelt reminder, rear windshield defogger and an immobiliser.
We Indians are hatchback crazy. It’s no secret that we simply cannot get enough of their practicality, ease of use or the low running costs and a few other distinct advantages that they have over sedans or SUVs. Needless to say, carmakers are well-versed with this trend and have actively introduced new and improved products over the years. And although a similar movement is taking place in the flourishing compact crossover space, it’s the hatchbacks that continue to demand a lot of time and effort from established carmakers. Honda, for one, is making all the right noises with the Jazz. The new Jazz certainly looks the part, has a versatile cabin with loads of space and for the first time – the efficiency of a diesel motor. It’s still not an enthusiast’s choice but that’s passable because it’s not what Honda was looking to make here. The Jazz is all about practicality and you get plenty of it.