HONDA JAZZ EX: boosting the appeal for a younger audience

HONDA are trying hard to move the Jazz away from the elderly ownership profile it has enjoyed for many a year and make it a more attractive proposition to those with less years on the clock.

Whether they succeed will be mirrored in the sales figures, but they seem to be giving it a good chance.

The latest fourth generation offering – it’s been around here since 2002 – offers better economy, better connectivity and decent running costs.

Its new hybrid powertrain is efficient, backing up the common sense qualities that have attracted past buyers.

What hasn’t changed is its boxy shape, which has been tweaked cosmetically but remains loyal to the original. Unassuming, some might say, still with that shrunken SUV look and not something that stands out in a crowded car park.

It has a long list of rivals – VW Polo, SEAT Ibiza, Ford Fiesta (for the time being), Renault Clio, Hyundai i20 to name a few from a long, long list, and it comes with a relatively high price tag.

Jazz has decent equipment levels across four model grades from the entry-level SE, the mid-spec SR, then EX and top-of-the-range EX Style.

Top-spec EX versions come with heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and sat-nav, as well as rear privacy glass and 16-inch alloy wheels, while the EX Style, a sampled here, adds black exterior trim and a two-tone roof.

Honda’s i-MMD (Intelligent Multi Mode Drive) hybrid set-up is similar to Toyota’s Yaris supermini, consisting of a four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and a pair of electric motors all linked to a CVT auto transmission. One of the motors helps with direct propulsion, while the other converts energy from the petrol engine into electricity which can be used straightaway or stored in the car’s lithium-ion battery.

To make the most of the hybrid set-up, and to satisfy those who take a more technical view of car ownership,Jazz has three driving modes: EV mode runs the car solely on electric power, when moving off from a standstill or travelling at low speed. In Hybrid Drive, the petrol engine and electric motor work together to achieve the best power and fuel economy, and Engine Drive mode at cruising speeds relies solely on the petrol engine.

The old CVT transmission has gone, replaced by the new e-CVT. Most of the time refinement is good, but harder acceleration gets it revving its little Japanese nuts off, but it’s all much more acceptable that the previous CVT box.

The Jazz interior design has a new classier look, with a new 7-inch digital driver display and 9-inch CONNECT touchscreen. It’s simple and clearly laid out, though there is a big expanse of plastic dash top in front of you.

Visibility is good, the A pillar now a bit slimmer, but the next one aft can be a bit of a hindrance when parking.


Honda Jazz EX Style

Price: £26,850 (£27,050 as tested)
Engine: 1.5 litre, four cylinder, petrol
Power: 96bhp
Torque: 186lb/.ft
Transmission: e-CVT
Top speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
Economy: 61.4mpg
CO2 emissions: 105g/km

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