June 26, 2017

HONDA JAZZ 1.4 EX-L: THE BIG SMALL CAR

Honda_Jazz_1.4_EX-L_review_writeonmotoring_1First launched in 2002, the Jazz 5 door supermini has always stuck to the winning formula of compact exterior dimensions with generous interior space and enviable reliability. Along with minor cosmetic changes including six new paint colours, this 2013 model benefits from increased comfort and reduced running costs, with both 1.2 and 1.4 petrol engines claiming over 50 mpg and emitting under 130 g/km of CO2. The combination of a big windscreen and high roofline make it easy to forget you’re in a supermini. There’s a comfortable amount of head and legroom for those up front and rear passengers aren’t short-changed either. Storage is another Jazz forte, with cup holders and cubbies dotted all around the cabin. The luggage area is also impressively flexible, with rear seat backs that fold completely flat revealing a cavernous 883 litre load bay, access to which is on par with an estate, thanks to the Jazz’s flat backed rear hatch door. Not forgetting the aptly named ‘Magic Seats’ – which at the pull of two levers – lift the rear seat bases flush with the seat backs, to maximize the rear footwell space for carrying taller items. Negatives include the quality and feel of some of the interior plastics, which are rather hard and shiny. The trim would also benefit from being relieved with some chrome or different colours, although instrumentation is attractively designed and clear. Those who get frustrated with complicated switchgear will enjoy the Jazz’s ergonomic simplicity; controls are positioned high on the dash, within easy reach. All models get electric front windows, height adjustable driver’s seat, remote keyless entry and ABS/traction control. This top end EX-L spec car boasts cruise and climate control, Bluetooth, panoramic glass roof and leather upholstery. Even the 1.4 litre engine isn’t quick by any stretch of the imagination; you have to wind it up to make decent progress, but this isn’t a chore, thanks to a slick 5 speed gearbox and light clutch. Under hard acceleration noise from the motor quickly increases, although it’s quite a pleasant sporty sound. The ride on this recently revamped Jazz is a marked improvement over the predecessor, being far less unsettled than before with greater suppleness. Dynamically the Jazz feels a bit dull – although always competent, secure and stable. Once on faster roads and motorways, road and wind noise begin to intrude, but this isn’t an issue at lower speeds. Around town and on urban roads, the combination of excellent visibility, elevated driving position, light steering and smooth throttle make the Honda an absolute breeze to place on the road. Verdict: Although still lacking some dynamic sparkle, the Jazz remains one of the most practical and versatile small cars on the market, with space rivalling some MPVs. Recent revisions have brought about improvements to both comfort and efficiency, making this the best incarnation of Honda’s supermini yet. Tech spec: Honda Jazz 1.4 i-VTEC EX-L OTR Price: £16,875 Max power 99 PS @ 6000 rpm Max torque 127Nm @ 4800 rpm 0-62 mph: 11.8 seconds CO2 emissions: g/km) 129 Claimed combined mpg: 50.4    
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