Jazz has been a name used by Honda on a variety of vehicles and for some time we have come to know it on their city car.
However, as I discovered after a week behind the wheel, this spacious little number from Honda was equally at ease cruising on motorways and down fast rural roads. I had expected it to be simply an ideal mode of transport for the city dweller; instead it coped with all of the drive situations which I encountered. Back in 2001, the Jazz as we have come to know, first appeared and the current model is celebrating the fourth generation milestone and with each new generation Honda have worked to improve it in all aspects.
Built around an all new design and powertrain you will not fail to recognise the fourth generation model; clean, uncluttered lines with a surprisingly spacious cabin. The heart of the matter is of course the engine, with 97PS to work with, rest to 100kph (62mph) comes up in a modest 9.4 seconds, while top speed is 174kph (108mph); this range of performance will certainly suit a wide band of customers.
Jazz employs e:HEV Hybrid technology which delivers range, performance and economy with low emissions. In electric drive mode this enables the Jazz to run on one hundred percent silent, electric power and this technology makes it more relevant than ever in today’s driving environment. The e:HEV system is newly developed for Jazz and engineered to deliver enjoyment to the driving experience. It comprises two energy-dense electric motors, a 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and an innovative fixed-gear transmission, which all work harmoniously together to deliver the best ratio of fuel economy I discovered in most city driving situations, optimum efficiency is achieved through seamless transitions between EV Drive and Hybrid Drive and for driving at motorway speeds, Engine Drive is used, supplemented by an on-demand peak power boost from the electric propulsion motor for fast acceleration. In Hybrid Drive, excess power from the engine can also be diverted to recharge the battery via the generator motor. EV Drive is also engaged when the Jazz is decelerating, this harvesting energy through what is descried as regenerative braking to recharge the battery. Allied to the powertrain is not a conventional transmission, but a newly developed e-CVT with a single fixed gear ratio which creates a direct connection between moving components. Unlike some CVTs I have tried, there is a smooth transfer of torque with a linear feel during acceleration through all drive modes.
Entertainment on the move is important to so many and with the Jazz comes an excellent infotainment package allowing a wide range of easy to use built in connectivity features, amongst the best in class. The apps can be accessed via the touchscreen or voice activation and they include weather, parking locations, music, navigation etc. I was impressed with the ease of use allowing minimum distraction from the task of driving. The built in apps can be supplemented by Smartphone mirroring with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available in the Jazz for the first time.
Safety is paramount from Honda and Jazz includes a comprehensive active and passive safety package as standard. Enhanced Honda SENSING technology includes new wider angle high-definition camera and all onboard are protected by ten airbags including a new front centre airbag, a first-to-market in its class No surprise to learn that the Jazz is a global model for Honda, on sale in many countries and of course there will be trim differences to suit the various countries. My test example was in SR trim, in the Northern Ireland market there is also SE and EX trim levels, SE being the entry point. On my test car, I did miss a rear view camera.
Summing up, the Jazz scores well in terms of practicality, quality of drive and the superb forward vision thanks to the adoption of thinner A- pillars.