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CAR REVIEW | Honda Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC Sport Navi

★★★★☆ | Honda Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC Sport Navi

What Have We Got?

Honda’s Jazz has been a major seller for Honda globally. They are everywhere and here in its third generation, it gets better. Honda thankfully kept with the boxy estate car looks for the Jazz. It sets it out a little different in the small hatch crowd and yet it isn’t too off-the-wall different to alienate. 

However, this new 1.5 i-VTEC Sport might just alienate the clientele of the Jazz. Does this sport-less badged Jazz ‘Sport’ have what it takes to wear the badge it is missing?

Driving

The best thing about the Sport is its gravelly voiced normally aspirated engine. The new 1.5 i-VTEC is a hoot and likes revs. This engine has 2 behaviours spread over 3 bands of power. Up to 3000rpm, it potters around. Responds to inputs. All good. 3000-4000rpm and it feels a little punchier. Still not enough to startle you. 4000-7000 redline and it screams along. 

0-60 sprint feels quicker than its claimed 8.7 seconds and 3rd gear is good for over 70mph. 

It’s no Jazz Type-R though. Its handling is way too safe. That said, you can exploit it quite nicely, and it will entertain once it has gone past its limits. Its limits are due to the compliant ride. It’s a good mix of firm and soft. It never crashes over ruts but is too soft and susceptible to a bit of a twitch at the rear to be an all-out GTi.

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Inside

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Heater controls in this model are simple twisting dials. Very simple and very easy to use. It all falls to hand well and the controls are weighted for ease of use. There is a downside and that’s cheap plastic. The door cards flex when the windows reach to the top.  

You can’t deny that Honda are geniuses with space utilisation. The magic seat in the rear is versatile you wonder why it hasn’t been adopted by others? Flip the squabs and you get a deep narrow void to carry a small upright piano for a Mrs Mills sing-a-long. Fold it all flat and it’s a spacious 1314 litre carrying estate. There is more space in here than most larger SUV’s.

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Living With It

The key to the Jazz’s success is easy to live with. Its mini estate car looks and versatility is endless. Its size is perfect.  

The power from the 1.5 engine is startling. Considering its 7000rpm redline and its maximum torque at 4600rpm, the engine pulls itself along with little fuss from much lower down the rev range. It’s also a Honda Jazz so no one will try and burn you off at the traffic light grand prix. With its stealth looks, you can burn them off instead!

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The Verdict

The Jazz Sport goes some way to shake off the image it has gained as transport for an elderly audience though I can’t help thinking that a few more sporting visuals would tip it into a different demographic.

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The A-Team’s Hannibal Smith was “on the jazz” when the going got good and I’m inclined to think you will too when behind the wheel of this Jazz Sport.

Love

Flexible engine

Space utilisation 

Short precise gear stick action 

Loathe

Cheap feeling cabin

Lack of sports visuals

Infotainment graphics look dated

The Lowdown

Car –  Honda Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC Sport Navi

Price – £18,265 (as tested)

MPG – 47.9mpg (combined)

Power – 130PS @ 6600rpm

0-62mph –  8.7 seconds

Top Speed –  118 mph

Co2 – 134(g/km)

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