The competitive small car market has increased buyer appeal in these days of rising fuel prices.
Those looking for a fuel-frugal and space-efficient small used car might well consider getting into the groove with Honda’s Jazz.
In its Japanese home market, where it’s called Honda Fit, this vehicle has been one of Honda’s biggest selling models. Released here in October 2002, Jazz is the tiddler and entry-level model in the local Honda range.
Models and features
Buyers of the Jazz five-door hatch could choose from a model trio of a 1.3 litre GLi (the base model), the 1.5 litre VTi, or the sportier looking 1.5 litre VTi-S.
By small car standards Jazz was well equipped. The popular VTi model includes dual airbags, ABS brakes with EBD, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, electric power steering, power windows and mirrors, trip computer, air conditioning, remote locking, immobiliser, CD player and tilt steering column.
The VTi-S adds fog lamps, leather bound steering wheel, 55 series tyres on 15” alloys plus a full body kit including front and rear spoilers and side skirts.
The SOHC, 1.3 litre engine of the GLi has modest claimed outputs of 61kW @ 5700 rpm and 119Nm @ 2800 rpm. The 1.5 litre SOHC, VTEC engine of the other models produces 81kW @ 6000rpm and 143 Nm @ 4800 rpm.
Transmission options on all Jazz models are a five-speed manual box or for auto buyers, a CVT (continuously variable transmission). 1.5 litre models mated to the CVT also get a sequential shift control with F1 style steering wheel mounted switches and seven preset ratios.
On the road
The 1.3 litre engine delivers adequate performance, though the 1.5 litre models with their extra engine capacity and clever VTEC valve control system offer significantly better urge. Both will pluck the heartstrings of owners with their fuel efficiency.
Jazz holds its head high in the dynamics and roadholding department. However the steering lacks sufficient road feel and the ride can prove too harsh at times. Either transmission would be a good choice depending on personal preferences.
Forget interior jam sessions with Jazz. Clever design features, such as relocating the fuel tank to under the front floor, mean its high sided but compact and stylish body still offers a versatile and spacious interior. Tricky seat folding options make for very flexible load carrying arrangements too.
A spacesaver spare tyre is a stain on its character. However good build quality is a signature tune for Honda and Jazz mostly stays in time to the music.
Jazz has a sound reputation for reliability. However we have heard of major problems with CVT gearboxes, usually transmission clutch failures. It’s expensive to fix so a professional check is highly recommended. Check used examples for a record of thorough scheduled servicing, especially engine oil and coolant. Look also for damage or possible accident repairs resulting from commuting in the cut and thrust of urban traffic.
From 5.7 to 8.6 litres/100km depending on model and conditions.
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to CD's online car price guide or our Car review Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.
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