Can any Jazz really live up to the Sport tag?
Honda’s very pleasant supermini has many attributes, including having a cabin that is remarkably spacious. But it seems a slightly odd base vehicle to be given the Sport treatment. Much of the change is really visual although the new 1.5-litre engine does add a touch more pep. So is this going to be embarrassing?
To some a sporty car needs to have a bit of fire in the exhaust note and you want to revel in the sound of the engine. Well, you sort of get that here. The new 1.5-litre four-cylinder makes 128bhp although only 114lb ft of torque so you really want to rev this beast – which fits in with the sporty tag. However, when you do you’ll be astonished at the engine racket. It’s really loud, and not in an exciting way.
Planning a long journey? Don’t. Not unless you have earplugs or like your music turned up to 11. How weird is that from Honda?
Honda Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC Sport
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, petrol
Torque: 114lb ft
Gearbox: 6-spd manual
Kerb weight: 1116kg
Top speed: 118mph
Fuel economy: 47.9mpg
CO2, tax band: 133g/km, 25%
If you are aurally challenged, you might enjoy the way the car can leap about, and you can turn in quite briskly should you have a mind to. The question is who would buy a Jazz to drive around like they were driving a hire car.
But Honda has kept the one really big advantage of the Jazz, and that is the sheer volume of interior space, all the more impressive given the compact exterior dimensions. Add in the Magic Seats, which allow all kinds of options to unfold, and you have a clever cabin with quite a lot of standard equipment.
That one facet makes the Jazz feel like it’s a car from the class above but, to be honest, the rest of the experience feels like it’s a car from the class below, a city car. It’s now starting to show its age and a new engine most definitely has not helped roll back the years.
While the competition has fixed problems and moved steadily on, the Jazz feels a bit like it’s got stuck somehow. The Jazz Age was a long time ago, and any buzz you get from this latest Jazz Sport will be simply the racket of the engine.
For £17,767 it’s hard to see this as credible value for money, and as a Sport it simply doesn’t have the other figures to back up that tag.