Honda Jazz Advance – Review
By Liam Bird
I had a big birthday last year, one with a 0 in it; my hair turned white at least 20 years ago. Radio 2 doesn’t feel as if it’s aimed at me anymore, especially since Ken Bruce and Steve Wright were shown the exit, and why have they stopped playing all of the good music? It’s all DJ this, featuring MC that.
I’ve also developed a taste for soup at lunchtime, an affinity for my electric blanket come bed time – which is much earlier than it used to be – and I find myself taking longer to do things than I used to; I talk to myself while I’m doing them too.
I’ve also had a Honda Jazz here on test. It must be nearly a month ago by now, it could have been longer. I suppose it’s about time I got around to writing something about it. As I recall I rather liked the Jazz. If only I could remember the name of the nice young man who came to collect it. Sorry son, it really has slipped my mind.
Anyway, what was I was saying? That’s right: the Honda Jazz…
Honda’s Jazz has, in my experience always been a very likeable little thing, even if perhaps it was never really something you’d ever call exciting. Its charm has always been in its practicality – those magic seats that fold-up like the ones in the cinema do so, I’m told you carry a small bicycle behind the front seats, and its overall general ease of use. Let’s be honest about things: no one has ever bought a Honda Jazz hoping they’d set a new Nurburgring lap-record in it, it’s simply not that kind of car. The Jazz does without go-faster stripes, low profile tyres, and so-called sports suspension. (It does get some stylish alloy wheels though).
I’d be willing to wager your archetypal Jazz owner bought their car based on Honda’s reputation for superb reliability and build-quality – even if they did have to spend a little bit more to get it. Can you believe the Jazz Advance that Honda’s nice press people were kind enough to lend me cost nearly £28,000? And the only optional extra they’d put on it was something called Premium Sunlight White Pearl paint. That paint was an extra £950. I’ve bought whole cars for less.
“A tad louder”
Unlike the Jazz, what those “bargain” cars of mine didn’t have – effective brakes, electric windows, DAB, Bluetooth, a raft of driver safety technology, crumple zones, a panoramic sunroofs, anti-fatigue seats, a 9 inch touch screen, Apple Car Play/Android Auto, and functioning lights and heaters notwithstanding – was a hybrid drivetrain. Today’s Jazz is an e:HEV.
There’s only one engine choice, a 1.5 litre petrol unit that works in conjunction with two electric motors that are powered by a compact battery. You don’t have to worry about plugging anything in, untangling any cables, or searching for a working charging point, all you have to do is put petrol in the Jazz in the conventional way. The electronics do the rest. The Jazz seamlessly juggles between petrol and electric power in a constant bid to improve efficiency; most slow speed stuff, parking, manoeuvring and the like is done silently and on electric alone.
Things do get a tad louder once out in the open. Because the Jazz uses a CVT transmission (the Japanese seem to love such things), when you put your foot down the revs are sent soaring – and are kept soaring until you back off again! It sounds as if you’re slipping the clutch – but there isn’t one. There’s a bit of wind noise from around the door mirrors, and tyre and suspension noise aren’t as well suppressed as they could be either. The regenerative brakes are very well-judged though, allowing you to stop gently without looking like a nervous learner, or dare I say it, an elderly driver.
And that, in not a particularly elegant way, brings me round to Jazz’s core audience – well, in the UK at least. The Jazz is known as the Fit in other markets, where it’s developed a wide-ranging fan-base; American and Japanese teenagers love their Fits, or so I’ve heard. As for this side of the Pond, the Jazz has a significantly more mature following. It’s a generalisation, I know, but the majority of Jazzes do seem to be driven by ladies “of a certain age” sporting white-cauliflower hair-dos, and/or gentlemen for whom leaving the house without a shirt, jacket, tie, and natty knitted tank-top just wouldn’t do. Or maybe that’s the case out here in The Far Unlit Unknown that is the Shropshire Marches.
That said, like I said, I’m older than I once was. I rather liked the Jazz when it was here; I was sorry to see it go. Perhaps it’s not older drivers the Jazz appeals to after all, perhaps it’s the wiser ones. But perhaps, I would say that wouldn’t I?
Now, where did I put that bag of Werther’s Originals?
Honda Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid e-CVT
Engine: 1,498 cc, 4Cyl, 16V-turbocharged petrol
Transmission: Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT) front-wheel drive.
Electric Motor Torque: 187 lbft
Electric Motor Power: 108 bhp
Power: 96 bhp @ 6,000 – 6,400rpm
Torque: 97 lbft @ 4,500 – 5,000 rpm
0-62mph: 9.6 sec
Max Speed: 108 mph
MPG: 61.4 (WLTP combined).
CO2: 104 g/km
Price: £27,010 (Car Driven £27,960)