Earlier this month I wrote a brief review on the exciting new developments in the Honda family, namely the launch of the new Honda Jazz Sport and the Type R. This week I was able to get up close and personal with the Honda Jazz Sport, after attending the magnificent launch party for the vehicle, a few weeks ago.
Meeting up with the incredibly charismatic Wendy Badenhorst, fleet manager for Imperial Honda, I was able to hear first-hand from her how the new Jazz Sport compares to it’s predecessor, and other vehicles in this segment. Having thoroughly enjoyed the launch party last month, I was happy to finally actually get my hands on the Jazz Sport – at the launch, there were so many excited and dedicated Honda fans clambering around for a glimpse, I barely managed a good look myself.
The classy and up-market launch party reminded me of the amazing innovation and advancements that Honda are adding to the vehicle market: producing such high-quality vehicles (including the current line up at Imperial Honda in general) topped with the new Honda Jazz Sport and the Honda Civic Type R, there is no doubt in my mind that Honda is making it’s way up the ladder to meet other premium brands head on.
The all-new Honda Jazz Sport has been substantially refreshed and upgraded for 2018 – an obviously sportier, edgier look is the first thing one would notice as well as the updated cabin and cockpit. Taking it’s inspiration from the Type R, the Jazz Sport now boasts an aggressive and aerodynamic form with a bold spoiler and red trim-line. A prominent grille with slim, tapered headlights gives it an assertive presence that looks fantastic to me! 16-inch alloy wheels in a glossy black finish round the sporty new Jazz off perfectly.
The interior is a pleasant surprise; much more premium than I would have initially pegged, everything around me is soft-touch, elegant and lovely to look at (there are also great chrome accents throughout which give a great sport vibe to the cabin). The steering wheel hosts full audio controls linked to a 7inch touch-screen managed infotainment system which is so easy to use and quick to get the hang of; incorporating Bluetooth, HDMI and iPod/USB connections and 6 speakers, the Honda Jazz also caters to all my musical needs. I love the little triangular windows near the front passenger and driver’s side which I feel contribute substantially to visibility and drawing attention to your blindspot. There is also a rear-view camera and electric windows all round, and nifty side-mirrors that retract after parking.
Thanks to a compact engine bay, the cabin is spacious for a vehicle in this class, and thus has generous leg room and quite a nice-sized boot. The legendary “Magic Seats” still allow you to maximise space in the rear, making it possible to literally cater the space in the back and boot in numerous ways. I had a good laugh as Wendy noted she had seen people fit unbelievably long items into the Jazz, including a treadmill and a quad bike, amongst other things. Wendy’s favourite touch to the Honda Jazz is the brilliantly placed cup-holder that keeps your water bottle cool in front of the aircon vent.
Having driven the predecessor for many years, Wendy now drives the Honda Jazz Sport and notes that it is a fun, engaging vehicle to drive – a vehicle that really gets noticed wherever she goes. The heart of the new Jazz is the 1.5 iVtec 4-cylinder engine that kicks out a satisfying 97 KW of Power and 155 Nm torque; this really brings the Jazz on par with it’s competitors in this segment. Not only was the engine given a work-over, but the suspension system has also been upgraded and fine-tined, as well as a new braking system implemented that will surely not simply enhance the drive-feel, but also improve the already well-specced safety of the vehicle.
Despite having the sports-kit on the new Honda Jazz Sport, the ground clearance is still sufficient to not have to worry about speed bumps or low rises doing any damage. With fuel consumption as good as 5.8 litres to every 100 kilometres (noting that Wendy literally drives the vehicle in Sports mode for higher revs and stronger responses), the Honda Jazz seems to be a winning combination of well-performing machinery, practicality, and the wonderful reliability offered by the brand.
Anticipating a dynamic year, Imperial Honda are selling the Type R’s and the Honda Jazz Sport at a rapid rate; having hoped to get a glimpse of the Type R, Wendy laughingly told me that she too hasn’t managed to test drive it either, as the Type R’s are being snatched up the moment they arrive at the Dealership. Excited for what the future hold for the brand and the dealership, I am hoping to bring you more information soon!
By Desh Bechan