The Honda Jazz is a simple statement that motoring need not be complicated. The trend with automakers these days is to pack as much techy equipment as possible between the wheels just so brand prestige and price can be justified. PAH! For the everyday driver, having auto-levelling headlights or built-in navigation will never be as useful as having nine cup holders.
Although, if you're pinning for the Jazz V, the one on test, the numbers go down by two for a total of seven cup holders. You can blame that on the centre armrest, but really, it is nothing to moan about, not when you still have five cupholders in the front. The over-abundance in cupholders underlines how practical Honda's car of this size can be.
Honda's Jazz is a small thing, and you can tell by just looking at it. Park it beside a Perodua Myvi or a Ford Fiesta for proof of size. So, it is impressive that underneath the small shell hides an interior that holds so much room. From the looks of things, the rear passengers have more legroom than the front. One could slide the front seats to the end of the rails and the rear passengers can still have legroom to stretch.
It's not just passengers that get plenty of space in the back; there's also room enough for more than only the weekend cargo. The seats, which Honda calls ULTRA, can be configured in several ways, depending on the payload, no matter tall or long.
If you're a casual weekend-only cyclist, you'd be happy to know the Jazz can fit a foldable and a road bike inside. Also, the large opening – door and boot – reduces the effort needed to load things into the Jazz. In many ways, the Jazz feels more like a compact MPV than a hatchback.
In contrast to the rear, the front might feel snug because the dashboard extends deep into the cabin for safety reasons. How? The bigger the distance between the firewall and windscreen from the front passengers, the lesser the injuries might be in an accident.
The dashboard isn't just a barrier with airbags. It is feature-filled with more than only the airbags. From the E trim onwards, the Jazz comes standard with an air-conditioning touch panel. It also has a touchscreen display audio that, in all honesty, does not look like it was ever intended to be in the Jazz. Complaints don't end with the design, the angle of the screen has no difficulty in catching the glare of the sun, effectively washing out everything displayed on the screen, including the feed from the reverse camera.
Not that you need it, the reverse camera. Windows and screens so large that you get plenty of unobstructed views all around. The A- and C-pillars houses tiny windows that let you see more than you'd expect. And the B-pillars are slim enough that you don't need to turn your head too much to check the blind spots.
The Honda Jazz is explicitly designed to be a practical and comfortable town car. Under the bonnet is a 1.5-litre engine that produces 118hp and 145Nm of torque that can move without the aid of any force-induction. Paired with the engine is a CVT, which is unlike the dual-clutch transmission in the Jazz Hybrid.
So, the Jazz isn't fast by any means. With a curb weight of just 1,099kg, the drivetrain has no difficulty in executing quick and snappy manoeuvres; merging into the other lane, escaping corners and accelerating quickly from traffic lights.
The Jazz does handle with a more spirit than the engine can sometimes muster; a ride that's more refined than the previous generation. Firmer, too – the Jazz doesn't crash into holes, and the body roll is nicely restrained. And despite its muted feedback, the steering is balanced in weight an accuracy.
Having said that, there are compact hatchbacks that perform better on the straight line, feel sportier on the B-roads and looks more stylish than the next car. But if you want a vehicle that's compact enough for a tight city and is remarkably practical in space, then your decision is an uncomplicated one – get the Honda Jazz.
Specification: Honda Jazz V
1,497cc, 4-cyl., 16 valves, SOHC, i-VTEC | Transmission
CVT, front-wheel drive | Power & Torque
118hp @ 6,600rpm / 145Nm @ 4,600rpm | Performance
5.8l/100km | Price
RM83,633.00, on-the-road without insurance | Score