The popular Honda Jazz range long loved by families, is gaining a new look, the Jazz Sport broke cover in SA in the last two weeks, simultaneously launched with its more butch and faster sibling, the Type R, it is hoping to get a new raft of buyers for this model.
In South Africa, the Jazz Sport becomes the new flagship of the range, replacing the current Dynamic derivatives. It links new, more aggressive styling cues and a distinctive aero package to a new, more powerful engine featuring Earth Dreams technology.
It has an all new front bumper, much more sculpted than before, with new fog lamps, accented in black surrounds.A new front splitter with red stripes gives a nod to the Type R. It has 16 inch Berlina black alloy wheels which are really good looking. The rear has a rather bold spoiler and a three strake diffuser, and the same red detailing as the splitter
The new front-end of the Jazz Sport features a sleeker grille design with gloss piano black and chrome elements, framed by slim LED headlights with LED daytime running lights. Gloss-black exterior mirror housings are standard. All this helps to give the Jazz, previously at best a family car, some sporty accents.
The Jazz Sport’s black-hued cockpit has been modelled on the Type R and has black backgrounds accented with the sporty red in the stitching on the seats to the sporty steearing wheel, arm rests. It has a new push button start and smart keyless entry system as a further nod to the Type R. Sport pedals are fitted as standard, while the upgraded audio system features six loudspeakers. Also reminiscent of the Type R is the pushbutton start system and smart, keyless entry system.
In addition to its sporty character, the cabin of the new Jazz Sport also boasts best-in-class legroom and space utility. The much-praised Magic Seat system remains a vital feature, and is central to the Jazz’s superior space utilisation and overall versatility. The 359 litre boot can be extended to 889 litres by folding the split rear bench seat down.
As the new flagship of the range, the Jazz Sport features an extensive array of standard luxury, convenience and safety features. A new, soft-padded dashboard adds a touch of sophistication to the interior’s sporty aura.
Comprehensive instrumentation is augmented by a seven-inch touchscreen display that controls the infotainment system – including a CD receiver with six loudspeakers, Bluetooth-driven hands-free telephony, and USB and HDMI connections. It is also linked to the rear-view camera.
The Jazz Sport is fitted with electric windows front and rear, as well as cruise control, automatic air-conditioning, a tilt and reach-adjustable steering wheel and rear parking sensors as standard.
Engine & Transmission
The new lively and responsive 1,5-litre i-VTEC engine featuring Earth Dreams Technology is an improvement in terms of performance, if that is what a buyer is looking for, and some of my learned colleagues begged the question as to why turn the Jazz into a Sporty model?
The four-cylinder, dual overhead camshaft engine is exclusive to this model in the Jazz line-up, and makes use of direct injection and intelligent variable valve timing and lift. Maximum power output is 97 kW at 6 600 r/min, with an accompanying torque peak of 155 Nm at 4 600 r/min.
The sporty hatchback’s dynamic intentions are vindicated by a sub-10 sec 0-100 km/h acceleration time. Even so, combined-cycle fuel consumption remains impressively efficient at just 5,6 litres/100 km.
Contributing to the Jazz Sport’s enthusiastic dynamics and thrifty fuel consumption is a specially adapted Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Featuring Step Shift and gearshift paddles, the gearbox matches the engine’s urge with improved responsiveness. This CVT does not turn into the droning constantly gear changing mess that many CVT transmissions do, and is quite pleasant to drive. The Jazz is fairly quiet on the road, with minimal wind noise.
Active and passive safety are comprehensively addressed. On the active front, the Jazz Sport gets ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), as well as Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist (HSA).
Passive safety is served by an Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) bodyshell that ensures optimised crash safety and passenger safety cell integrity, augmented by six SRS airbags comprising front, side and curtain airbags.
Three-point inertia reel seatbelts are standard front and rear, with pre-tensioners and height-adjustable anchors for the front belts. ISOFix child seat anchors are also provided. An integrated alarm system with engine immobiliser is also fitted.
The Jazz Sport retails for R310 000 – the same price as the Jazz Dynamic CVT it replaces, but offering a much more comprehensive package, ensuring superior value.
The price tag includes a comprehensive five-year/200 000 km warranty and a four-year/60 000 km service plan, as well as a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package. Services are at 15 000 km intervals.
To sum up the Jazz definitely delivers on becoming a more sporty character, and has more dynamic performance. It has more space and is very comfortable. A counter question is whether the Jazz buyer really wants this new sporty note or not? Time will tell.