Mini Review – Entry Level Motoring: Honda Jazz

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It’s new, and in a funny kind of way, quite cute.

It isn’t an exciting car by any means, but it is a very practical runabout for those cramped, smelly, smoky, crowded inner city streets. It is a popular choice for the younger and older crowd because it runs on the smell of an oily rag and is cheap to buy brand new. They also retain their value so you get a decent price when you go to sell, so is a win all round.

At around 15 grand plus onroads, the pov model still has a decent audio system and of course those tricky rear seats for which Jazz is known. Bluetooth pairs easily and you can USB charge and stream as well. Most will love the Siri Eyes Free mode so you can use the voice control as you would if you were holding the phone in your hand. That comes in handy for dialling and messaging. SatNav is also part of the system, kind of, via an app on your phone. The interface is a bit clunky and I’d had many long hours trying to get it to work smoothly. It requires an intrusive HDMI cable as well as the USB which sees cables flung about the cabin with gay abandon and looks very untidy. It has conniptions when calls come in with the satnav being interrupted and not resuming. In the end I gave up and used the phone in a cradle instead. That’s the best way. This system is now Honda-wide and I have no doubt this mark I model will be refined as time goes on. That won’t help anyone buying it now though. With Siri the best feature, there is no longer an excuse for barrelling down Oxford St bowling over pedestrians like nine-pins.

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The concept drawing looked stunning with a low wide car that looked fast even when it was standing still, but what we got was a higher roof on a less inspiring mini people mover. OK my blood isn’t furiously pumping and it isn’t the object of my desire, but it is perfect at what it does. Think about parking in the city: those parking spots feel like they’re getting smaller. The traffic is getting worse, and fuel is costing more. It makes sense that a small frugal engine in an efficient well designed, well-built car is best suited to an inner urban environment. City cars have seen an explosion of interest because people are becoming smarter about their choices. All come with air conditioning and lekky windows so the mod cons are taken care of.

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The top Jazz even has lashings of leather for boys who enjoy a bit of luxury, or an alternative lifestyle. There is keyless entry and smart start so you can leave the key in your pocket. There will be no fumbling about in the dark, at least not for your keys. The top model is nearly $26,000 which is top whack for a city car but you do get a lot for your money.

She doesn’t disgrace herself on the road either. The steering is smooth and light and the CVT means no 2014 Honda Jazz gaycarboys  (12)changing gears. In fact the CVT auto gets better fuel consumption than a manual. It sounds strange with the engine at max revs while the speed takes a little time to catch up, but CVTs are common place because of their ability to use less fuel. The revs drop the moment the vehicle no longer needs the power. So with fewer revs, there is less petrol being injected. You may not like a CVT but it does what it says on the box.

She is a bit rolly-polly in the corners but that’s so the ride is comfy on the goat tracks passing as roads in our cities. You won’t be breaking any track records nor would you want to take 4 adults on a long trip, but that isn’t what Jazz was designed for.

There is a sense of playfulness about the Jazz. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but is still reliable and comfortable. It’s cheap to buy, cheap to run, easy to park and easy to drive.

Think of Jazz as the Mini of the 21st century sans dire electrics.

Would I buy one: Yes, but I’d buy the manual pov model and have a convertible for the weekends.

Price: $16,990 – $25,726 (on road for auto)

Engine 1.5 petrol, 91ron fuel, 88kw/145NM, 5.8L/100k (auto)

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