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Honda as a brand is unique in that they make solid family cars and Formula 1 racing vehicles. Okay, maybe they aren’t the only manufacturer, but they are the only one who additionally also makes gazillions of motorbikes.

Honda’s compact Jazz, loved by those young and especially old – a stable amongst retired female pensioners and has a Jazzier option in their line-up, the Jazz Sport.

Essentially the same compact city hatch, only it looks more aggressive. Type R-inspired detailing includes red accents and stitching, as well as racy alloy pedals. Perhaps Honda are campaigning to attract a more youthful target audience with the Sport? Makes sense when you look at it.

The Jazz Sport features more aggressive front and rear bumpers, side skirting, black rims and a big rear fin. Decked out in Fast and the Furious garb, the Sport version certainly looks less sedate than its Trend, Comfort or Elegance siblings.

The range of Jazz compact city hatches are endowed with either a 1.2-l or 1.5-l motors. Old school in that they don’t have 3-cyclinders or a turbocharger. Their simple set-up means you get reliability, fuel economy and decent performance. Power outputs are modest at 66kW/110Nm or 88kW/145Nm respectively. The Sports model features the same 1.5-l motor yet, like the Jazz’s bumpers and spoiler being “extra”, the engine has a little extra 9kW/10Nm of vooma. 

Sound good? Well, it is, and it isn’t. Let me elaborate – being a Honda, the Jazz Sports chassis feels light and crisp. The steering is sharp with a short turning circle – basically, it goes where you point it in a dynamic manner. The ride is firm yet comfortable which bestows the Jazz Sport with a playful driving dynamic making it a fun toy to manoeuvre enthusiastically. The overall package is let down by its underwhelming acceleration. This is due in part to the Jazz’s naturally aspirated motor and fuel-saving focused CVT gearbox. CVT gearboxes are not sporty. Period. Functional yes, athletic not. Pity – all show and little go. Think getting frisky while having the Golden Girl theme music playing in the background – mood killer. Oh well, it looks cheeky. You can expect a 0 to 100km/h sprint in sub 10 seconds thanks to a lightweight body.

Being a Honda, the Jazz is very functional, arguably best in class. Its tall roof means loads of headroom and shoulder room, smart comfortable seat setups make for good legroom. The Type R-inspired style details are nicely carried through into the cabin with red contrast stitching and piano black dash highlights.  I thoroughly enjoyed Honda’s Magic Seat system that allows the rear seat bench to fold-up like a clamshell. It reveals a decent boot of 359 litres quickly transformed into a cavernous 889 litres by folding the split rear bench seat down.

The Sport version features a comprehensive list of equipment. 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.

Also standard are multifunction controls on the leather-trimmed steering wheel, a centre armrest, height-adjustable driver’s seat, and electrically adjustable and folding exterior mirrors finished in gloss black. You also get 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.

Not forgetting safety, 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.

Nice car the Honda Jazz. The extra trimmings add to the package but elevate the price. Is it worth the extra dosh? I’d rather opt for the Elegant model at R290 700.

 

Plus

  • Solid.
  • Spacious.
  • Sassy looking.

Minus

  • Pricey.
  • Underwhelming performance.
  • As the flagship model, I expect automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.

 

The competition

Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris and VW Polo.

 

The price

1.2 Trend R222 700

1.2 Comfort R253 400

1.2 Comfort Auto R272 900

1.5 Elegance R290 700

1.5 Elegance Auto R307 400

1.5 Sport R325 600

 

The service and warranty

The price tag includes a comprehensive five-year/200 000km warranty and a four-year/60 000km service plan, as well as a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package. Services are at 15 000km intervals.

 

My choice

1.5 Elegance R290 700

www.honda.co.za

 

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