Driven: Honda Jazz i-DTEC

Second innings or homecoming? Here is our take on the new diesel avatar of the Honda Jazz


India is familiar with the Jazz nomenclature from Honda. The first inning of the vehicle received a mixed reaction from the critics and the audience. At that time the 3rd gen City was quite a star and Honda made the mistake of pricing the hatchback around that price range, where one could buy a City instead. The 3rd gen city was the bestselling petrol car in that segment and placing its sibling in that space didn’t turn out to be as smart of a move, as a result we saw Honda reducing the price for the market later. That did gave Jazz a presence in the market where it gathered some appreciation. First gen Jazz by no means can be said to be what its numbers stated. That my friend was one fine vehicle brought into a market which wasn’t too ready for it. Coming ahead in time, we are here in 2016 with the 2nd gen Jazz in India. Honda has brought in a global product with not too many changes and they have priced it very aggressively. Also with a step up in City prices the difference between their prices does look justifiable to buy a Jazz. So we had the car over here at News24 for an comprehensive review and we did test it on many parameters though we haven’t really lived with the vehicle for a long haul yet so minus those aspects we will offer rest everything you can ask for.



Looks


Jazz was quite a looker and that hasn’t changed with this car. The silhouettes are recognisable and you won’t feel the old car in this one. The car is slightly longer and with a bigger wheelbase compared to its predecessor. All the video teasers of the Jazz from the American market had got us quite excited and we did get a similar car loaded with all the features. The front of the car looks designed somewhere between the 3rd and 4th gen city which I would have loved on the 4th gen City. The 3rd gen City has such a perfect front three quarter that I still haven’t digested the 4th gen City’s front even though a new gen is upon us in few months… OK this is all about Jazz so I won’t rant about City much although that is inevitable considering City and Honda are synonymous in India. So the long front has sharp lines and the headlamps still contain single headlamps, that’s quite outdated in 2016 with twin barrel headlamps and projector headlamps in trend. Honda could have given either atleast in the top spec version of the car. The front redesigned angular bumpers blend in with the new look. The side profile of the car retains the old DNA and lines aren’t as inclined as the previous gen yet looks familiar for good. Coming to the rear design of the car you will find a new design language with wide flat tailgate with a thick chrome stick running across and big beefy tail lamps and reflectors running till the rear spoiler. One thing that continues to disappoint are the thin tyres. I recommend wider tyres that will definitely reduce the fuel economy but will inspire a lot more confidence. Wider tyres also compliment the linear power delivery of the car. (That’s for both Diesel and Petrol versions of the Jazz)



Step inside the cabin and the game changes considerably, first you’ll find acres of space inside with larger glass area providing excellent all around visibility. This is one aspect that we have gradually started to overlook with time but it is one very important aspect of driving. Then there is the black beige interior theme enhancing the sense of space even more and it looks plush too (you also get the all black interiors for the sporty feel incase feel a need for it). The seats have nice contours and give a commanding view of the road ahead. The blue backlight instrument cluster is gentle and non-distracting taking into account the refractive index of the colour blue. The car retains dash elements of its elder sibling City with touchscreen entertainment and aircon unit. The touchscreen aircon is really an USP which does look quite futuristic. The steering now sports audio and telephone controls for easy access enabling you to keep your hands on the steering all the time. The car also retains the four way foldable magic seats from the previous generation JAZZ.



Engine


Under the hood was the EarthDreams 1.5L iDTEC diesel engine unit mated to a 6 speed manual transmission churning out 99 bhp and 200nm of torque. This is the flagship diesel unit from Honda in India and giving a diesel option to the car opens more avenues for Honda in the Indian market. This is a familiar diesel unit in India and here it returns company claimed 27.3 kmpl but with mixed driving in Delhi’s traffic and open UP highways the car returned a healthy fuel economy of 20 kmpl which is quite satisfactory.



The Drive


Looking at the fuel economy one can easily presume that it not much of a performer but look at the figures it turns out decent horses but low torque but that torque kicks in without making the engine fret too much but again it gets dead after a point and the 6th gear is merely for refined crusing and doesn’t help in any performance. Although the cars suspension has improved by many folds but it still remains on the harder side. There is also a fair bit of body roll when you take a corner. The steering however remains quite direct and gets well weighed up when driving in triple digits. The car scores very high on braking, the brakes ability of Jazz is the best among all hatchbacks in the Indian market. I hope other manufacturers give adequate attention to this fact.



Whats My Take


The diesel version of the new 2016 Jazz that I drove did impress, but there are few let downs as well. To start with Honda got the pricing quite right this time, the car is also longer than its predecessor with increased wheelbase. The car is spacious and the magic seats come in handy time to time. The state of suspension is quite satisfying on uneven roads and on highways too, the big airy feel can make you overlook that it’s still a hatchback. The brakes in this car are the best in competition, if more manufacturers start paying attention to the braking ability of cars in India that would be indeed be good. However Honda just forgot that its 2016 and the competition stakes are way to high the car comes short on features list when pitched alongside the likes of Hyundai i20 Elite, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, VW Polo with skinny tyres, no LED, projector setup or DRL’s on the headlamp assembly!!!! The Jazz is a very aerodynamic car in design and if Honda would paid some more attention to the power and torque delivery in Jazz it could definitely emerge on the top of the segment. Then again backed by Honda’s reliability and its service network in India it is a very worthy vehicle to have. Not to forget the fuel economy figures of 27.3kmpl (even we got a 20+ figure with mixed city and highway driving) which is a big USP if you gulp miles. I usually don’t rant about fuel economy but when a car returns that sort of fuel economy with fairly aggressive driving I say it’s commendable.