2009 Honda Jazz VTi-S Review

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2009 Honda Jazz VTi-S Review & Road Test

Who said life wasn't meant to be easy?

Economy, versatile design, ease of use, value for money

Front leg room, rear blind spots, short service intervals, no ESC

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- words and photography by Rose Harris

While you won’t be breaking any speed records, the 1.5 litre, four-cylinder, SOHC engine provides just enough oomph, whilst manageability is at a premium with light steering that doesn't compromise stability. There is nothing laboured about this jazzy number, gear changes are smooth and accurate and the highly responsive steering makes parking a breeze. Despite its miniature frame the Jazz sticks to the road providing peace of mind on both sealed and unsealed surfaces.

The attempt at reducing driver distraction stuck out for me, starting with the design of the dash and instruments. Commonly used controls, such as those for the ventilation system, are close to the driver and are both large and simple to use. The cruise control is easy to use, just a matter of two button pushes and the LCD stereo display is easy to read (including the added bonus of song and album information) but isn’t overly bright which comes in handy for night driving.

Positioning on the steering wheel of the audio, info and cruise control buttons means you aren’t accidentally pushing buttons when trying to steer. The stereo throws out great sound and also has an auxiliary connection to rig up your iPod or MP3 player. If I had to fault it, I'd say the dash is a tad ‘plastic’, which I feel does cheapen the car, but in terms of layout and design, still scores high points.

Two child seats easily fit in the back seat and the Jazz is equipped with three full child seat anchors across the rear roof. However, the anchor straps do cut across the rear window, reducing visibility and carrying space. When a toddler is in a child seat, it puts them right at the door handle level, but the tried and tested child lock averts any disasters. The rear seats also have space to stash extra bags underneath which I found very handy.

I missed the central console but loved the many (ten in total) cup holders, most notably the one on the right hand side of the steering wheel which means no looking down to find your coffee while driving. If kids aren’t involved and the cargo space is what you are after, the back seats fold down to create more space to fit anything from a surf board to more luggage.

Although safety is a priority with side curtain airbags, seatbelt indicators for all passengers and super bright brake lights, it isunfortunate that the engine/automatic gearbox combination that Honda Australia has chosen precludes the inclusion of Electronic Stability Control(ESC).

However, Honda is working with the engineers in Japan to bring this vital safety feature to the Australian version of the Jazz as soon as possible.

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