We bought the Honda Jazz new in 2009, a VTiS model, in manual. It hasn't missed a beat in 88,000km. We call it a VUV (versatile use vehicle) - because it is simply the most versatile small vehicle on the market. It fits me (short-legged, long-backed) at 183cm, “just”. It can carry (and has carried) five adults, has three child-seat mounting points (in practice, 2 child-seats, or centre-mounted baby-capsule), and can carry a startling amount of luggage like a 2-seat mini-van, or even 1-seat long-load mini-van, or awkward parcels like tall objects.
Headroom is excellent, and knee-room is adequate. Power and torque is adequate; we got the 1.5-litre engine, but the 1.3-litre is more economical. The brakes are excellent. While it’s not a racer, handling is good enough (later models have ESC). It’s chuckable only on familiarity, although straight-line steering is ‘slightly vague’ but only in comparison to something more high-end.
The point is, the Honda Jazz “does everything”. Urban, gravel, highway, cartage, and people-moving (for skinny people in the back seat). Whilst travelling a few years back, we hired a Suzuki Swift for a week, and initially found it very disappointing by comparison, in particular – Suzuki, where’s your torque? Suzuki, things don’t fit! For whatever demographic, if your question/budget is, “What is one small car that has to do absolutely everything?” then this is the answer.
Servicing costs were initially “a decider” but rose to market norm. Now that they are higher, it’s never been back to the dealer, as most work has been done by NRMA servicing. NRMA servicing is better than dealer servicing, as they definitely do all the work you’ve paid for, and is by mechanics instead of apprentices. However, NRMA have a slight tendency to over-service, and recently one of the Goodyear premises have proved slightly better on the over-servicing front, doing only what’s needed and helping with getting the most out of things like brake pads.
Pros: Sheer versatility, economical to run, absolute reliability. Best economy was 5.8L/100km, and the worst about 8.8. On average, consumption is about 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres, but drinks more with heavy air-con use.
Cons: Nothing much wrong. I note that there are a lot of increasingly elderly Jazz cars still on the road. Obviously, they last. Other, more sporting vehicles handle better but are less useful/usable (and don’t last). For a boy-racer, look elsewhere.
We compared it back-to-back with a Mitsubishi Colt, which was faster, and handled better, but was less versatile, less economical, and the seating was (for us) back-ache guaranteed. So, we bought the Honda.
Another slight Con is that tyre size is a rare-bear, almost forcing the purchase of expensive OEM tyres – with the “pro” of these being that these tyres improve braking distance and cornering.
Would you recommend this to a friend? Absolutely – subject to all the codicils of second-hand – was it loved or flogged? Dodgily repaired? Full service history?
The engine in our Jazz, as mentioned earlier, is a 1.5-litre with 88kW and 145Nm. With the low-ish torque, it’s adequate but not exciting. A later model with ESC and a turbo motor would be more engaging. The ‘aero’ of the VTi-S does work, but it’s only noticeable at 110kph.
The 5-speed manual transmission is easy. I hear that the CVT is dull, but works very well, and is more economical than conventional auto. Ergonomics are outstanding. The controls just fall to hand, and are suitable for big clumsy fingers. Tow-rating is small, so for anything more than a mini-trailer, it’s the wrong horse for the course.
When we replace this car, it will be with an all-electric EV, but at the moment, there’s nothing this versatile (or cheap). If Honda ever produces a pure EV Jazz, we’ll be looking!
NOTE: With no image supplied, we have used a CarAdvice photo with this review.