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Week at the Wheel: Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.

Week at the Wheel: Honda Jazz Si
Even in new Si trim the Honda Jazz fails to excite us, but that doesn't stop it being a fantastic small car.

 



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| Week at the Wheel | Honda Jazz Si |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

Honda's traditional conservatism perpetuates with a gentle evolutionary change to the original Jazz resulting in this latest form. Some of the edges have been rounded off in line with contemporary style but aside from interesting treatment of the light clusters there's not much that helps the Jazz stand out. Sober styling is unlikely to scare away the repeat purchasers but equally it's not going to draw buyers away from more stylish alternatives.

Internally things are rosier. There's nothing dramatic about the interior styling but the space in the cabin and the effective and simple ergonomics are enduring Jazz strengths. The driving position is sound and there is no compromise required to seat two six-foot tall adults one behind the other thanks to relatively upright, but comfortable, seating positions with lots of head room.

The Jazz's mini-MPV functionality always set it apart from the majority of rivals. Though some of them have closed the gap Honda's engineers continue to squeeze more useful space and practicality from the Jazz's diminutive dimensions. This is typified by features such as the multi-functional floor section in the boot that doubles as a load divider and cargo net; and the space beneath the rear bench seat that lends itself to additional stowage and then also provides a space for the rear seats themselves to fold into, enabling them to fold completely flat.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

It's no surprise to find a capable little engine tucked under the bonnet of the Jazz. In something of a departure from the Honda norm the Jazz's 1.4-litre engine actually specialises in mid-range torque rather than high-end flair and actually begins to lose its composure and protests a little if worked hard in the upper reaches of the rev band. Driven with a more sympathetic right foot it's an altogether more soothing companion and suits the Jazz's more relaxed demeanour well. The busy little engine is mated to a sweet shifting manual gearbox that slips between its five ratios with little effort and much precision.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Given the target audience it's understandable to find the Jazz engineered with a chassis biased towards comfort. It rides with a maturity and suppleness the equal of its competition and drives with an appealing ease of operation and relaxed demeanour. What it doesn't do is excite or entice. Cleary the Jazz is not intended to appeal to an audience of B-road thrashers, but nonetheless it can be made to flow through bends with plenty of enthusiasm, making the most of the modest power available by ensuring that valuable momentum can be conserved.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

This category is another Jazz strong point thanks to generous equipment levels, good reliability, economy and solid residuals. The Si model tested is towards the lower end of the range, which means less standard fit equipment, in some cases betrayed by switch blanks. However, the essentials for comfort and safety are all in place. Higher trim levels boost equipment significantly, but at a cost and the Si represents a sensible compromise with some added aesthetic appeal in the form of different wheels and a spoiler.

With respect to running costs the Jazz offers all of the benefits of supermini-dom such as lower tax rates, insurance and a relatively small initial outlay. The Jazz is also one of the safest places to invest your hard earned thanks to its solid residuals. Our week with the Jazz yielded an average of 40mpg and this, along with the free servicing currently on offer, should mean low costs for the majority of owners.

Overall: star star star star star

The little Honda Jazz is a really good car. Odd then, that it doesn't tug at the heart strings like some rivals do - mainly down to the fact that it lacks the personality traits to seduce. Some people will find this a deal breaker, as many small cars are bought by their owners on the basis of style and emotion rather than overall competence. For those who value practicality and all-round ability over the more emotive factors the Jazz remains a solid choice.

Dave Jenkins - 3 Jun 2010









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2010 Honda Jazz specifications: (1.4i Si)
Price: 13,510 on-the-road
0-62mph: 11.5 seconds
Top speed: 113mph
Combined economy: 52.3mpg
Emissions: 128g/km
Kerb weight: 1119kg

Full technical specifications

2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.

2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.



2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2010 Honda Jazz Si. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 






 

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