MY, how the Jazz has changed. The successful small car from Honda won plaudits and prizes for its compact size and clever design.
Now it’s grown considerably and it’s still gathering praise and pleasantries on the way.
Jazz was first launched in 2001 and we are on the third generation of this model, which has a very hard act to follow.
The Jazz has won nine consecutive JD Power customer satisfaction awards for superminis, which are among the most-prized awards because they come via real customers.
So, how does the new Jazz measure up? Well, it’s still small on the outside and big on the inside, which has long been Honda’s raison d’etre for the car. But it’s bigger physically than the earlier Jazz models.
It seats five people comfortably with ample room in the clever two-decked boot and the Magic Seats - seats which fold cleverly and simply - create more luggage space if needed.
And it’s sprightly on the road, with plenty of power for a supermini and a low centre of gravity giving good handling and stability.
For me, the best feature of the new Jazz is the way it has grown up. It’s become more like the bigger and more grown-up Civic in terms of looks and ability.
It also drives in a well, provided you avoid the CVT automatic gearbox option. The dashboard is much-improved and the intuitive cabin layout with Magic Seats in the rear makes it spacious and ingenious.
This is not a particularly quick or sporty car and it is far from cheap but Jazz is capable of taking on the leaders such as Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta.
This model is also capable of attracting younger drivers to the marque.
The short nose and rear end give the Jazz an incredibly tight turning circle for low speed manoeuvrability whilst a low centre of gravity ensures good handling and stability on corners.
The test model is the well-equipped SE version with alloy wheels, stability control, central locking and air conditioning as standard, which is good for a supermini.
It also has powered windows front and rear, cruise control and parking sensors front and rear.
The warranty - three years or 90,000 miles - is good but not as long as some of its rivals.
Jazz is available from £13,495 with the mid-grade SE model priced from £14,595, with the upper-grade EX available from £15,715.
It is an all-new model which builds on the strong reputation of its successful predecessors. The newcomer retains the classic Jazz silhouette but the company claims it has a new face and strong character lines.
The new platform increases overall length by 95mm, but efficient packaging means that the latest Jazz is proportionally even bigger on the inside than the previous generation model.
Occupants will benefit from both bootspace (354 litres with the rear seats up and 897 litres with the rear seats down) and passenger space which are unrivalled in the class.
The Magic Seat system which allows for numerous cargo configurations and a maximum interior loading length of an impressive 2,480mm.
Customers opting for the SE or EX models will also benefit from the Honda Connect in-car infotainment system as standard. This Android-based system features an app-based ‘pinch, swipe and tap‘ interface accessed on a seven-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash.
Honda Connect comes with pre-installed apps, with others available for download from the Honda App Centre. These give rapid access to internet-based services such as web browsing, real-time traffic information, news and weather, social media, and internet music stations.
Integrated Garmin navigation is available as an option on SE and EX models.
The engine is worth studying. It is a new, highly efficient, highly responsive 1.3 litre i-VTEC petrol engine from Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology series and it delivers 102PS at 6,000 rpm. This power unit delivers the sprightly driving performance of the previous Jazz’s 1.4 litre engine, together with fuel economy equivalent to its 1.2 litre.
Jazz is one of five new Hondas launched in just 12 months during which the brand was ‘re-energised’.
Honda Jazz 1.3 i-VTEC SE
PRICE: £14,595. The Jazz begins at £11,695
ENGINE: A 1,318cc engine generating 116bhp via six-speed gearbox and front-wheel-drive
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 118mph and 0 to 60mph in 11.3 seconds
COSTS: Average 56.5mpg
INSURANCE: Group 13E
WARRANTY: Three years, 90,000 miles