Honda Jazz Review
Japanese car maker Honda is set to unveil a new upgraded version of its Jazz model to the Indian market. Sales of the Honda Jazz have been consistently declining in India due to better, cheaper competitors like the Hyundai i20. The main reason for the decline in sales has been the pricing strategy but lack of luxury and comfort features are also to blame.
The Honda Jazz 1.5 uses the same engine present in the Honda City and hopes the additional power gained from it will entice buyers. In addition to the engine they have also spruced up the interiors and have included a few more features to make the Jazz a more attractive car to potential buyers.
The Honda Jazz 1.5 should be available in India in the early part of 2011 and should be priced around the 9 lakh mark. Honda hopes the introduction of a more powerful engine and cosmetic upgrade will allow it to regain a share of the Indian market. Only time will tell if the changes are for the better and if they are going to be enough to attract customers back to the Jazz.
Performance – 2011 Honda Jazz 1.5 in India
The older model of the Honda Jazz was equipped with a 1.2 liter, 4 cylinder engine that produced 90 horsepower and 116 Nm of torque. Although that engine was a very efficient one it did not quite match up to buyer expectations in terms of performance. The older model of the Jazz was a sluggish hatchback and did not offer too many creature comforts as well.
The problem with the older Jazz was the fact that Honda did not pay heed to the needs of the Indian buyer while keeping price high as well. The new Jazz shows that Honda has learned from its past mistake and done everything to make it right. The new version of the Jazz will feature the 1.5 liter engine currently used in the Honda City. This 1.5 liter i-DSI, petrol engine gives out 118 horsepower and 145 Nm of torque. The engine is presently mated to a five-speed manual transmission although there is talk of an automatic transmission being introduced shortly. The introduction of the bigger engine should not only improve sales but will definitely make driving the Jazz a much better experience.
This engine has been extensively tested at Honda’s research and development center in Japan to suit Indian road conditions as well as safety standards. The new engine offers exactly what Indian consumers want low fuel consumption with the added ability of maximum power.
The new Honda Jazz will feature the same i-VTEC engine that Honda implements in all its vehicles and this allows the air intake valves and exhaust valves to open according to engine speed giving better performance. One criticism of Honda in India is that it has failed to introduce any diesel powered vehicles and in such a fuel conscious market they have paid the price. The i-VTEC engine regulates the valves and engine speed to give optimum fuel efficiency as well as superior output.
The Honda Jazz 1.5 will feature the same suspension as the previous model using the McPherson strut bars in the front and the H-shape Torsion rods at the rear. The use of the H-shape torsion rods enables maximum space for the rear seats as well as the boot while also providing a firm, agile and comfortable ride.
Braking in the Honda Jazz is also good as it uses a pair of front ventilated disc brakes and rear solid disc brakes. Another criticism of the Honda range of cars was that they had a low ground clearance and with Indian roads being as they are this was a real deterrent to buyers. The Jazz has a good ground clearance of 150mm and this should also please potential buyers.
New 2011 Honda Jazz Styling
Styling and design has never been a flaw with any Honda vehicle and it is here that Honda overtakes its rivals. The exterior styling of the Jazz remains the same with a few badge details that depict it as the 1.5 liter version. The Jazz incorporates a completely modern design and innovatively makes use of space to provide maximum head and leg room.
From the outside the Jazz may look like a smallish vehicle but Honda has expertly used its refining ability as well as reliability to make use of all available space. The exterior styling of the Jazz is unmatched and has enabled it to win multiple ‘Car of the Year’ awards in many countries including India. The typical sharp lines and bold curves blend in seamlessly to make each aspect of the car flow into each other.
The hood is emblazoned with the typical ridge and the sharply shaped headlights supplement the steep windshield. The front grille is higher up than usual and is reminiscent of the CR-V.
The interiors of the Jazz are the real talking point and offer one of the most spacious options in its class. The cabin easily fits five passengers as well as ample luggage while providing loads of head and leg room. The interior of the Jazz is well planned and executed with the usual array of buttons and knobs being big, easy to use and ergonomically positioned to provide maximum driver and passenger comfort.
The dashboard of the Jazz is also likely to look like that of the Civic and the view from the front cabin is nice and high. This allows the driver to get a clear view of anything ahead and the steering wheel and seat adjustment allows any driver to get a comfortable position. The front seats are also very comfortable and provide really good cushioning and lots of support to both front occupants. The steering wheel is equipped with the usual audio and climate buttons.
The new Honda Jazz also comes equipped with rear 60:40 foldable seats that are very comfortable and spacious. The base of the rear seats also fold upwards and allow tall items to be placed at the back.
The Jazz also lives up to Honda’s reputation for safety and features a host of safety features like dual front and side airbags, parking sensors, fog lamps, electronic brake distribution, anti-brake stability and electronic stabilization program. Honda also incorporates their G-Force Control Technology (G-CON) and Advanced Compatibility Engineering Body (ACE) into the Jazz and this provides a survival zone of high integrity in case of an accident.
Other safety features available as optional in the Honda Jazz include seat belt pretensioners, ECU immobilizer, driver side Auto Pinch Guard and active Headrests.
Pricing and Recommendations
Honda has been trying to arrest the decline in sales of the Jazz since 2009 and it looks like the time spent at their research center may pay off. They have finally made the required changes to the car that will allow it to be marketed better to Indian audiences. According to the Director of Marketing for Honda Siel Cars India Ltd, Mr. Tatsuya Natsume, who said “We are delighted to expand the choice of variants for our customers of Jazz. The new variant is a result of extensive customer feedback and will offer sporty looks, enhanced interior and exterior styling, and exhilarating driving experience.”
The new Jazz comes with additional features like alloy wheels, front mud guard and rear parcel tray that will no doubt make it more competitive in the market. The price will still be a factor and we will have to wait and see if the new Jazz 1.5 is as steeply priced as other Honda models. This is what is going to make or break it in the Indian market.
Saying that, Honda has finally incorporated the required changes in the Jazz and this should definitely make customers at least walk into Honda showrooms looking to test out the Jazz. Hopefully this will stem the fall in sales and provide a second wind to the ailing model.
2011 Honda Jazz 1.5 India Specifications and Price
Vehicle Category: Hatchback
Engines (petrol): 1.5 L, 4-cyl, i-VTEC, 118 HP, 145 Nm torque
Drive train: Front engine, 5 passenger, 5-door hatch, FWD
Transmissions (standard): 5-speed manual
0-100 kph: 11.1 sec (est.)
Mileage city/hwy (petrol): 11.2 / 13.8 kmpl
Honda Jazz price in India: Rs.8 – 11 lakhs(est.)