|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
What’s New Outside?
The Honda Jazz driven and tested before was the 1.3 S (featured here). This time, we’ve been lent the range-topping 1.5 V. Clearly, it looks much more menacing, sporty, and fussy all at the same time. The 1.5 V rocks a “Sport Design” bumper front and aft complete with faux brake cooling ducts. It’s complemented by ten-spoke 16-alloys shod with 185/55 R 16 tires. The side turn signal indicators have also migrated to the side mirror while the grille and tailgate garnishes move a notch brighter from black to gunmetal gray. The overall impression the 1.5 V lends out is one of “Boy Racer” especially in this bright orange paintjob. Of course, looking young is probably part of its segment design prerequisites.
What’s Different Inside?
Like any range-topping model, the 1.5 V offers subtle but much deserved upgrades from the 1.3 S. The biggest difference is in the material of the seats which offer a sportier fabric over the regular fabric found in the 1.3 S. That aside, both driver and front passenger get vanity mirrors in their sun visors. And that’s about it.
Don’t fret though if you think that there isn’t much differentiation inside. The Jazz is still the best sub-compact in terms of space and ergonomics. The seats are highly supportive, the steering wheel offers excellent adjustment, and the controls are all within easy reach. If you need to spend two hours every day commuting in a car, take the Jazz. Plus, the reclining ULTRA seats are still magical up to now. Where else can you find luggage space in a sub-compact that actually matches a crossover?
What’s It Like to Drive?
The Honda Jazz even in 1.3-liter guise already feels like a good commuter car. The 100 bhp rating is more than enough for puttering along EDSA or even C5. However, there’s no replacement for displacement, and the 1.5-liter, with its 120 bhp rating, makes the Jazz a perfect car. It becomes an effortless companion during overtaking and with its 5-speed automatic with paddle shifters to boot; the Jazz is both fun and frugal at the same time. Stuck in the city, the 1.5 V easily manages 10.6 km/L and a remarkable 22.3 km/L on the highway.
Honda is mum about it, but the Jazz seems to have gotten a suspension revamp that went along this model refresh. The once crashy ride is now very sorted. The ride’s still on the firm side, but at least it doesn’t hurt when going over bumps, extension joints, and the like. Plus, it doesn’t scrape steep driveways (a common problem with the pre-refresh Jazz). The excellent visibility and light steering also makes it very easy to park.
What’s the Bottom Line?
At P 857,000, the Honda Jazz is on the pricier side of the sub-compact hatchback genre. In the same ballpark would be the likes of the Ford Fiesta 1.6 Sport+ (P 859,000) and Chevrolet Sonic 1.4 LTZ (P 838,888). The Jazz’s competitors sure are tempting given that they’re much newer and offer some stuff not found in the Jazz (Bluetooth hands-free and parking sensors to name a few), but at the end of the day, if you want a car that’s more substantial with sophistication that matches, get the Honda Jazz. And with the 1.5 V, you can’t go wrong.