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July 31, 2017

A Quick Baguio Getaway with the Honda City, Jazz, and Mobilio

From the confines of Manila’s busy streets to the tight roads of Baguio City, the three newest offerings of Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI)—the 2018 City, Jazz, and Mobilio passed their first road trip test with flying colors.

Previewed a week before the actual 300-plus kilometer drive, everyone finally got to see the new exterior and interior updates packed in each vehicle up close. HCPI’s newly appointed President and General Manager, Mr. Noriyuki Takakura pointed out that these upgrades were meant to satisfy the Filipino car buyer.

“The stylish exterior, interior and feature upgrades, spacious and flexible interior, and advanced safety features of the new City, new Mobilio, and new Jazz aim to serve the needs of the Filipino Customers,” said Mr. Takakura during his opening remarks.

Indeed, each of these vehicles received a tweaked design that not only modernize their look, but also aligns them to Honda’s new global identity. Like the Civic which pioneered the look, the City, Jazz, and Mobilio all get a more emphasized Solid Wing motif. It’s the Jazz though that gets the lion’s share of the attention by getting a new variant altogether: the RS. Now the top-of-the-line variant in Honda’s subcompact hatchback, it sprinkles added sportiness thanks to unique bumpers, wheels, and side mirror caps.

Apart from changes to the exterior, these models also receive timely upgrades that uplift the driving experience such as a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and plusher seat fabrics. The City and Jazz also gets a new interior decorative panel (now in gunmetal gray), instrument panel, and push-start button. The biggest change is reserved for the Mobilio. Not only does it receive an entirely new dashboard, but it also gets adjustable headrests for all 7 passengers.

After flagging off from Bonifacio Global City, the convoy crawled through EDSA onto the long stretches of NLEX (North Luzon Expressway), SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway), and TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway).

All three models share a similar drivetrain: a 1.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine. With such a modest displacement, they’re usually more adept at being relegated to stop-and-go traffic. Yet, thanks to a 120-horsepower output, which are best-in-class in terms of power in their respective categories, they’re able to take on long stretches of road just as well. They can cruise at triple digit speeds comfortably while remaining comfortably quiet. In fact, certain variants of the City and Jazz even come with the added benefit of cruise control enabling them to keep the speed gun at bay while returning fuel economy figures that peaked at 19 km/L.

As the expressways ended and the ascent to the City of Pines started, the City, Jazz, and Mobilio all had capable and secure handling even through the changeable weather conditions. Despite sharing a similar suspension setup: Independent MacPherson Struts upfront and a Torsion Beam Axle at the back, there’s a difference at how they conducted themselves through the twisty, single-lane road going up.

The Jazz is undeniably the sportiest of the bunch with precise steering and predictable behavior even at full suspension road. With almost no overhang to speak of, it turns on a dime and transitions through the S-bends effortlessly. It’s a tad noisier at speed, but not to the levels that would be considered as uncomfortable. In comparison, the City and Mobilio trades a bit of that precision for added ride comfort and quietness. It remained plush through rough patches of road, absorbing them with the exception of the largest ruts. All of the models were equipped with the Earth Dreams CVT transmission. It takes a bit more wringing to get the convoy going at a fast pace (the paddle shifters do help), but it short work of the high-altitude climb nonetheless.

Certain variants even offer Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) to keep them pointed in the right direction. Considered as a holistic system, it integrates features such as anti-lock brakes (ABS with EBD), traction control (TCS), and even hill start assist (HSA). It helps stabilize a car during cornering if it turns more or less than desired. It also assists in maintaining traction while accelerating through loose or slippery road condition. VSA does this by regulating engine output and/or selectively applying the brakes. For this particular drive though, there was no need for this as the mechanical grip provided by the chassis was more than enough.

Aside from its refreshed styling, capable drivetrain, and secure handling, what continues to set this Honda trio apart is its unbeatable flexibility and practicality. Not only do they provide a surprising amount of interior room for their size, but they can easily swallow a number of cargo. The City, for instance, has 536 liters of cargo space despite its fixed rear seat. The Jazz adds the unique ULTR (Utility-Long-Tall-Refresh) to the mix while the Mobilio boasts of a 60/40 split-folding-reclining-tumbling-sliding second row and 50/50 split-folding-tumbling third row.

This Baguio road trip experience only proves that the City, Mobilio, and Jazz remain well-rounded vehicles for their class. Not only could they be a no-nonsense, frugal daily commuter, but they can be a fun, capable road trip companion as well. With their newest refresh, not only do they continue to offer unparalleled levels of spaciousness and practicality, but they do so with new and refreshed aesthetics. Now, it seems, is the best time to buy a Honda.


  1. Ang Tunay na Lalake Honda City, Honda Jazz and Honda Mobilio ang kotse mo! Ibalik ang Bagsik!!! Bravo Biscuit!!

    Masarap ang buhay, itodo ang arangkada ng walang palya. Broom Broom. Bravo Biscuit, ang bagsik mo!


  2. test the car with a 1 cavan (50kgs.) of rice as cargo at the trunk and 2-3 pax inside... see how the car/engine behaves...

    1. It seems that you personally haven't driven any of the said car above.

      With your statement, it implies that you are underestimating the power of 1.5 engine of the three.

  3. I've driven the City thru steep curves and free straight highways full packed. It revs but at half only - power is always ready anytime its needed. Body roll on sharp corners is ok, the torque punches silently - because its a CVT, use the Sport mode on highway - magugulat ka gano ka-smooth ng akyat ng speed niya. Even trapped on mud, it easily got out. Galing ng engineering ng i-VTEC and combined and improved CVT.


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