One of the first cars that I ever drove was a Honda Civic and compared to the other cars my family had at the time, I loved its feel. In this regard, I had high expectations for the Jazz. My initial doubts were not just about its size, but about how functional it can be for someone like me—a daily driver, likely to be caught in traffic 80 percent of time, with an allergy towards tight parking spaces and with little patience towards road hoarders.
When the 2018 Honda Jazz VX Navi pulled up, the first thing that came to mind was: this was the way a small hatchback should be: rounded edges, a subtle dip on the hood, an ample (but shapely) backside, and for the lack of a better word, small. It’s also worth noting that the “classic” Honda frontage is back—ending an entire generation of experiments that made the Jazz look anywhere between a droopy eagle or a Transformer that skipped quality control.
From the get-go, the physical exterior looked solidly well-built, as one would expect from any Honda vehicle. I was expecting the inside to be as (sub) compact as it seemed to be so imagine my surprise when I opened the door, got behind the driver’s seat, and realized how much room there actually was. Color me impressed.
Impressed, because for a small car, there was a lot of room to go for. The front seats cradle you almost like buckets with great levels of support, while the rear seats actually have Premium Economy-levels of space (well, Business Class if you fly PAL). In addition, the backseats fold and contorts in all sorts of ways affording you more cargo space than your average hatchback or even small SUV.
These are important elements that made the Jazz a practical choice. While sub-compacts are ideal for solo drivers, the wide interior allows seating of four normal-sized individuals or five petite ones. The low loading height and regularly-cut trunk space means it can fit one medium-sized luggage and one carry-on trolley with the rear seats up. With the seats down, it can take two medium-sized luggage with room for smaller bags.
Then, there’s the driving. The 2018 Jazz performed as you’d expect from a truly modern Honda. Though the 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine’s shove is gradual, there’s enough power for it to be classified as “peppy.” This, along with its light and controlled steering allows any driver to easily transition from slow-moving traffic to highway speed without compromising ride and control. This baby hatchback is solidly built.
There are some areas for improvement though. First, is its suspension. While it runs well on smooth roads, it tends to stiffen up when going over uneven surfaces. Sometimes, a jolt or two would enter the cabin unfiltered. Next up, fuel economy could be better. Although the route took it mostly through traffic jams (average speed of 11 km/h), the computer read out stayed at 7.5 km/L—rather poor for a small, supposedly frugal car.
Overall, I would rate the 2018 Honda Jazz VX Navi a four out of five. The exterior, especially in this shade of Modern Steel Metallic is premium while the interior gave it the right updated feel. It’s also well-built and roomy.
While the Jazz may be designed to support the mobile lifestyle of solo drivers or young couples, it also makes for a great first car. It goes back to what makes the Honda experience so great. Besides the upgraded features, it retains what is most important: offering today’s drivers a well-built vehicle that helps build their confidence on the road over time. That is what the Jazz can provide: a car that is easy to use, maneuver, and park; in a fresh, modern style that you won’t easily tire of.
Words by Gen Tiu
2018 Honda Jazz VX Navi
|Ownership||2018 Honda Jazz VX Navi|
|Year Introduced||2014 (Updated: 2018)|
|Vehicle Classification||Sub-compact Hatchback|
|Body Type||5-door Hatchback|
|Engine / Drive||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I4|
|BHP @ rpm||120 @ 6,600|
|Nm @ rpm||145 @ 4,800|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 91~|
|Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed||7.5 km/L @ 11 km/h|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,062|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Torsion Beam Axle|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Tires||Bridgestone Turanza ER370 185/55 R 16 H (f & r)|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes, with EBD|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Parking Sensors||No, with Rear Camera|
|Other Safety Features||Hill Start Assist|
|Steering Wheel Adjust||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Urethane|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, with Fold|
|# of Speakers||4|