2017 Honda Jazz Review

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2017 Honda Jazz Review

Priced From $14,990Information

Overall Rating


4 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

4 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

4 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

3 out of 5 stars


4 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProRoomy and versatile interior; base price; five-year warranty.

  2. ConBusy styling; ordinary handling.

  3. The Pick: 2017 Honda Jazz VTi 5D Hatchback

What stands out?

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The drawcard for the Honda Jazz city car has always been its ability to swallow luggage, courtesy of its box-shaped body and clever flip-folding seats. It also has a very good infotainment interface (standard on even the keenly priced Jazz VTi), a frugal engine with plenty of power, and a five-year warranty.

What might bug me?

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That you have to plug in an iPhone to get satellite navigation. There is no other way to have integrated sat-nav on a Jazz.

That the steering and handling falls short of the superb standard set by the Honda you owned in the 1990s (or earlier).

Driving at less than 80km/h on the space-saver spare until you can fix your full-sized flat tyre.

What body styles are there?

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Five-door hatchback.

The Jazz drives its front wheels, and it is classed as a light car, lower priced.

What features does every Jazz have?

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Air-conditioning, cruise control, power-adjusted exterior mirrors, and LED projector beam headlights.

A hill-start assist system, which operates the brakes automatically to make take-offs on hills easier.

A multi-information display for the driver that presents the average fuel consumption, range-to-empty and outside temperature, and a programmable speed alarm.

Steering wheel controls for the audio system, a Bluetooth phone and the cruise control. A Siri eyes-free voice command function.

A 6.1-inch colour touchscreen interface for the Bluetooth phone and audio, with MP4 movie play facility, an HDMI port, and Aux and USB sockets.

A multi-angle reversing camera that offers normal, wide and top-down views.

Aluminium alloy wheels, which unlike steel wheels don’t need a plastic cover to make them look nice. A space-saver spare wheel.

Six airbags: two directly in front of the driver and front passenger; one alongside each front occupant to protect the upper body; and a curtain airbag on each side covering the front and rear side-windows.

Electronic stability control, which can help the driver to control a skidding car. All new cars must have this feature.

Every Honda Jazz carries a five-year, unlimited distance warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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There is only one engine in the Honda Jazz, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder that uses 5.8 litres/100km with automatic transmission, on the official combined cycle test, and slightly more in manual form. That figure places the Jazz among the thriftiest of light cars. And it has plenty of power.

The auto transmission is a continuously variable type (CVT). The manual gearbox is a five-speeder, and offered only in the least costly model, the VTi.

(Power outputs and all other Jazz specifications are available from the Cars Covered menu, under the main image on this page.)

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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Spend more for a Jazz VTi-S and you get air-conditioning that maintains a set temperature, and a leather trimmed steering wheel and gear lever. Exterior aesthetics are enhanced with side skirts and foglights. And the alloy wheels grow an inch in diameter to 16 inches, with the tyre sidewalls shrinking slightly to compensate – again mainly to provide a sportier look.

The most costly Jazz, the VTi-L, has leather appointed seats, with seat heaters in the front. A smart key allows you to unlock the car while the key remains secure in your pocket or bag. There are rear parking sensors and a tailgate-mounted spoiler.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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No item of extra equipment has a drawback in itself, but it all comes at great additional cost. The Jazz VTi’s excellent value dissipates as you progress to the VTi-S and VTi-L.

Of eight paint colours offered for the Jazz, just one – Rallye Red – is standard. Sky Blue, among other metallic and pearlescent hues, costs about $500 extra.

How comfortable is the Honda Jazz?

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The Jazz is quite comfortable to drive and ride in, although how comfortable depends on where you drive it.

The suspension is good at dealing with urban speed humps and smoothing out patchy arterial roads. However, over the different kinds of bumps and surfaces encountered on country trips, it struggles to isolate occupants from the road and is relatively noisy.

From a seating and ergonomic viewpoint, the Jazz has much more going for it. A tilt and reach adjustable steering column and simple yet supportive front seats, with height adjustment for the driver, promote a comfortable position for the driver and front passenger.

The Jazz’s cabin materials are of good quality, including the dash plastics, fabric or leather seat trim, and carpet. The design of the dash itself is quite neat, headlined by the appealingly crisp colour touchscreen.

What about safety in a Jazz?

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Every Honda Jazz achieves a safety rating of Excellent.

Equipment contributing to this result includes its standard hill-start assist system, voice command function and comprehensive reversing camera.

The forward location of the Jazz’s A-pillars (those either side of the windscreen) and large, downward tapering front side windows allow good vision for tight corners and roundabouts, increasing primary safety. Door-mounted exterior mirrors aid vision in the same driving conditions.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) awarded the Honda Jazz its maximum five-star rating for safety, in January 2015.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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You will enjoy the Honda Jazz on a practical level, because it is so light and easy to drive. It makes an effortless city car.

However, if you like driving in the sense that most car enthusiasts do, that will be the limit of the enjoyment you get from the Jazz.

The Jazz’s steering stands out as the weak point. It is too light, and lacks both precision and a sense of connection with the road.

The suspension feels composed on smooth roads, but on lumpier surfaces it loses its balance – especially if the Jazz encounters bumps in the middle of a corner.

The engine offers very good power and performance for a light car, but can’t make up for the fact that the Jazz is not a sporty steer.

The CVT auto can be manually operated using gear-shift paddles behind the steering wheel, which makes it more fun than some conventional automatics.

How is life in the rear seats?

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The Jazz’s rear seat accommodation is good to great by comparison with other light cars. In its favour are decent legroom and generous headroom.

The Jazz’s rear floor tapers upwards, which provides a comfortably angled surface for rear occupants to place their feet on. The slope accommodates the Jazz’s fuel tank, which is in the centre of the car under the floor.

Uniquely, the Jazz has a two-setting adjustment for the rear backrest angle, though the more upright setting is the more comfortable of the two. The rear seat base offers good under-thigh support.

The seat can carry three passengers, with lap and sash belts for all.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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The Jazz is excellent at carrying stuff – Honda built the model’s reputation on capacious flexibility, and that reputation lives on in the current, third-generation car.

The Jazz’s rear cargo area is quite big, at 350 litres, and Honda’s ‘Magic Seats’ mean you can expand the total luggage area to an enormous 1492 litres. Yes, it can swallow a bicycle easily.

In addition to folding away to create a flat cargo floor, the rear seats can be flipped up to liberate tall space for luggage in the area usually occupied by rear passengers.

There’s more space available behind the Jazz’s back seats – and more options for reconfiguring the seats – than in any rival.

Where is the Honda Jazz made?

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The Honda Jazz is manufactured in Thailand.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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The effortless low-speed accelerator pedal response of turbocharged light cars, such as the Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo.

An extra gear in the five-speed manual VTi. Many light car rivals offer six-speed manual gearboxes, improving responsiveness and fuel economy and reducing noise when cruising.

The latest active safety features, such as automatic emergency braking. This is standard on every Mazda2, for example, and optional on every Toyota Yaris.

The ability to show apps from your smartphone on the touchscreen and control them from there, via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The Polo, Suzuki Swift and Kia Rio support this, for example.

The Rio has an even longer warranty, at seven years.

Other light cars worth considering include the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent. You might also look at the Suzuki Ignis micro-SUV.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

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Yes – the Jazz VTi is our pick of the line-up. It is very well equipped for the money. The VTi-S and VTi-L, although they offer appealing equipment, cost too much to be obviously worth the jump.

Are there plans to update the Jazz soon?

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The current Honda Jazz arrived in the middle of 2014. Towards the end of 2016 the standard 7.0-inch touchscreen was replaced with a slightly smaller unit, and in February 2017 alloy wheels were extended to the Jazz VTi. From July 2017, Honda extended its warranty period to five years.

Honda has announced a facelift for the Jazz, with the first cars due late in August 2017. The major change will be the reinstatement of a 7.0-inch central touchscreen on all models (up from 6.1 inches), with USB and HDMI ports. The more expensive Jazz VTi-S and VTi-L will have satellite navigation, and headlights on the VTi-L will use long-lived and very bright LEDs for both high and low beam. The least costly Jazz, the VTi, will revert to steel wheels with plastic covers and all-halogen headlights. Cosmetic changes inside and out extend to new bumpers front and rear and revised alloy wheel designs.