Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jazz Gets Better with Age

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jazz Gets Better with Age

Article excerpt

The Auto Express judges can't get enough of the Honda Jazz. This is the third consecutive year it has triumphed in the supermini category ( if it continues to rack up honours at this rate, the Japanese manufacturer will have to buy a bigger trophy cabinet.

In the past, its Achilles' heel has been availability, but with every passing year more cars are finding their way on to the used market. So, as with a fine wine, it simply keeps getting better with age.

While it's available only as a practical five-door, the little Honda is attractively styled, and beneath its chunky exterior is a hard-wearing and versatile cabin. Clever folding rear chairs allow owners to turn any unused seats into additional carrying space, and enable the little Jazz to swallow surprisingly large quantities of luggage with ease.

Another virtue of the Jazz is its simplicity. With only two engines to choose from, you can't buy the wrong one ( they're both equally impressive. As a result, what could have been a weakness emerges as a major strength.

Both the 1.2 and 1.4-litre motors are capable of achieving 50mpg, so don't worry about the absence of a diesel.

Yet while the 1.4 DSI has been around since the Jazz was first introduced in 2001, the 1.2-litre powerplant only joined the line-up in 2004, so the smaller unit is much rarer.

All models provide good refinement, lively performance plus a smooth and precise gearbox.

However, it makes sense to hunt down a well specced SE or Sport rather than the entry-level S version ( the latter has to make do without air-conditioning.

It's also worth noting that from March 2003, the range was given a more supple suspension set-up. That doesn't mean you should ignore earlier cars, but their firmer ride is noticeable, so if you're looking at models dating from before this time, bear it in mind. From early 2004, all variants came with ABS brakes fitted as standard. …

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