Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Similar Tune, but Versatile Hatch Grooves to Better Beat

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Similar Tune, but Versatile Hatch Grooves to Better Beat

Article excerpt

THIS is the Jazz that Honda should have been selling when the third generation of the bubbly hatchback was launched in 2008.

Pricing realignment and some serious equipment upgrades have the pint-size Honda back in the small-car game.

And it's a game where there are plenty of heavy hitters.

Australians are gravitating to smaller cars and sports utility vehicles. If you're a marque Down Under and you don't have serious contenders in these classes, then forget big sales volumes a you're almost a niche brand.

And Honda desperately needs to catch a break.

For so many reasons, 2011 was a year to forget for the Japanese-based carmaker. The tsunami in Japan and flooding in Thailand caused havoc in its supply lines.

But with a new year there is a new enthusiasm and a renewed sales focusa[degrees] where the Jazz will play a pivotal role.

Comfort

The benefits of a wedge-style silhouette are appreciated once you step inside.

Many of the latest offerings have coupe lines at the rear, but the Jazz is square and it's a boon for those climbing in the back.

Four adults can be carted around with handy knee and headroom front and rear. Fitting three across the back seat would be a real squeeze.

The back seat could cause some discomfort over long journeys, but the front pews are nicely supportive.

Up front and its dash display is somewhat dazzling when you first get behind the wheel.

Like many others in the genre, and reflective of the sub-$20K price-tag, hard plastics are the choice of dash and console material. There are 10 cup holders, which double as handy nooks for various bits and pieces, as well as a double glovebox.

Drivers of all sizes will appreciate the telescopic steering wheel adjustment, and everything is nicely legible and within easy reach.

On the road

While there is a 1.3-litre petrol on offer, it's primarily a metro machine.

The 1.5-litre four-cylinder which powers the VTi Jazz is a much more useful unit.

Around town and on the highway it performs all duties without any fanfare, and sits at 100kmh on just over 2000rpm.

We sampled the four-potter mated to the five-speed automatic and while good in most circumstances, the Jazz can sound thrashy if you work it up hills or accelerate hard.

The steering is reasonably well weighted for a front-wheel drive but there is some body roll if you push things too hard in the corners.

Cruise control and audio buttons on the steering wheel provide key operations at your fingertips.

What do you get?

All new Jazzes have received LED tail lights and a mesh-style grille, but the VTi was on the receiving end of some much-needed specifications to make it more competitive.

Fifteen-inch alloys (with full-size alloy spare), Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, USB connectivity with full iPod/iPhone integration, sporty bumpers and side skirts, fog lamps and a gunmetal grey grille join other standard features such as air con, CD stereo, good trip computer and power windows. …

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