Car Test   R0237
May 2002
  Honda Jazz
Printer Friendly Page featured model 1.4SE Sport (5 door)
Honda’s stop-gap supermini was a flop – the Logo was no go. However, it’s successor, the Jazz (known as Fit in Japan), promises to be the real thing – a big player in the B-segment, dominated by Fiesta, Fabia, Yaris et al.
   Clever packaging, thanks to the short-nose/tall build design, gives spacious accommodation. While rear legroom isn’t anything to write home about (it’s no match for several rivals’, for example), kneeroom, headroom and footspace are all generous. There’s also enough width for three in the back with a trio of “proper” seatbelts.
   Then there’s the Jazz’s nifty party piece. Thanks to the fuel tank’s central location, there are two different ways of folding the 60/40 divided back seat. This so called “magic seat” will tip forwards to create a completely flat load floor or, with cushions raised (like cinema seats), open up a spacious load area in the middle of the car. This elegant arrangement is clever, because you still have the seats with you if needs be.
   The front seats aren’t soft, but give the sort of posture support we really appreciated on longer trips. The Jazz needs them because the suspension can’t quill the bumps on a typical British byway and we found the electric steering too heavily and uninformative; Honda’s twin Achilles’ heels – reflected in the Civic, as well.
   However, when it comes to (petrol) engines there’s nobody better and, sure enough, the Jazz has a gem! It’s an all-alloy, single-cam unit with two spark plugs per cylinder, plus variable valve timing.
   As expected, it gives both healthy acceleration with excellent fuel economy, as well as mechanical refinement. Indeed, there should be a higher-geared version in the line-up, to exploit its economy potential more the unit’s low-speed manners would make this no hardship.
   In fact, there is a CVT automatic imminent, which will inevitably result in longer striding overall gearing – a prospect we relish.
   One of the nice things about the Jazz is the generous level of equipment and trim even on the “basic” S version – with identical power units, as well. Our choice would be the mid-range SE, however – for the extra Ł1300 you get some really worthwhile enhancements inside, including both sunroof and air conditioning.
   Careful fit and a good finish (so long as you like dimpled plastic) give the cabin a quality feel and the underbonnet appearance is pristine, too. Then there’s Honda’s reputation for reliability to consider, as well.
  considering size, price and rivals
Overtaking Ability
Fuel Economy
  • low interior door sills-case egress
  • superb back seat folding arrangements
  • state-of-the-art sunroof
  • portable ashtray/pot - holds a mobile
  • roof and cargo deck lamps at the back
  • no anti-scuff nudge strips - just paint
  • rear headrests block view aft
  • not enough intermittent wipes
  • front extremities out of sight
  • indicators too quiet
This Honda supermini is Peugeot 206/Corsa-sized outside, so it’s shorter than later newcomers. Yet ingenious packaging and a semi-MPV profile have reaped significant accommodation benefits. Quite simply, all hatchbacks ought to have back seats that fold the Jazz way. It’s a pity, therefore, that it doesn’t ride or steer as well as the best in class. Otherwise, there would be little to criticise.

engine 1339cc, 4-cylinder, petrol, 82bhp at 5700rpm, 88lbft at 2800rpm; belt-driven single overhead camshaft, 8 valves   transmission 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive; 20.1mph/1000rpm in 5th, 16.7 in 4th
suspension front: independent damper/struts with integral coil springs. rear: torsion beam (dead) axle, coil springs.   steering electric power assistance; 3.6 turns lock-to-lock; 10.1m diameter turning circles between kerbs (17.1m for one turn of the wheel)
brakes ventilated discs front, drives rear, with anti-lock and brake assisted electronic controls   wheels/tyres 6inch alloy with 185/55R15V/on tyres SE Sport. (175/65R14 on 5.5inch steel wheels on S and SE versions); temporary steel spare

size and type 5-door (mid-priced) supermini   trim levels S, SE, SE Sport
engines petrol: 4 cylinder/1.35litre/82bhp.
  drive front-wheel drive, 5-speed manual; continuously variable automatic with 7-speed sequential manual mode available soon

HOW THE JAZZ 1.4SE SPORT COMPARES engine (cyl/cc/bhp) revs at 70mph (rpm) 30-70 through gears (sec) 30-70mph in 4th/5th gears (sec) fuel (mpg/CO2) brakes from 50mph (kg/m) maximum legroom - front (cm) typical leg/kneeroom - rear (cm) steering turns/circle (m) overall length (cm)
Honda Jazz 1.4SE Sport 4/1329/82 3400 12.7 20.3/27.1 45.5/134 14/27 107 95/74 3.6/10.1 383
Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 4/1199/75 3700 14.4 20.7/30.7 45/149 24/14 106 95/70 2.9/10.35 382
Renault Clio 1.4 16v 4/1390/98 3490 11.2 18.0/27.5 42/160 12/27.5 107 94/64 2.8/109 381
Skoda Fabia 1.4 16v 4/1390/100 3690 109 20.0/28.3 40/170 27/24.5 109 100/72 2.8/10.25 396
Toyota Yaris 1.3 4/1299/85 3400 12.0 21.6/29.7 44/144 18/24.5 105 102/70 3.2/10.2 362
Rover 25 1.4E 4/1390/84 3360 13.0 24.9/36.7 39.5/162 25/28 107 97/70 3.0/10.3 399

Commanding driving position with therapeutic seat support and slick, switch-like gearchange. Clear, accurate dials, but gloomy and obscure in poor daylight. Prominent screen pillars and insufficient wiper sweep
Alert, poised cornering by too heavy and inert steering response; Civic experience indicates this can vary from car to car - electronic steering suspect.
Ride turbulent more than harsh, but sweet engine, whether idling or cruising - all the way to 70mph. Seats make up for ride's deficiencies and heating/ventilation is impeccable. Very aimable as a town car.

Can sound like an angry bee when revved through the gears, but reluctant acceleration well up to par and remarkably flexible in low-speek pulling. Super gears and clutch.
  acceleration in seconds through gears 4th gear 5th gear
  20-40mph 3.8 9.2 12.3
  30-50mph 4.8 8.7 11.7
  40-60mph 6.0 9.9 12.9
  50-70mph 7.9 11.6 15.4
  30-70mph 12.7 20.3 27.1
  max speed in each gear (# using 5125rpm  * using 5850rpm for best acceleration)
     gear      1st*      2nd*      3rd*      4th*      5th
     speed (mph)      30      54      76      98      103#

Not quite up to Honda's optimistic claims, yet we're entirely satisfied, in view of the acceleration abilable, too. Short-legged gearing makes it thirstier on the motorway, however.
  type of use (air conditioning off) AA test (mpg) 
    urban (17mph average/heavy traffic) 32
    suburban (27mph average/6.4 miles from cold start) 40
    motorway (70mph cruising) 39.5
    cross-country (brisk driving/20 miles from cold start) 47
    rural (gentle driving/20 miles from cold start) 56.5
    overall mpg 45.5
    realistic tank capacity/range 36/360
    official mpg (urban/extra urban/combined) 38.7/55.4/48.7
    CO2 emissions 137g/km
    car tax band B

Excellent tally of injury-prevention features, with a 4 star NCAP rating on the cards; kinder to pedestrians, too. Brakes have nice progression (braker assist works as well), but best stop disappointing.
  from 50mph (with brake assist/ABS)
This model has not yet been
tested by EURO NCAP
pedal load     stopping distance
unhurried 10kg     29m
sudden 14kg     27m best stop
+4kg ie 18kg     27m
fade resistance/consistency    
Euro NCAP = European New Car Assessment Programme: independent crash safety tests evaluating protection for occupants and pedestrians in an offset frontal collision, side impacts and pedestrian strike conditions
click here for more NCAP details/test results etc.

Back seat folding is indeed magic! It's all so easy to achieve, and exposed nether regions are fully trimmed. Boot space bigger than rivals', with a roller blind. The price is only a "space saver" spare.
  in centimeters (5 door hatch)
  length 383
  width - including mirrors 188
    - mirrors folded 168
  height 153 (no roof bars)
  load sill height (inside/outside) 15/63
  turns lock-to-lock 3.6
  turning circle (metres) 10.1
  easy to park/garage?
  front - legroom 82-107
    - headroom 94-97S
  rear - typical legroom 95
    - typical kneeroom 74
    - headroom 94
    - hiproom 127
  load area
  load space(all seats in use)
(litres/cu ft)
  load length 64-146
  load length to facia 235
  load width 101-130
  Load height (to shelf/to top of aperture) 56/90
S with sunroof

A good tally of features - most are also on base model which is even more impressive. Key-locked fuel filler is OK once you've got the knack - but don't lose the key!
central locking  
remote control  
remote window closing  
alarm (perimeter/interior)   
static self locking   
two-stage unlocking   
attack-resistant glass   
AA load area security rating
=standard    =option    =not available
NCSR - "theft of" not available
NCSR - "theft from" not available
NCSR = New Car Security Ratings: a 1 to 5 star system which rates anti-theft protection, both of the car itself and the theft of valuables from within the car
Visit for more details
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