Honda Jazz has already proven its credibility as a well-engineered compact hatchback that offers a roomy cabin and a reliable engine. Following Honda’s 'man maximum, machine minimum principle', the Japanese manufacturer became the first company to offer a CVT gearbox in a hatchback in India. But how good is the CVT gearbox and how does it performs when fitted inside an already refined car, we find in our Honda Jazz CVT test drive review.
Based on the Honda City's platform, the new Jazz replicates the current generation City when seen from the front angle. While Honda has replaced the big chrome grille with a matte finished grille to give it a sporty stance, everything else, including the headlights is similar. Moving on the side profile, Jazz mimics the Mobilio here and the MPV-like stance helps liberate plethora of space inside the cabin. While there's a lot of things happening on the front and the sides, unfortunately, Honda couldn't do much with the rear, and that's the angle you would hate to see her.
If the exteriors are ordinary, the interiors are nothing short of extra-ordinary, and no, we are not talking in terms of design or gizmos. It's the sheer space inside the cabin that can put any rival hatchback and some of the mid-size sedans to shame. Apart from the roomy cabin, the seats are also comfortable and there's ample cushioning for both the front and back seats. The magic seat option in the top variant lets you fiddle with seats in three different arrangement styles.
Speaking of the dashboard design, the cost-cutting measures are quite evident here too, and the dashboard is borrowed entirely from the City. The glossy center console, the touch screen AC panel and the instrument cluster, all look funky and modern. The overall built quality of the dashboard is strictly OK and not something brilliant, like some of the rivals offer. That said, the cabin gives you a welcome feel as soon as you step inside, making driving a breezy affair.
Engine, performance and gearbox
Now this is the section for which we are doing the review in the first place. The CVT gearbox comes only with a 1.2-litre petrol unit which produces a maximum power of 89 bhp. Delivering 19kmpl, the CVT gearbox is frugal enough and gives you a hassle free driving experience. Now this CVT comes with a torque converter and behaves like a typical CVT.
The rubber band effect is quite evident and as soon as you push the throttle, the cabin is filled with motor noise, which is not translated to the performance, and is completely opposite to how the petrol motor with the manual gearbox behaves. Then there's an option to manually shift the gears through the pedal shifters behind the steering, which quite frankly, disappoints us.
Overall, if you want to bring the best out of the CVT automatic gearbox, do not push the throttle too hard. Keep a sweet foot on the accelerator and give it a gradual nudge, with occasional foot-off the pedal. It's the only way to the let the CVT gearbox perform at its best. Performance wise, you will not get much out of the Jazz, if you are looking for a 0-100 kmph sprint.
Ride and handling
When it comes to Honda, you can be rest assured about the ride quality as the engineers from Japan work hard to make the Honda, a comfortable place to be in. Be it the high speed highway drive or the slow speed city drive, the Honda Jazz soaks the bumps rather well and only the worst condition roads could be felt in the cabin.
Handling is again one area where the Honda Jazz impressed us a lot and we liked the way it handles while maneuvering through the city traffic. There's a bit of body roll during the high speed cornering and the fact that it is already not a performer due to the CVT gearbox, keener drivers will have to look elsewhere for thrills and performance.
Safety and features
Feature wise, the all-new Jazz comes loaded with a touchscreen infotainment system that comes with an obligatory Bluetooth connectivity and a navigation system (you need to insert a map chip). Then, there's a touch based automatic climate control, reverse parking camera, steering mounted controls and much more. Surprisingly a start/stop button is missing as is a switch for the central locking. In terms of the safety, two airbags as well as an ABS is offered in the top versions.
Honda has already won the hearts of the people who are looking for a compact hatchback with a cabin space that can put many sedans to shame. Adding to it the hassle free drive experience that the CVT gearbox provides, the all-new Honda Jazz is deemed to be a winner. The only downside though, is the rubber band effect that the CVT gearbox produces. If you are looking to buy a premium hatchback with an automatic gearbox, the all-new Honda Jazz CVT is the car for you!