The Honda Jazz, now into it’s third generation, is perhaps the Honda, above all others, that defines everything good and right about their cars in the public’s eyes as it is said to represent the last word in practicality and reliability. Owners can’t get enough of the Jazz as the car works it’s charms over a longer period of time and a good Honda Jazz keeps it’s value well, as a quick check on the excellent AutoTrader will confirm. With second hand prices starting at around £700 for a high mileage ’53 plate 1.4 i-DSI SE model, rising incrementally depending on the mileage and general condition, there is certainly a Jazz out there to suit everyone. What then, is not to like?
So today, MotorMartin is spending time looking into the Honda Jazz phenomenon as the car’s charms are perhaps not too obvious at first glance and need a slightly longer appraisal. After all, put yourself in the position of a family driver back in 2002, if you were looking for a mid sized hatchback you went for a Focus or Astra as everyone had always done since records began. But for those in the know, when Honda announced to the World details of their all new first generation car, the order books starting filling fast.
When we look at what Honda themselves say about their creation it becomes quite clear why the Jazz caught people’s eye in the first place: The first-generation Fit (Jazz) revolutionized the concept of the compact car. Now in its third generation, the Fit once again sets the global compact automobile benchmark. While retaining the design concept of the original model, the third generation Fit features a completely redesigned powertrain and body and offers a whole new level of interior comfort, fuel economy, styling and driving performance.
From the above statement we get the first clues as to what first attracted such a wide and varied range of consumers towards their local Honda Showroom rather than that of the direct competition. The thing is, with a car like the Jazz, you need to know what’s important to the driver and their needs and what isn’t. MotorMartin has waxed lyrically about the styling and stance of the 1997 Honda Civic Type R on these very pages as part of Blacktopmedia‘s #HondaHappening week, concluding that as it looked so superb and, for the late 90’s, achieved Honda’s stated aim, that of creating a road-going racing car it was a true classic that will live long in the memory.
The Honda Jazz though, is every bit as revolutionary as the aforementioned Civic Type R, in fact, far more so than you may at first imagine. Where the designers and engineers did their stuff with the Type R all those years ago, the same attention to detail and innovative thinking was shown in abundance with the original Jazz. It’s perhaps the packaging of the Honda Jazz that was behind a lot of the positive reviews of the time and, for MotorMartin, it’s not difficult to see why.
And even now, in 2016, the original Honda Jazz still gives an overall impression of space and clever design. With room in the back for three adults, a myriad of storage options and clever seating options. The Jazz’s party piece however has got to be the luggage area. The rear seat back folds completely which gives a load space of up to 870 litres, large enough to carry a mountain bike upright with the front wheel removed. That however, is not all as the rear seat base also folds into a vertical position, which means that in the space behind the front seats the Jazz is able to carry the sort of loads that other cars would fear.
Owner of the Honda Jazz are certainly a mixed breed and can’t really be pigeonholed, from young families to older Honda fans, all are unanimous in praise of their favourite vehicle stating it’s reliability, flexible, spacious interior and surprisingly large boot as some of the many positives behind their love. Economy and efficiency are also high up on the list of the Jazz’s plus points as the 83bhp 1.4 i-DSI delivers up to 47.9mpg no matter what your driving style.
The thing with the Honda is that it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s ridiculously reliable, easy to drive, comfortable, practical and always there. It’s a faithful companion, something that can be relied upon during times of need. The Honda Jazz is not going to set the pulses racing in the manner of a Honda Type R and it’ll never make you turn around for one last look once you’re parked up but you know what? In MotorMartin’s opinion, that just does not matter. Honda never set out to reinvent the wheel with the Jazz, just to do what they often do best.
And that’s to give the customer exactly what they need.