By Patrick James on 2016-02-20 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Honda Jazz 1.3
i-VTEC EX Navi CVT
YOU can't get a quart into a pint pot is the old saying, but, figuratively speaking, it is what most compact hatchback car designers are looking to do.
Maximise the space available, and then some. In the case of the Jazz supermini, the designers seem to have scored.
The all new car is evolution rather than revolution with its taller, lighter, reworked body shell which squeezes more space into the already sizeable interior.
It is powered by a single new 1.3-litre petrol engine with either six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission as fitted to this model.
There are some good looking superminis around and the bold, angular styling with large windscreen, neat light clusters puts it up there with the best.
This third generation model is 95 mm longer than its predecessor, with a wheelbase extended by 30mm. It has a new platform, new chassis and new suspension features for a better, more comfortable, yet dynamic ride.
In fact the interior space is remarkable with four adults having plenty of head and legroom and the rear occupants get 115mm extra legroom.
A centre-mounted fuel tank delivers extra interior space, while Honda's Magic Seats system is surely one of the most innovative on the market with a myriad of sliding and folding combinations to suit all shapes and sizes of cargo.
The could be from the full Monty of baby equipment, pushchairs and other paraphernalia to a business user carrying various box and sample shapes.
Total space is 354 litres, rises to 897 litres with seats folded, while a wide tailgate and low load height give easier access, particularly for those awkward loads.
The 60:40 split split seats configurations include: Utility, Tall, Long and Refresh modes - the latter, where the front seat back reclines to a flat position meeting the rear seat base to create a 1,580 mm-long ‘couch', enabling occupants to sit in the rear and literally put their feet up after a long journey.
There are dozens of combinations, which means you can almost get a quart into a pint pot.
In addition there are a number of other storage solutions including two large-size cup holders in the front and a centre box in the front arm rest that is large enough to accommodate a computer tablet.
The interior has a classy feel with soft materials throughout and a futuristic looking dash and instrument layout. The dark trim is nicely complemented with polished chrome detailing.
The centrepiece is a seven-inch central touchscreen which controls navigation, connectivity and infotainment systems and on higher spec models, Honda's new in-car infotainment system, Honda Connect. This allows for internet browsing, traffic and weather updates and access to internet music stations. It also houses the Garmin sat nav system, one of the best and easiest to use.
The driver's side dash features an instrument binnacle with three dials, each of which is encircled with ‘floating' illumination rings. Honda's ECO Assist function changes the backlight colour of the speedometer from white to green during fuel-efficient driving.
The 102ps 1.3 litre i-VTEC petrol engine is from Honda's Earth Dreams Technology series and is a fuel-efficient unit with just enough pace to stop you interested
The automatic version is the most fuel efficient but I have to say I am not a fan of continuously variable transmission.
The constant whine of the stepless CVT under acceleration can be draining and it is slow to get going. Switch to Sport mode and it is slightly livelier and you can use steering wheel mounted paddles to hurry things along.
But it is the economical and capable of delivering a claimed 61mpg and emissions of just 106g/km. I would probably opt for the manual, but if you want better economy and don't like shifting a gearstick then the CVT is the option.
The car handles sweetly enough with a firm but comfortable ride. The cabin is well insulated generall.
There are three basic trim levels, S, SE and EX, while SE and EX are also offered in more expensive Navi version, driven here, with the satellite navigation.
Honda Jazz 1.3 i-VTEC EX Navi CVT
Mechanical: 102ps, 1,318cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 113mph
0-62mph: 12.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 57.6
Insurance Group: 13
C02 emissions: 114g/km
Bik rating: 17%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles
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