New Honda Jazz gets

sporty

Honda Jazz Sport, 2018, front
Honda Jazz Sport, 2018, front, action
Honda Jazz Sport, 2018, side
Honda Jazz Sport, 2018, side, action
Honda Jazz Sport, 2018, rear, action
Honda Jazz Sport, 2018, interior
Honda Jazz Sport, 2018, display screen
Honda Jazz Sport, 2018, Magic seats
Honda Jazz Sport, 2018, boot

SINCE the first Honda Jazz hatchback arrived in Britain back in 2001 it's become the staple diet new car buy for thousands of the ‘grey brigade' - better known as retired folk -who want a genuine spacious but practical sized five-door that's also economical to run.

The Japanese car maker though is hoping to now bring the age profile down a little with their latest and third generation Jazz by sprucing up its looks with a more sporty appearance along with some new on-board technology and adding a 1.5-litre 128bhp petrol engine.

These sporty tweaks really turn the Jazz into more of a warm hatchback rather than a so-called hot hatch so it won't upset the traditional more mature buyer but, Honda hopes it will widen its appeal to younger drivers.

The new look includes a sportier grille and LED lights at the front, gloss black 16-inch alloy wheels, side skirts and a rear spoiler but some new body colours, like the option of some stunning metallic finishes.

To help pep up its younger image Honda engineers have come up with a new 1.5-litre engine - the previous 1.2-litre 101bhp petrol engine stays but there's still no diesel contender - that will produce 128bhp at 6,600rpm and offer plenty of pull.

There's a light but positive enough six-speed manual gearbox with electromechanically assisted steering which gives the driver plenty of feel and the car rides on traditional MacPherson front struts and a rear torsion beam making the ride comfortable with the new Jazz easily soaking up uneven and potholed roads.

The Jazz is clearly not a hot hatchback in the normal sense but it's performance is more than competent for those drivers looking for a bit more than the existing 1.2-litre alternative offers.

To gain the sportier performance the driver will need to use plenty of gear changing (0 to 62mph takes 8.2 seconds) but such is the light and quick gear change it makes light work of doing so and overall the Sport edition handles securely.

Ever since it first appeared one of the biggest plus points the Jazz has had over other superminis is its interior space and comfort levels and again the new model scores highly.

Back seat travellers in particular gain lots of head and leg room and the seats are more comfortable this time around.

The new Jazz retains Honda's unique ‘Magic Seat' system offering four setting for the rear seats while the 354 litres of boot space is about the best in class, extending to 897 litres when the rear seats are folded flat.

The interior remains as practical as ever and it's decently equipped for a car of this level with standard equipment that includes cruise control and more whilst on the Sport model there is a seven-inch Honda Connect infotainment system and rear view camera.

All new Jazz models - prices start at £14,115 for the S grade moving up to £15,615 for the SE - have ‘City Brake Active' to help stop low-speed accidents and overall this latest generation looks much nicer to the eye.

The new Sport version comes in at £17,115 so it will be a question for younger buyers to ask whether it's worth paying that bit more than the two lower grade models for a slightly sportier performance.

Those intent on a proper hot hatch will probably go to the established contenders in this sector but for those not quite into that tyre-squealing group this ‘warm' Jazz hatchback will fit the bill.

And it's good on economy rated at 47.9mpg with emissions of 133g/km.

Honda expect two-thirds of new Jazz buyers will still be private, retail buyers as against company car buyers and there's the prospect of buying a Sport on a PCP at £199 a month with a three-year 5.9 per cent agreement.

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