By Mike Torpey on 2019-03-23 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Honda Jazz 1.5
i-VTEC Sport Navi
THE Honda Jazz is a car of contradictions.
The perception has for years been one of little old ladies and sedate suburban driving, the reality is something rather different.
In fact you could make a strong argument to suggest that the blue rinse brigade are the last group of people you would expect to find in a model as jazzy as the new Jazz.
Sleek, swept back and road-hugging, it looks like a proper driver's car and even if the performance figures and throaty soundtrack aren't there you could be fooled into thinking there was some seismic activity going on beneath the bonnet.
Even the red accent line tracing the shape of the lower front grille and rear bumper hint at a sporty nature.
Of course our tested model, the Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC petrol variant in top spec Sport Navi trim, goes the whole hog with its cool-looking Berlina black alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights.
It has got as much safety, technology and entertainment kit as you could realistically cope with too, plus an engine that's new to the Jazz if not Honda.
It's a 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit from the Japanese brand's Earth Dreams shelf and while 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds isn't going to break any acceleration records, it does actually give an impression of speed when driven enthusiastically.
Handling around country lanes is quite taut as well, the damping is satisfactory over broken surfaces and most folk won't grumble at the average fuel return of 47.9mpg - realistically closer to 42mpg.
As for transmission, a CVT automatic gearbox is available but the standard six-speed manual is the one to go for.
Comfortably into its third generation and still scooping awards for reliability and customer satisfaction, one of the Jazz's strongest suits has traditionally concerned space.
Various rivals may make claims about class-leading cabin space and how they boast the Tardis factor, but the Jazz remains the player that calls the tune - courtesy of its roominess and versatility.
It comfortably seats five adults with ample room in the boot, while the company's Magic Seats allow the driver to create extra load space just by folding them down or flipping them up in a single movement.
So much so that there are four modes - Utility, Tall, Long and Refresh - for maximising the interior, which benefits from extra room anyway due to the car's centre-mounted fuel tank.
In addition to that there's a wide tailgate and low load height so access to the boot is easy, while four tie-downs mean luggage or shopping doesn't roll around.
The amount of safety gear is reassuring too, with the likes of autonomous braking, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and high-beam support all present.
As the name Sport Navi suggests there's Garmin navigation as part of an internet-enabled infotainment set-up along with seven-inch touchscreen with Honda Connect.
The latter has an app-based interface you can pinch, swipe and tap like on a smartphone and gives access to web browsing, traffic info, news, weather, social media and internet music stations.
And to encourage more efficient driving an ECO Assist changes the backlight colour of the speedo from white to green during fuel-efficient driving.
Steering wheel-mounted controls mean you can switch between info views for the likes of fuel economy, range and journey time, and the display will show interruption alerts when some of the safety systems have been triggered.
Honda Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC Sport Navi
Mechanical: 130ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Combined MPG: 47.9
Insurance Group: 133g/km
C02 emissions: 27%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles
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