Posted on May 21, 2018
Date of Release: January 2018
Number of Reviews 1
Improved engine technology, performance-inspired design, enhanced driving dynamics and class-leading safety innovations. Meet the 2018 Honda Jazz Sport.
On the exterior, the 2018 Jazz Sport offers a bolder and more energetic styling that accentuates its mature appeal. In addition, the distinguished front end and redesigned bumpers (front and rear) hint at the vehicle’s dynamic performance.
Brought to life by a sporty 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that is coupled with a CVT transmission: In terms of power, it produces 97kW with a maximum torque of 155Nm. All-in-all, it offers a smooth and refined ride quality to provide a healthy balance between power and fuel consumption.
In terms of protection and safety, the Jazz Sport ticks all the right boxes. Standard safety features include: six airbags, ABS brakes with EBD, Vehicle Stability Assist VSA and Hill Start Assist (HSA).
Date reviewed: 2018-03-02 14:00:00
The new Honda Jazz range was launched in SA at the start of 2015. Up until now, the range consisted of four main derivatives:
In what we think was a smart move, Honda SA recently replaced the Dynamic model as their flagship variant, with the new Honda Jazz Sport. The Jazz Sport was launched at the same time as brand’s halo car, the all-new Honda Civic Type R (read our full review on this mighty hot hatch here), introducing some much needed, sporty freshness to overall Honda line-up. Elaborating on our “smart move” notion, in our opinion, far too many brands barely separate their flagship variants from the rest of the range. Adding in a set of fog lamps here and a few interior features such as automatic climate control simply isn’t enough – the flagship still strikes you as the same car. The same cannot be said for the new Honda Jazz Sport – it’s clearly different from the rest of the range – an obvious flagship and that’s something we quite like!
The Jazz Sport has all the same features the old Dynamic variant had and more. Add value comes in the form of:
So when you consider that Honda SA kept the price steady at R310k, it actually offers up great value! Or does it? The compact hatch sector is highly competitive and things get even tougher when you compare what you can get at the R310k mark. One car that instantly springs to mind (and it just happens to come from SA’s leading passenger car retailer) is the all-new VW Polo 1.0T Highline DSG (read more about this range in our VW Polo beats review here). This brilliant little car retails for R302 200. However, in reality, that’s a base price and when you buy a VW, you will almost never pay the base price. Its warranty and service plan is also inferior compared to the Jazz’s.
Whilst the new Polo is a good looking car (excluding R-line package and LED lights – which are, you guessed it, optional extras), its exterior styling doesn’t even come close to the “WOW” look of the new Jazz Sport. If you’re an individual that likes to express their character via their outward appearance, then you and the Honda Jazz might have been separated at birth. It’s so impressive, that this little car still holds its own when parked alongside the “loudest” car in SA – the Type R.
Exterior styling highlights include:
Overall, the Jazz Sport has a low and wide look, the same design language the Honda designers apply to the Civic Type R. We think it looks great – a definite factor as to why you would buy this car over its competitors.
The sporty theme continues to the inside of the car. Interior styling highlights include:
As we said, it’s a car that looks small on the outside but feels big on the inside. It’s pretty much full-house but unfortunately doesn’t include features like, auto-headlights, auto-rain wipers and finally, a self-tinting rear-view mirror.
Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room… Is it sporty? In a word. No. It’s not. That said, it’s definitely no slouch. The CVT gearbox and 97kW 1.5l naturally aspirated (this means the engine is not assisted by a turbo) engine need a second or two to get in their sweet spot, but when they do, the car accelerates nicely. You literally notice how quickly the speedo needle climbs. The problem for us is that you have to watch the speed climb, you don’t feel it. And that’s what you want from a sporty car – a car that sounds and feels quick. The drive does become a bit more engaging when you switch the CVT (continuously variable transmission – essentially another type of automatic gearbox) box into sports mode, however, the box still feels a bit slippy and therefore detracts from that feeling of being in complete control of the car. In terms of aggressive driving, the ride and handling struggle to keep up. Everyday driving on the other hand, it feels spot on which is why Honda choose to go CVT box vs. a manual gearbox. They are catering for the bulk of the market, whose driving needs are dominated by city and suburb roads.
It’s for this reason, the car felt a bit schizophrenic to us. It looks like the real deal in terms of a sporty, baby hot hatch. And, whilst we said it’s not slow, sportiness is so much more than just straight-line speed – the Jazz Sport just lacks the performance you would expect based on its exterior styling and name. If driver engagement and handling are important to you, then owning the Honda Jazz Sport would be like going to your favourite pop star concert, only to realise they are lip-synching throughout the entire performance.
If looks and practicality are high up on your agenda, then you would be wise to consider this car. We certainly enjoyed attending its launch, but let’s try to imagine how it would be like to live with on an everyday basis. This is how we rated the MY18 Honda Jazz Sport against our hatchback lifestyle judging criteria:
In conclusion, we’re happy that Honda introduced the new Jazz Sport. They have broadened the appeal of this great little car massively! Perhaps the name is slightly misleading - one could argue that the Sport alludes mostly to the car’s impressive styling. Who knows, perhaps Honda will one day launch a Honda Jazz Type-R that could compete with likes of your Polo GTI’s and Ford Fiesta ST’s. Performance aside, if style and practicality are important to you, then the Jazz Sport provides a fresh, exciting alternative in the market. Backed by an impressive 5-year warranty / 4-year service plan / 3-year AA roadside assist, this car is well worth a test drive!
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