We drive the Honda Jazz Sport

A Jazzier Jazz…

Ah, the Honda Jazz. Previously, when one thought of the Honda Jazz, you might have associated it with older drivers behind the wheel. Like my grandmother, for example, who despite only having driven under 20 000 kms since its purchase in 2009, still claims that it’s her ‘saving grace’ when needing to get to bridge on time. (I’ve warned her about the dangers of speeding through golf estates, and thankfully no one has yet been harmed.)

While it may have been previously considered a vehicle for the more ‘mature’ demographic, Honda has now introduced the brand new Honda Jazz Sport, a ‘younger’ Jazz model to appeal to a wider range of consumers.

In fact, it was sporty enough for the automaker to launch it alongside the Civic Type R in South Africa, appropriate to the intention to elevate its status.

So when the Honda Jazz Sport arrived at our office, I was excited to see if it would still hold the attention of dear Gran, as well as mine.

Based on appearance alone, the Honda Jazz Sport sure fits the part of a sporty, younger, fresher model and I love the use of aggressive design and sport-specific styling that really exudes from its exterior. It’s also wider and holds a lower stance, while front and rear styling changes feature a sculpted front bumper, a new front splitter and gloss-black exterior mirror housings.

On the inside, a vibrant, full-house interior features a black-hued cockpit which has been revised to match its exterior. The Type-R-inspired red accent theme carries throughout the interior, with red-stitching on the seats, the console-mounted armrest and the leather-trimmed steering wheel.

Sport pedals are fitted as standard and in-line with its Type-R aspirations is the pushbutton start system and smart, keyless entry system.

“Well this is a Jazzy-looking Jazz, isn’t it?” Gran remarked in approval. To which, I have to agree. But just how Jazzy was it to drive?

Fair criticism has been made over the new Jazz’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox, suggesting that it lowered the vehicle’s intention to be sporty. But I found that even when driving around town, it didn’t do such a bad job at responding quickly on demand. Once on the open road, high revving is prevalent, along with extended noise, but it’s all easily managed once you’re used to its changing points.

The Jazz Sport’s dynamic intentions are suggested by a sub-10 seconds 0 – 100km/hour acceleration time, and if you’re worried about how that affects its fuel economy, a combined-cycle fuel consumption remains impressively efficient at the automaker’s acclaimed 5,6 litres/100 km. This, however, all changes when it’s driven in Sport mode for extended periods of time and your fuel gauge drops quicker than you’d like – but this is the case with most vehicles when driving in Sport mode.

Out on the highway, once you’ve pushed past the high revving and above 100 km an hour, the Jazz Sport shows its true colours. Type R-inspired driving dynamics suddenly appear, especially when you find yourself overtaking a large, slow-moving truck uphill. It’s a real show-off here, and if I was left with a jittering heart after its little sporty boost on the highway, you can image that it sure was Jazzy enough for Gran. Well I was told not to do it again, and to be fair, she’s still fairly fresh out of her double-fusion back operation. Bless her.

Here was an appropriate time to reassure her of the Jazz Sport’s safety features: ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), as well as Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist gave peace of mind. (There are more safety features, which you can view here.)

I’m really happy with what I experienced from the new Honda Jazz Sport, and rather glad that there’s now an option for those in need of a sportier, younger and fresher option. Gran claims she prefers her more modest, original Jazz, but that’s okay because when I win the Lotto, we can each have one we prefer. In the meantime, here are the pricing deatils for the new Honda Jazz Sport…

The Jazz Sport retails for R310 000 – the same price as the Jazz Dynamic CVT it replaces, but offering a much more comprehensive package, ensuring superior value.

The price tag includes a comprehensive five-year/200 000 km warranty and a four-year/60 000 km service plan, as well as a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package. Services are at 15 000 km intervals.