Honda Jazz - best of class?

Over two years ago Honda Motor Company of Japan formed Honda South Africa to take over the distribution of all Honda products.

After a period of consolidation the company has now re-entered the fray properly. “We could have expanded faster both in terms of retail outlets and product, but we weren’t prepared to sacrifice the integrity of our brand by offering anything less than first class service” says Masahiro Matsushita, who has headed up Honda South Africa since its formation.
By mid-year there will be 22 Honda car dealers in the country, with many of the existing outlets being upgraded to meet growing demand.

The compact but spacious is the sixth body style introduced by the company since it became a player in the South African market in December 2000. The factory has gone to great lengths to utilise the interior space to maximum effect. The fuel tank is positioned under the front seats - normally wasted space - which has freed up tons of room in the luggage and rear passenger areas. The ingenuous back seats are mounted high to allow stowage in the space that would normally be occupied by the gas tank, and fold away into various configurations to provide class-leading space for goods.

At the launch I dove the Jazz for around 150 km, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Honda have stuck with two valves per cylinder in this car to allow for healthy torque delivery, and with 61 kW and 119 Nm available the 1,3 litre car performs well without having to be goaded too hard. The people in Honda’ s PR department were anxious to emphasise the frugal drinking habits of their little Jazz, and turned the drive into an economy run of sorts. After an initial gallop or two to satisfy myself that the cunning blighters weren’ t trying to cover up the fact that the car is an absolute slug - it isn’t - I drove extremely sensibly, and averaged just 5,2 litres of fuel per 100 km travelled.

The Jazz is very well built and excellently equipped, with pretty much a full-house of buttons to push to make things happen. Safety features include ABS brakes, dual airbags and three-point inertia-reel safetybelts for all five passengers rather than the usual lap-strap for the luckless soul in the centre rear seat.

At R129 900 the Honda Jazz is far from the cheapest car in its class, but it could just be the best.

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