Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the latest member of our long-term fleet – the Honda Jazz. Our golden-brown metallic Jazz is in ‘proper’ Honda spec, which means there’s no clattery diesel or dull CVT gearbox. This one’s got a petrol engine and a manual gearbox; just the way we like our Hondas. And the old Jazz was one Honda I really liked. I ran one for a couple of months in 2011 and liked it for being so different to everything else around. It had personality. It was practical yet seemed to have a frivolous side too. So, it’s not the Maruti Balenos and Hyundai i20s of the world, but the old Jazz is my benchmark for the new one.
I’ve driven this version of the Jazz several times before, but a long drive was what I needed to really acquaint myself with the car. So, on a rainy day, a friend and I decided to head towards the hill station of Matheran, just about 100km outside Mumbai.
Before I go any further, I should disclose that our Jazz is in the second-from-top ‘V’ trim which means it misses out on the flexible ‘magic’ rear seats and also a touchscreen infotainment system. The first I can live without — the Jazz’s boot is big as is — but the stock audio system just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not very intuitive to use (pairing and unpairing mobile phones should be a straightforward exercise, right?), and navigating through the menus via the rotary control knob isn’t as nice as it should be. A deep sound from the four-speaker setup would have helped change my opinion, but, unfortunately, that’s not the case either.
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Issue: 213 | Autocar India: May 2017
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