The Jazz was always a large, spacious and practical hatchback but was let down by its high pricing when it was originally launched in India. Following its discontinuation, Honda launched an all-new Jazz in July last year and this time around, it was priced competitively.
The model has since seen a good run for Honda; it clocked over 40,000 units in its 1st year and became the second best-selling model after the Honda City. To mark its first anniversary, Honda organised a two-day drive in Jaipur, this time round more to have an enjoyable drive and perhaps reexamine the Jazz.
We were flown down from Mumbai and escorted to the Hotel Mariott just a few minutes from the airport. After a good lunch and a briefing, we made our way to Samode Palace where we met the Honda Jazz fleet – the V and VX, both in petrol and diesel. The car that was allotted to me was the top VX trim petrol manual Jazz, powered by Honda’s rev-happy 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine.
We started out as a convoy but navigating through the city to NH52 quickly meant that it was each car for itself. It was my first time behind the wheel of the Jazz and I didn’t know what to expect, but the petrol Jazz did perform admirably within the city. Out on the highway, the Jazz proved to be a good cruiser though to pick up pace the engine required to be pushed. This lead to a few occasions where we hand to hunt for a lower gear particularly when overtaking slow moving commercial traffic from a low speed.
Some missed turns and a few back roads later (thanks to GPS), as we approached Samode Palace, we received a message that directed us to a new location for our next activity. It was a sandy clearing with cones set-up at strategic points for a slalom course, but that was for later. First up, was figuring out the magic seats. We were handed potted plants and a bicycle and had to configure our car to correctly carry the entire load, as well as arrange the seats for someone to take a nap. The next challenge was to stuff various sized boxes into the boot without dropping the seats. Finally, it was the slalom course. Well, it was rather tight and by the end of it, I had to navigate through the ruts left behind by others – being one of the last to get behind the wheel. After completing the challenges, we headed to the Samode Palace hotel for some rest.
On the morning of the second day, we were in for a surprise – we are to participate in a scavenger hunt. We were handed a clue to find a location within Jaipur where we would receive a second clue for the next location and so forth. Our first location was the Hotel Amer Palace where we had to take a picture of the palace before we were handed the next clue. This clue led us to the Hawa Mahal in the heart of Jaipur. The following two clues lead us to Jaipur’s famous Lakshmi Mishthan Bhandar and the city’s oldest and iconic Lassiwala, which has been serving lassi since 1944. Finally, we were asked to tank-up our cars before returning to Hotel Marriot for lunch before heading to the airport for our return flight to Mumbai.
On the whole, the drive was a fun-filled adventure. The journey was designed for us to get acquainted with the Honda Jazz and experience some of the car’s best features. The petrol Jazz that I was driving proved to be a great travel companion. It was a solid city runabout, and during this trip, it navigated the narrow back roads and broken and muddy stretches effortlessly. All in all it was fun driving through some of the most beautiful palaces and historic locations in India.