Driven: 2019 Honda Jazz Sport CVT
Honda is one of the select few Japanese manufacturers that can boast an impressive history in motorsport. They were at the pinnacle back in the day, and their road cars reflected this. However, it seems that Honda’s priorities may have shifted a few years down the line, reducing their adrenaline pumping offerings down to just one model – the Honda Civic Type R. This was the situation, at least, until the Honda Jazz Sport came along.
The Honda Jazz is a practical vehicle. It has four-doors, five seats and a big boot so it should never have been considered to be turned into a sport model, yet the ladies and gentlemen at Honda have done it and, well, the result is pretty impressive. On first impression you get the sense that this car is made specifically for young, stylish and trendy people who need a practical car.
The design of the Jazz speaks to its target market loud and clear. It’s boy-racer demeanour is inspired by the Civic Type R which is clearly visible in the sporty front and rear bumpers. At the front you’ll find a set of LED headlights with integrated daytime running LED’s, accompanied by a set of fog lamps which are integrated into the bumper. The piano black and chrome grille pairs nicely with the piano black side mirrors and the sporty, gloss black, JDM-inspired 16-inch alloy wheels. Head to the back and the first thing to pull your attention is the large boot spoiler which probably doesn’t have much function other than aesthetic. Our test model was finished in an interesting colour called Lunar Silver Metallic, which contrasted nicely with the sleek red details around the car.
In terms of practicality, the Jazz is one of the leaders in its class. You would think that, being a sport model, the Jazz Sport would have its practicality compromised and that idea is actually far from true. The Jazz Sport measures in at 4051mm long, 1694mm wide and 1524mm tall, translating into a very generous cabin that can comfortably accommodate five. The boot is also practical, offering 359-litres of capacity with the rear seats up and up to 889-litres of capacity with the 60:40 split, ISOFIX equipped rear seats folded. The interior is comprised of fabric seats, a hint of leather on the gear knob and multifunction steering wheel, and a lot of plastic. Some of the creature comforts include automatic air conditioning, Smart Entry with start/stop button and cruise control. The 7-inch infotainment screen looks promising when it’s off, but I found it very tedious to use once I switched it on. Poor user interface aside, its capable enough to offer aux, USB, Bluetooth and even HDMI support.
The Honda Jazz Sport is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine that produces a maximum of 155Nm of torque and 97kW of power all the way up at 6600rpm. Drive is sent to the front wheels through a CVT transmission (with paddle shifters), enabling acceleration from 0-100km/h in 9.8-seconds and a top speed of 180km/h. The Honda engineering team has also fiddled with the suspension and steering, which feel more rigid and better weighted, as well as fitting disc brakes at the front and rear instead of drum brakes like the rest of the Jazz range. The drive is a bit lacklustre for a ‘Sport’ model and the engine noise from the CVT gearbox doesn’t help much, but it could be forgiven when you consider the impressive fuel economy of the Jazz Sport. Honda claims that it will do 5.6-litres/100km, but I found my consumption figure at 7.0-litres/100km for most of my time with the car, partially due to me spending a lot of time in Sport mode.
It seems, then, that the Honda Jazz Sport is a jack of all trades. It looks exciting, offers relatively decent performance, is extremely practical and decently fuel efficient. At a starting price of R338 900, it also looks to be good value for money. Do you drive a Honda Jazz Sport? Write a short review of your car and share it with the AutoAdvisor community. We would love to hear what you have to say.