In this 2018 Honda Jazz Review, we tell you our test drive impressions of the updated model of this premium hatchback and what new it has to offer.
Honda has recently launched an updated version of its premium hatchback Jazz in India. It comes as the car’s mid-life facelift and gets some minor additions, primarily in the feature department, to make it appear a tad better than the older model. Honda has kept the exterior updates quite minimum, or rather non-existent. Hence, it would be fair to say that the 2018 Honda Jazz not a facelift but a ‘feature-lift’. We recently got the opportunity to test drive the updated Jazz in Greater Noida near Honda Car India’s manufacturing plant. So here are out first drive impressions of this premium hatchback and all the important things that you need to know about it in this 2018 Honda Jazz Review.
2018 Honda Jazz Review – Exterior Design
As mentioned before, with this 2018 update, the Jazz does not get any major aesthetic changes. We were expecting Honda to bring the modifications done on the European Spec Jazz (Fit), with its mid-life update, to India as well. There, this hatch’s 2018 iterations comes with sportier bumpers, a new grille, revised headlamps and new alloy wheels. On the contrary, what we get is just a slight modification done on the tail-light which now extends right up to the roof and chrome door handles. Mind you, both of the alterations are only available on the top-of-the-line VX trims. While we are on the subject of trims, let me tell you that the Jazz is now available in just three variants which are S, V and VX. All that said, there was nothing to complain about in the first place in terms of the exterior styling of the Honda Jazz. This hatchback has always been one of the best-looking cars in India, right from the first generation model.
2018 Honda Jazz Review – Interior Design
Just like the exteriors of the car, it is hard to pinpoint any modifications done to the interior of the Jazz as well. The dashboard layout is exactly the same as before. It still gets that sharp and sporty design in a dominant black colour scheme with silver accents adding a touch of flair. The instrumentation remains the same and so is the design of the centre console. However, it is here that you will notice the first new addition done to the cabin of the Jazz with this ‘feature-lift’. With the 2018 update, the Jazz now comes with Honda’s Digipad 2.0 which made its debut in India with the new Amaze. This new infotainment system is a lot better than what the one available on the older generation. It comes with connectivity options such as Android Auto and Apple Car Play while also offering inbuilt GPS navigation. It also doubles up as the screen for the reverse parking camera which comes with three viewing angles.
2018 Honda Jazz Review – Features
While we are on the subject of new features, let me tell you that the Jazz now offers reverse parking sensors and speed sensing auto door locks as standard across the range. In addition to this, range-topping diesel trim and the petrol CVT comes with additional kit such as engine stop-start button, key-less entry, cruise control and voice commands for GPS navigation. In terms of safety, the 2018 Honda Jazz comes as standard with dual airbags along with ABS with EBD as standard. Sadly, for reasons known only to Honda, it has skipped the magic seats, with this update, which were one of the USP for the Jazz with this second generation model.
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2018 Honda Jazz Review – Performance
Coming to the engine specifications, Honda has kept them intact as before. The petrol derivative comes with the same 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine while the diesel variants get the 1.5-litre i-DTEC motor. The power outputs for the engines are the same as before. The i-VTEC churns out 88 BHP of power along with 110 NM of peak torque. While the i-DTEC motor is capable of producing 98 BHP of power along with 200 Nm of peak torque. As standard, the petrol engine comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox. While the diesel one comes with the 6-speed transmission unit. And just as before, the petrol variants, both the V and the VX comes with a CVT automatic as well. For this test drive, we got the opportunity to test drive the 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine with the CVT automatic transmission.
Since the engine characteristics and its power and torque outputs remain the same, the driving experience continues to remain sublime as before. The refinement of Honda’s petrol engines are always to reckon with and we are happy to report that it continues with this 2018 update for the Jazz as well. The smoothness of its operation is such that at idle, you can’t really tell if the engine is turned on or off. And while driving, you only hear it if it is revving past the 3,500 rpm mark and even then, it is more of just a mild hum than a complete racket. As before, this engines is a breeze to drive in the city, especially combined with this 7-speed CVT automatic transmission. The low-end pull is very generous and you get up to speed easily. However, just as before the engine lacks the mid-end punch and one has to rev it really hard to get the best out of it. Mind you, for that you will have to buy the 5-speed manual variant.
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With this CVT, this engine is best enjoyed when driven in a relaxed manner. The gearshifts are seamless and you seldom notice the car upshifting or downshifting. Being a CVT it does have the traditional rubber band effect but it is felt only if you put your foot hard down. For more spirited driving, the gearbox comes with a sports mode and Honda has even provided it with paddle shifts for a more enthusiastic driver. However, we believe that in daily use, neither of these features will be used to much.
2018 Honda Jazz Review – Verdict
So then, what’s our verdict? Well, the Honda Jazz, in its present form was already quite a potent vehicle as a premium hatchback. It did lack certain features in comparison to its competition and with this mild update, Honda has tried to curb that. And it has been successful to a certain extent. However, we still believe that altering the design to some extent would have been ideal considering the competition and in that sense, Honda has sort of missed an opportunity here. All that said, with the addition of new features and increased safety kit, the Jazz has now become more complete and a rounded of package. With prices starting from INR 7.35 lakhs and going up to INR 9.29 lakhs, it sure is a good value for money proposition in the premium hatchback space.