BUYER'S GUIDE: 2018 Honda Jazz

BUYER'S GUIDE: 2018 Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz (or Honda Fit) is a fun car to drive. What's more, it manages to balance function, safety, and performance like an expert juggler balancing on a 16-inch alloy wheel platform. And like a good bottle of wine that only grows better with time, it's something you get to appreciate the more you drive it: lively, wholesome, solid, smooth--and bursting with fruity flavors.

Specification

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The 5-seater Honda Jazz comes in four variants: 1.5 V manual, 1.5 V CVT, 1.5 VX Navi CVT, and 1.5 RS Navi CVT. All variants have a 150-mm ground clearance, and they all use the same Chain Drive, Gasoline, SOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder, 16-valve engine. Its base model, the V MT, has a five-speed manual transmission, while the rest have CVT equipped with Honda's proprietary Earth Dreams Technology.

Maximum power comes at around 118 hp while the torque  comes in at 145 Nm.

Exterior

Now on its third generation, the new Honda Jazz has had some mild nips and tucks with its design. Still carrying an aerodynamic shape carried from its predecessors, most of the upgrades--particularly the 1.5 CVT and 1.5 VX Navi CVT variants--can be found on the front.

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They all come with newly-designed LED daytime running lights and alloy wheel designs, aggressive front and rear bumpers, and a sportier, Solid Wing Face grille. The rear, which remains largely unchanged, has a sportier bumper as well.

The new RS variant, however, is the most attractive for us. Its matte black and carbon-fiber print bumpers, 16-inch Gloss Black Aluminum Alloy Wheels, and Gloss Black Side Mirrors add an edgier feel to the design. It's also longer, and measures 4,035 mm compared to the standard 3,989 mm for the other three variants. The Phoenix Orange Pearl color will be exclusively available for this variant.

Interior

There aren't a lot of interior upgrades made in the 2018 Jazz--except perhaps, the use of softer textures in its materials. All the CVT versions also come with Steering Wheel Audio Controls, which offer audio controls for a  better, hands-free experience.

The RS variant, on the other hand, comes with more accent features, like the dark chrome door handle, and orange stitches on the fabric seats and steering wheel.

Comfort and Convenience

All variants come with a standard USB input, Bluetooth Hands-free Connectivity for audio streaming plus phone functionality. Meanwhile, the CVT models offer a seven-inch touchscreen, except for the base variant that has a 2-DIN with CD audio system. You can also upgrade your audio experience  with the RS Navi, which comes with two front tweeters.

Both the VX Navi and RS Navi have Power Folding Side Mirrors--a helpful but often overlooked feature in most modern cars. They also come with Smart Entry with Push Start System, and Automatic Airconditioner with Touch Control panels.

We love--and will always love--Honda's "magic seats" or Utility, Long, Tall, Refresh (ULTR) seats. This technology can make the interior look so spacious that they can even rival the biggest SUVs in spaciousness. Really, we think they're one of the most innovative and functional vehicle technologies we have today.

https://youtu.be/yKaFgmvEDhI

Performance

The 2018 Honda Jazz continues to impress us with its smooth engine. There aren't any growls and grunts here when you're pushing speed on the highways, and it does a good job of accelerating without any hesitation as well. You can even make it faster (and more fun) by using the Sport Mode and paddle shifters that are available for the higher variants.

Visibility is also good, thanks to its wide windows. We also like how responsive and light the steering wheel was. Turning on sharp bends was solid and precise--we didn't need to make any adjustments to stay on track here.

Fuel Economy

Honda's engine is already designed to "provide responsive performance, acceleration and improved fuel efficiency," so basically, its fuel efficiency is already good.

Some notable features we'd like to point out are the ECON button and Ambient Meter found in the CVT variants. The latter feature uses a gauge that turns blue when you’re using lot of fuel, and turns green if you’re saving gas.

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Overall, fuel consumption averaged at around 16-17 km/L when driving at a fast pace (around 50-60 kph). It registered 7 to 10 km/L for city driving with traffic, and an impressive 22 km/L when using its cruise control feature.

Safety Features

Safety is excellent for the 2018 Honda Jazz. All variants are equipped with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Driver and Front Passenger SRS Airbags.

What's more, the 1.5 VX Navi CVT and 1.5 RS Navi CVT variants are also equipped with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist (HSA) when driving on an incline, while the 1.5 RS Navi CVT variant also gives additional Side Airbags and Side Curtain Airbags for added protection.

Our Verdict

Actually, there are two types of people who will love the Honda Jazz 2018: Those who are into extremely practical and functional vehicles; and those who are into extremely practical, functional, and stylish looks.

If you lean on the first category, then go with the V, and V CVT. If you go for the second one, then go with the RS Navi. Still, you can head down the middle road with the VX Navi--it’s more feature-packed than the lower variants, but not as "edgy" as the RS Navi.

Don’t worry--whatever choice you make, you'll be making the right decision, here. The Honda Jazz is one of the best hatchbacks you can drive today, and its price of PHP857,000 (for the base variant), PHP903,000 (for the 1.5 V CVT), PHP998,000, (for the 1.5 VX Navi) and P1.078 million (for the 1.5 RS Navi) are truly worth it, especially when driven on metro roads.

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