Forget what you think you know about the Honda Jazz. Forget the stereotypes that it’s an old person’s car. In fact, forget everything. Because Honda launched its brand new Jazz and it’s an improvement on an already impressive car. And the model in question is the Honda Jazz 1.5 Dynamic CVT.

Styling wise the designers were given instruction to funk the Jazz up. Ok, maybe the word “funk” wasn’t used when they got the brief, but it is definitely oozing with funk and spunk. It’s exciting to look at; exciting to stare at. One can almost not believe that this little car from Funky Town is a Honda-product.  Over its predecessor, the new Jazz did grow up, but importantly, it’s got a younger feel to it.

From the headlights to the rear, the Jazz is youthful. This, says Honda, is to attract a new breed of buyers. Not only buyers of a mature nature, but young people – ranging from students to first time car buyers. The sharp lines and creases on the doors add a touch of sportiness to the car, giving the Jazz a purposeful stance and aura.

Honda realised that its new Jazz has to appeal to a wider audience and inside the multiple functions the Jazz has to fulfil is very evident. Starting at the back, the total boot space of 881 L is enough to engulf almost anything that needs to be transported. From a mountain bike, to furniture to, a palm tree, there is ample of space for you and your luggage. Along with the magic seats (term for seats having multiple folding arrangements), the loading space can even serve as a sleeping bench, but I doubt anyone would go that far.

What further highlights Honda’s intent on making this car charm the socks off younger buyers is the infotainment system. A 7-inch tablet-like touchscreen takes centre stage on the dash (5-inch screens on Elegance models). From here you can control almost all the functions of the snazzy little Jazz. These include mp3/WMA compatibility, FM/AM radio, the CD player, USB and AUX ports, as well as the Bluetooth, amongst other things. And from here you can check your vehicle’s performance status. A neat feature of this new Honda Jazz is that the 1,5-litre Dynamic model come equipped with an HDMI port; a first in its class.

Perhaps the only gripe with the interior is the hard plastics used on the dash and door-inlays, but it does not bring in doubt the perceived quality of the cabin.

My drive in the Jazz was really short. Not long enough to garner a true a telling of this car’s abilities. However, that short spell was enough to make me realise that this car might just be set to further the boundaries its predecessor had set.

The ride is comfortable enough to soak up most bumps in the road. It’s not without fault and you will feel the imperfections on tarmac, but the Jazz does not get unsettled. It does not bounce around, leaving its occupants scattered across the seats.

The steering is light, though, and it would benefit from a weightier feel. But then future buyers have to remember that the Jazz is geared up for city conditions. Driving around town you’d want to have something light; something that will ease parking.  Both sides of the spectrum – old and young – will appreciate the nimbleness of the Honda Jazz.

The seven-speed gearbox seems to fit the car well. It does not detract from the driving experience as many auto’ boxes do, but instead allow the driver to do what he or she wants to do. It can either be left in normal Drive, or be put into Sport and have the driver change gears via the steering wheel mounted paddles. Though it says Sport, the effect of this is not back-breaking. Instead it offers drivers the opportunity to be more engaged with their Jazz. And why wouldn’t you want to be engaged with it? This is, after all, a lekker car from Funky Town.

Summary                       

I would have liked to drive the new Honda Jazz for a bit longer. Maybe tackle a few twisties to test the dynamic nature of this vehicle. But this first impression was a good one.

Much can be said of the new Honda Jazz and much more can be concluded, but it is clear that Honda has taken big strides in making this car appealing to a larger target audience. There are faults and shortcomings, but it does not weaken the prime build quality South Africans have become accustomed to from Honda products.  And because of this Honda-approved quality, the exciting new design blended with a good, unworried ride quality makes for the Jazz to be worth only one look.

*Special thanks to Honda Tygerberg for the arranged test drive.