A couple of years ago, when I reviewed the Honda Jazz, I said that it was going to be difficult for Honda engineers to come up with the replacement model, since it was such a great car.
Although pretty much the same shape as the old Jazz, some key improvements have made the new Jazz even better.
Improvements to the 1.5-litre engine include the incorporation of i-VTEC and an electronic throttle, pushing the power up to 120PS at 6,600rpm; and producing 145Nm of torque at 4,800rpm.
But even with more power, our test results based on highway driving at between 80 to100kph speed, with light-footed throttle and unhurried acceleration, got us 27km per litre, or approximately 3.7 litres per 100km.
The new Jazz not only delivers in terms of power, but also gives good economy. Heavy-footed driving may push the consumption up, but now we have a choice.
Old-fashioned me prefers the feel of speed building up as the revs climb.
In addition, the higher Grade V model comes with a set of F1-style paddle shifters.
Having five speeds allows for better spacing in between gears, and fuel economy will improve as a natural consequence.
At 100kph in fifth gear, the engine is pulling quietly at a little over 2,000rpm, in contrast to some cars in this class whose engines are turning closer to 3,000rpm or more.
The steering system retains the EPS (electric power system) from the previous generation: steering feel is light, and the car is easy to drive.
The Grade S model comes with 15-inch wheels while the Grade V model now has 16-inch wheels as standard. Brakes are discs all round, with the front ones being ventilated.
On the road, the new Honda Jazz is easy and fun to drive. Response to throttle is excellent, with zero to 100kph done in under 10 seconds, while top speed is around 190kph.
Front driver and passenger airbags are included for both models.
Inside, creature comforts abound; the rear ‘Ultra seat’ folds away to allow tall items to be stowed in the rear, and there are now two glove boxes in addition to 10 cup holders.
Music lovers can connect their MP3 to the sound system. The driver gets an armrest, while the steering comes with height and telescopic controllability.
Doors open wide, up to 80° angles to allow for easy ingress and egress, while the seats split and fold in many configurations for stowage versatility.
At a retail price of between RM104K and RM109K, depending on the model, the Honda Jazz is great value for money, due consideration given to it as a CBU.
There is really nothing else that exists that is anywhere close to the Jazz, unless you want to have a look at the about-to-be-launched new City, which is a sedan, but with the same mechanically, hopefully!