Walk around it, and the Jazz's form appears chic, dynamic and utilitarian all at the same time.
It is neither one of those aggressive flared wheel arch hatchback designs trying to flex its muscles, nor the sleek smooth and elegant lines of a sedan that look almost unbecoming on a small car.
The Jazz comes with a strong individuality in terms of design with its mini-MPV-esque approach which imparts a true sense of practicality even from the outside, but one that is far too youthful and vibrant to be labeled as a workhorse.
At the onset, the proportions may look unconventional but they are so for reasons far more practical than mere aesthetic.
Interiors and creature comforts
The Jazz's design is based on a simple and catchy machine-minimum, man-maximum concept that Honda has kept faith with for ages.
The pudgy little hood reveals some very smartly packaged mechanicals (with Honda renowned for the brilliance of its powertrains) and this is exactly the factor that liberates massive amounts of space for occupants on the inside.
The feeling of airiness once in the cabin and strapped into the seat is almost heady with the wide open vista that the windscreen opens before the driver.
Wide, tall and large windows through the length of the cabin ensure that the rear bench occupants feel almost the same way
The Jazz is as much a car for practical use as it is for going out there and having some fun in the sun.
Honda's 'magic seats' work wonders to create storage space on the inside where the rear bench can be folded upwards to liberate height or downwards to have a freer area lengthwise. This flexible way of folding the rear means that the Jazz can accommodate a tent as easily as it can swallow a barbeque rack.
Fit and finish are exceptional. Safety of passengers and pedestrians has also been emphasized adequately, and the Jazz breaks new ground for cars in its class to feature not just ABS and EBD as OE along with a full compliment of airbags.
Engine, chassis and suspension
Open the hood and find the familiar i-VTEC badge on a pretty compact looking engine. For excise benefits, the Jazz gets a 1.2-litre unit which is pretty much the norm these days.
However what is extraordinary about this jewel of a motor is the amount of horsepower it churns out. The Jazz produces all of 90PS @ 6200rpm and a maximum torque of 110Nm @ 4800rpm from its diminutive 1,198cc engine. These figures are more than the previous generation City which produced a mediocre 77PS from a 1.5-litre engine.
Definitely the peppiest unit in its class, the Jazz engine also features some very clever technology, like the SOHC i-VTEC system which allows one inlet valve to remain closed at low revs to boost not only the low end torque but also the fuel efficiency without impairing driveability.
To feed all that power to the front wheels, the Jazz is equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The shift action is light, smooth and very direct thanks to the adoption of carbon-fibre synchronizers.
Steering the car through city traffic or speedy corners is a delight too with a perfectly weighted steering wheel that is neither over-servoed nor of the rubbery wishy-washy kinds.
The finely balanced suspension and chassis offer an absolutely neutral handling package that makes the Jazz quite a delight to drive and be driven in.
Honda Jazz is available in three variants - jazz, jazz active and jazz sport. The base end gets integrated audio system, steering mounted audio system, 60:40 foldable rear seats, tiltable steering column, power windows and power steering.
From Rs 6.98 lakh for the basic version up to the sport pedal and rear spoiler equipped Active variant for Rs 7.33 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi) it is by no means an inexpensive car, but then it would be unfair to caste the Jazz in the same archetype as an everyday hatchback. Be it the space, the refinement and punch of its sublime powerplant, its balanced pep in the steering and handling department or simply the high levels of quality that lie inside the car, there are few hatchbacks that truly challenge the Jazz. Also factor in the Honda brand equity and you know that the Jazz presents a mighty big challenge to one and sundry thanks to it being a most competent and irresistible package.