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Booming sales for versatile Jazz

Created on 25/04/2017 @ 12:38
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Honda was confirmed as the fastest growing mainstream car brand in Europe during 2016 and the Jazz played a major part in the company’s success story.

The figures make great reading for Honda with the latest data from European industry body ACEA showing total sales in Europe during 2016 were 159,126 units – a 20.8% increase on 2015 and significantly outpacing the EU car market where sales grew by 6.8%.

The Jazz supermini saw sales growth of 26%, following the launch of the all-new model, with total registrations of 39,613 across Europe

Is it a people carrier or a hatchback was the question I was posed whilst testing the range-topping 1.3 i-VTEC EX Navi? And the answer seems to be that Honda is more than happy to fill the void between both with the third generation version.

Calling the car an EX Navi probably wasn’t the best idea to come out of the company’s think tank but it performs and looks a lot better than it sounds. And the latest model is clearly recognisable as a Jazz despite the arrival of a new grille and side-sculptures

All cars in the five-model range are powered by a superb 1.3 naturally aspirated i-VTEC engine with the manual version on test capable of 118mph and 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds. More impressively you can expect 55mpg on the combined cycle and C02 levels of 120g/km, which means running costs are low.

Once inside the cabin you can’t help but be impressed, not just with the typical Honda set-up but more importantly by the space and versatility on offer. Whelbase has been increased by 30mm, which doesn’t seem a lot but it means you get an extra 115mm of legroom in the back and that proved plenty for a couple of six footers.

But it’s Honda’s “magic seat” system which will score highly with buyers looking for versatility and space, such as young families with push chairs or golfers looking to house clubs and trollies. The combinations are endless with choices to suit just about every need and importantly the whole back folds completely flat. Many Jazz opponents don’t do that.

Inside the cabin you do get the feeling of being at the wheel of a much more expensive option and Honda Connect Infotainment system offers a 7inch touchscreen with Internet browsing, access to all real-time news, traffic and weather and on-line music.

On the open road this Jazz handles as well as any of the competition though I would have to say it fidgets a bit around town and on rougher surfaces.

Safety considerations are playing a bigger role in buyer’s choice these days and Honda hasn’t skimped in that area. There’s a Driver Assist Pack which employs a camera and mid-range radar to underpin a suite of advanced safety technologies, including the company’s own City Brakes Active System as standard on top of all-round airbags.

The EX Navi on test was equipped with 16 inch alloys, smart entry and start, rear view camera, six speakers, front fog lights, automatic air conditioning, leather steering wheel and gear shift, rear privacy glass, electric windows, Bluetooth, dusk sensing lights, rain sensing wipers, reclining rear seats and cruise control.

The Jazz range pricing starts at £14,595 doe the S model while the EX Navi on test was £16,605 plus an extra £500 for the metallic paint.

You won’t stand out in many crowds with the Jazz but I doubt there’s a more practical and versatile offering in the segment which is reflected in sales levels across Europe.

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