• Three-month long term test with Honda's flagship Jazz
• Stands out with sporty styling including a rear diffuser and spoiler
• Powered by a 1.5-litre normally-aspirated V-tec engine
If you thought 2020 was going to be 'your' year, it proved everybody wrong and proceeded to flip our lives upside down. Our homes are our sanctuary and less time in our cars.
The nationwide lockdown meant I didn't have as much time driving Honda Jazz Sport as I would've liked. The three-month long test was punctured by only driving to the store or pharmacy for essentials.
If you're not familiar with the Jazz Sport, it's the flagship of the range and priced at R359 300.
The lockdown provided a lot of time to gaze at the Jazz and make sense of the 'lip', wing, rear diffuser, black mirrors, black 16-inch wheels and side sills. Its styling caught the attention of regular Jazz owners, whose cars look vanilla compared to the Sport model.
As we all know, styling is subjective. I certainly wasn't sold on the chunky go-faster bits, but have slowly grown to become partial to it. It has personality, especially in comparison to the models in the rest of the range, they look bland.
Inside, the dash is covered in black plastic, and there's a small touchscreen to navigate the infotainment system. The multi-function steering wheel houses the important controls such as cruise control, volume buttons, audio modes, and a button to navigate the trip computer.
The engine, well that's the tried and tested 1.5-litre i-VTEC mill featuring the company's 'Earth Dreams Technology'.
Delving deeper into the four-cylinder it features a dual overhead camshaft and makes use of direct injection and intelligent variable valve timing and lift.
The power output is quoted at 97kW at a lofty 6600r/min, with torque peak registered at 155Nm at 4600r/min. There's more than sufficient power for city and highway driving, but the key is to feather the throttle pedal as any heaviness will see the CVT drone like a banshee.
Over the duration of three months the Jazz averaged between 7.0 and 7.2-litre/100km consistently, Honda claims 5.6-litres/100km. The engine proved to be very frugal, considering the CVT does tend to over rev, therefore I needed to adjust my throttle inputs.
The Jazz is one of those cars that looks small from the outside but it can seat five people with relative ease, courtesy of large comfy chairs up front, and a three-seat bench layout in the rear that can be folded in a 60:40 configuration.
For front passengers, there is ample space and a large storage binnacle between the front seats also doubles as an arm rest, and two biggish cup-holders in front of the gear lever.
Even the cubbyhole is roomy.
What's it like to drive?
It might wear a Sport badge and have paddle-shifts to mimic a sportier driving style. In reality, the CVT 'box depreciates the driving experience due to its 'droney' nature.
The only way to navigate around it is to not mash the throttle and rather follow gentle, smooth movements. It's certainly not rewarding to drive with gusto.
It offers a lovely compliant ride, with smallish 16-inch wheels and decent rubber there are no surprises when I drove on badly surfaced roads. The build quality is excellent, as you'd expect. Nothing broke, came loose or was worn out after three months.
The little Jazz didn't put a foot wrong. It feels as solid as a drum and is a practical MPV for someone who enjoys standing out in a crowd.
I can see millennial families interested in the Jazz Sport. I thoroughly enjoyed my three months with it.