Since it's debut in 2008, the Jazz has delivered a marketing rout in its class, garnering rave reviews and setting the stage for strong sales... but what's it like on the long run?
Honda gave us a chance to try out a Jazz 1.3S for a lengthy period of time to see how well it has come along after two years of use and 20,000 kilometers since rolling out of the factory.
From the outside, there's the standard wear and tear on the bodywork, thanks to the Metro's debris littered streets, made evident by a few stone chips, but still the bright red paintwork shines through. The tires have plenty of tread left and have worn evenly.
The Jazz is blessed with one of the most spacious -if not the most spacious- cabins in the class. Inside, the cabin is still as fresh as ever, thanks to the ultra modern dashboard design. The plastics and composites have little in the way of wear and discoloration, and still feels every bit as brand new as before. Surfaces that are mostly in contact with cargo do tend to get scratched easily, but that's pretty much expected for a car that touts the best cargo space in the class, especially with the versatile ULT system.
Under the short bonnet is Honda's 1,339cc VTEC engine, good for 100 PS and 128 N-m of torque. With 20,000 km of running in 2 years, it still feels like it has the quotes power rating, though it just feels ample without any extra horses to play with, especially on a nice, winding mountain road. The class leading 5-speed automatic works well to make the weight of the significantly larger body (vis-a-vis the competition) easier to manage for the engine, but there really is no substitute for the extra 20 horses of the 1.5 liter version.
The suspension has plenty of cornering prowess, set up to strike a bit of a bias towards handling. It's matched by Honda's seats, shaped to hug the body tight and lending the Jazz driver plenty of lateral support. The deep dish steering wheel feels great to use and communicates what's going on with the front tires very well, while the brakes feel positive and have excellent bite.
Class leading features come standard with the Jazz, even in base model trim. There's the ULT system for max cargo, the excellent integrated audio system with aux-in (for your iPod), anti-lock brakes and dual airbags.
What's truly great about the 1.3 liter Jazz is it's fuel economy. When matched with the 5 speed auto and a discreet (read: balanced) right foot, the Jazz rewards with a commendable 10.3 kilometers to the liter moderate traffic, 9.2 km/l in heavy traffic, and a superb 17.7 km/l on an open highway.
Though it may seem a little pricey at just under PhP 800k, the combination of the features, fuel economy, practicality and Honda reliability make the Jazz 1.3S a convincing ownership proposition.