Jazz

Honda Jazz

I’ve been driving an oxymoron.

An oxy what?

An oxymoron. It means words that don’t belong together.

Among my favourite oxymorons are honest politician, poor banker and happy Macclesfield Town fan (that last one is impossible).

More well known examples, rather than my pathetic invented ones, are: “I am a deeply superficial person,” (Andy Warhol) and “No one goes to that restaurant any more. It’s always too crowded.” (Yogi Berra).

Now here’s another, and I didn’t invent this one, either.

It’s Honda’s effort and it goes like this: The Honda Jazz Sport.

Yes I know, it’s ridiculous.

It’s about as likely as a Beverley Sisters gothic rock concert.

And if you don’t know who the Beverley Sisters were, look them up.

One of them was married to Wolverhampton Wanderers and England captain Billy Wright.

Honda will hate me for saying this, but the Jazz is a hugely popular car … with the elderly.

They’ll hate me because it’s exactly the image that car makers run away from.

All cars, whatever the badge, are supposed to appeal to young, trendy, fashion setting types who will be living the life that people are supposed to aspire for.

When did you last see anyone other than grandad, or for that matter grandma, leaving the doctor’s surgery in a car that wasn’t a Jazz?

Well things are going to change. At least that’s Honda’s unlikely plan.

Next big thing is tons of teens flying around doing wheelies in their Honda Jazz Sports on their way to the tattoo artists.

The Jazz Sport is, say Honda: “Bold yet sophisticated.”

If that’s been achieved by adding a barely noticeable red stripe across the underneath of the front and rear bumpers it doesn’t work.

Maybe you’re supposed to be struck by the F1 style diffuser below the rear bumper that helps it stay sucked to the road.

Sorry, but it won’t ever be spotted by the folk who go to look at a Honda Jazz.

And to be honest, it doesn’t really work particularly well either, uplifting the Jazz Sport’s handling to the “not bad” level without being what it should be, which is brilliant. It isn’t.

The Jazz Sport also gets a 1.5-litre engine to replace the 1.3-litre found in non-Sport versions of the Jazz.

Power is up from 102 to 130hp and its 0-62mph time plummets from 11.2s to 8.7s.

That may sound fantastic, but it just isn’t worth the row it makes when pushed, or the sheer effort of keeping it at 4,600rpm, where it produces maximum torque.

In the end I succumbed to the trials of trying to make it live up to its Sport badge and started to enjoy what has made the Jazz one of the most popular cars for people who care about space and practicality … something the Jazz has never been short of.

For such a small vehicle – it’s only just over four metres long (13ft 4in) – it is truly remarkable.

Access to the rear seats is made easy by having a small step up to the Jazz’s huge 122cm (40in) wide doors, which reveal enough leg room for even the largest of adults.

Meanwhile, open the boot and instead of the two-cases-wide plus a bit of shopping space you’ll get with most small cars, it’s an amazing 152cm (5ft) wide at the back, from side to side, and 102cm (3ft 4in) wide in the middle.

There’s also space for a full size spare, never mind a space saver, but sadly there’s only a blow and go kit in there.

Fold down the backs of what Honda call its “Magic Seats” and you’ll more than double your storage space from 354 to 897 litres.

In other words, they leave a totally flat, at least five feet deep loading area.

That’s startling for a little car.

Can it get better? Yes it can, because you can actually turn this little Dr Who Tardis (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) into a two seater with a huge and totally separate boot behind the front seats.

This is achieved by the back seats being supported by little fold-out legs which, when folded inwards, lock the rear seats into a folded upright position, freeing up the entire rear area.

It gives a total of around 84cm (33in) of depth and a width of 130cm (4ft 3in) and a massive height of 132cm (4ft 4in).

That’s enough for a stack of gardening gear, all your golf stuff, even a small lawnmower, and your grandchild’s pram.

All these spacious areas are the reason this amazing little car is such a success.

Adding a few racy touches and calling it a Sport isn’t going to fool anyone.

Jazz3

IMAGE RATING

Honda Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC Sport Navi.

REAR MIRROR MONSTER: Of course not. A splash of red and a dash of piano black won’t save the Jazz from looking what it is … a smart, swept back, sensible little car.

BACKSIDE BEAUTY: Almost unnoticeable rear diffuser and 7cm high boot width piano black strip are no match for a domineering 32cm (3ft) tall tailgate, which provides more than a hint of its interior space.

PLAYTIME PLEASER: Touchscreen 7in MMI with sat nav, air con, cruise control with speed limiter, front and rear parking sensors, trip computer, four electric windows (one touch for driver), 15-spoke 16in alloys, CD stereo with Bluetooth, AM/FM/DAB, twin USB ports, HDMI, aux and Aha.

NAUGHTY NIGGLES: Why make the electric windows fold inwards automatically at the touch of a button, yet not do so when you switch off the engine?

TASTY TOUCHES: Adjustable cup holder by the driver’s right hand is perfect for holding firm a cup of coffee.

FAST OR LAST: Not the quickest unless you really push it, at which stage it gets noisy and bounces about on anything other than a perfect road surface.

WONGA WONDA: Why owners would bother paying for all the racy extras, without ever using them, is a mystery.

WOULD CHANTELLE LIKE IT? Chantelle would love the practicality and reliability of a normal Honda Jazz, but not this one.

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