Text and photos by Eric Tipan
When it comes to practical size, flexibility and fuel economy, very few can top the Honda Jazz since it was first introduced in 2004.
As the third generation hits its third year in the market, it continues to be one of the best-selling subcompact vehicles in the market despite the minor price increase.
Categorized as a mini multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) in other countries, here are six features that still make the Honda Jazz 1.5L VX+ CVT one of the best choices for a subcompact in the Philippine market today.
- Compact size
Although shorter in overall length by 40.64mm, the current model’s wheelbase is longer by 30.48mm, which increases the legroom by a whooping 121.92mm and passenger volume by 4.9 cubic feet.
These may just be digits on a piece of paper but as a driver, the amount of elbow room is palpable and made me feel at ease and comfortable even in a subcompact. Its meager dimensions also give the Jazz VX+ probably the best turning radius at 5.14m.
- Fuel efficiency
With close to 14 days with the Jazz VX+, which included a full week of driving during the December 2016 holiday rush, I still managed to average 10.1 kilometers per liter in pure city driving, and some 14 kilometers per liter on the highway.
This was achieved without any effort to reach any fuel-consumption target and the Eco button turned on. I pushed it beyond 2,000rpm when I needed to overtake in the city and topped it off at 100kph on the highway.
What makes the Jazz VX+ more MPV than subcompact is its four seating modes that have 18 seating configurations to handle just about any type of cargo.
With the Tall mode, the rear seats fully fold back to offer the full floor-to-ceiling space of over 1.2 meters.
Utility mode allows you to fold the rear seats forward fully flat on the floor to create spacious cargo room from hatch to the rear of the front seats.
Long mode is when the row of seats on the right side is folded up to accommodate items up to 2.4 meters in length.
After all that hauling, use the Refresh mode for some R&R by moving the front seats forward, removing its headrests, and then reclining both backrests of the front seats 180 degrees to form a bed-like layout.
The Jazz’s new grille, slimmer headlamps, fog lamps, great rear design and the sleek character lines across the body gives it a noticeable presence that wouldn’t put it out of place while parked out on Burgos Circle. The overall shape may be utilitarian but it’s styling is anything but pedestrian.
- Modern cabin features
The Jazz VX+ comes with creature comforts that were previously reserved for higher-end models.
With its Smart Key, reach for either of the front door handles and it unlocks or simply open the hatch without the need to unlock it, particularly handy when you’re carrying a lot of stuff.
It already uses a Start/Stop button to start and turn off the engine, plus a gorgeous seven-inch touchscreen monitor to handle the infotainment system, which doubles as a back-up monitor as well.
- Advanced safety
As handy as a Swiss knife it may be, the Jazz VX+ also packs some serious features not only to make driving safer and more fun but also for added protection for its most important cargo, its passengers.
Priced at P973,000, it already comes with Side Airbags and Side Curtain Airbags on top of the Front Airbags. Plus it also has Hill Start Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist and a seatbelt reminder feature for both front passengers.
MINI-MPV OR SUBCOMPACT?
It falls under different categories in various markets, and even sports more advanced powertrains in some including hybrid and diesel versions, but in essence it really is a mini-MPV in a subcompact’s body.
Extremely fuel-efficient, easy to handle in the tight confines of the city, can handle various types of cargo, looks great, drives safe and comes with all the modern cabin amenities you’ll ever need. That’s six compelling reasons and all that jazz packed in the Honda Jazz 1.5L VX+ CVT.