While we got to play with the fierce Civic Type R, Honda also got us to sample a new, sporty orientated Jazz model.
In South Africa, the Jazz Sport becomes the new flagship of the range, replacing the current Dynamic derivatives, offering more, while remaining at the same selling price of R310 000. This includes a five-year/200 000 km warranty and a fouryear/60 000 km service plan, as well as a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package.
Services are at 15 000 km intervals. Immediately apparent is the wider, lower stance of the hatchback, thanks to substantial, aerodynamically inspired styling changes front and rear.
The new front-end of the Jazz Sport features a sleeker grille design with gloss piano black and chrome elements, framed by slim LED headlights with LED daytime running lights.
Gloss-black exterior mirror housings are standard. A sculpted front bumper is home to integrated fog lamps with black surrounds, while a new, more prominent front splitter with red pin-striping adds further, Type R-inspired appeal.
The aerodynamic theme continues with smoothly sculpted sill extensions between the front and rear wheel arches, while the 16-inch Berlina black alloy wheels, shod with 185/50 R16 tyres, also serves to emphasise the Jazz Sport’s dynamic character.
The rear has also been reimagined with the addition of a bold rear spoiler, as well as a threestroke diffuser with an upper trim line mirroring the same red detailing as the front splitter. The Jazz Sport’s black-hued cockpit has been revised to match the more extrovert exterior treatment.
Thus, the Type R-inspired red accent theme is carried over to the interior, encompassing red stitching on the seats, the console-mounted armrest and the leather-trimmed steering wheel. Sport pedals are fitted as standard, while the upgraded audio system features six loudspeakers.
Also reminiscent of the Type R is the pushbutton start system and smart, keyless entry system. As the new flagship of the range, the Jazz Sport features an extensive array of standard luxury, convenience and safety features.
Comprehensive instrumentation is augmented by a seven-inch touchscreen display that controls the infotainment system – including a CD receiver with six loudspeakers, Bluetooth-driven hands-free telephony, and USB and HDMI connections.
It is also linked to the rear-view camera. The Jazz Sport is fitted with electric windows front and rear, as well as cruise control, automatic air-conditioning, a tilt and reach-adjustable steering wheel and rear parking sensors as standard.
Although still a 1.5-litre engine it’s all new and makes use of direct injection and intelligent variable valve timing and lift to produce 97 kW at 6 600 rpm, with an accompanying torque peak of 155 Nm at 4 600 rpm.
This is said to be good enough to get the Jazz Sport to 100 km/h in under 10 seconds, while using only 5.6-litres of fuel per 100 km on average.
I am not sure how many will see this as a sporty move, but the Jazz Sport uses a specially adapted Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that features Step Shift and gearshift paddles.
It’s not bad, and if you use the paddles, and add in the firming up of the retuned suspension you get a Jazz that is unlike any other Jazz you’ve experienced before. Active and passive safety are comprehensively addressed.
On the active front, the Jazz Sport gets ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), as well as Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist (HSA).
Passive safety is served by an Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) bodyshell that ensures optimised crash safety and passenger safety cell integrity, augmented by six SRS airbags.
Three-point inertia reel seatbelts are standard front and rear, with pre-tensioners and height-adjustable anchors for the front belts. ISOFix child seat anchors are also provided.
So perhaps the new Honda Jazz Sport could appeal to you if you are looking for something a bit sportier than what the normal Jazz is considered to be.
Time will tell though if buyers can get their mind around this leap and take to this new offering.