Jazz is the smallest Honda car sold in Australia. It was launched here in October 2002, received excellent reviews and sold well from the start. However these early cars are probably past their used-by date so we will start this review at the gen-two Jazz introduced in August 2008 and follow up with the third generation of July 2014.
Though it’s a smallish car Jazz has a high roofline to maximise interior space. It can seat four adults without any of them being cramped. In Australia it’s more likely to carry one or two people. It’s generally used as a city or suburban runabout.
The Jazz has an excellent folding rear seat design, with the fascinating title of Magic Seats. The back seat slides backwards and forwards to let you juggle between people and/or luggage. Even better, it can be folded in a few seconds to create a very large luggage area.
The second generation Jazz kept the same general styling theme as the first, but is larger overall and sits on a longer wheelbase. The result is significantly more room inside, particularly in the rear.
(If you want a Honda Jazz with a larger boot you can choose the Honda City which is a Jazz with a four-door sedan rear end.)
Ride comfort is good if roads are reasonably smooth, but it can be bounced about on bumps. Noise levels are generally subdued but concrete surfaced freeways can be noisy in the earlier models.
Honda Jazz comes with a 1.3- or 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Five-speed manuals are light and easy to use, but weren’t all that popular. Autos are sold in conventional or CVT format. The latter works well but if you’ve not experienced sitting behind one before it may feel odd at first. Give it a decent test drive and you’ll probably find its extra efficiency is worth the trouble.
While the Jazz is reasonably easy for the amateur mechanic to work on, there is some underbonnet crowding that’s inevitable in a car of this size. Keep a workshop manual at your side and don’t attempt any safety related work unless you’re qualified to do so.
The Honda Australia dealer network is widespread in the heavily populated areas, but dealers all that established in remote areas.
Spare parts prices for Hondas are generally pretty reasonable.
We seldom hear of any real hassles with getting hold of spare parts, but if you are concerned about this it may be smart to make local enquiries before falling too deeply in love with one of these cute little models.
Insurance costs for Honda Jazz generally sit in the mid-range of the field. There doesn’t appear to be any real differentiation between companies on premium charges. It’s always wise to spend some time shopping around for the best deal, though.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Make sure the Jazz has been serviced by the book. As it’s generally a city car servicing should have been done on a time, rather than distance basis. If you find it’s the latter there may be excessive mechanical wear.
Have a professional inspection after carrying out initial checks to the best of your ability.
Bodywork should be undamaged and not show any signs of previous panel work. To check for the latter look for paint spatters on non-painted areas, also sight down the sides in good light to see if there are any ripples.
Corrosion is not common unless the car has been poorly repaired after a smash.
Look over the interior to make sure it hasn’t suffered at the hands of uncaring owners, especially bored young kids.
Check that the engine starts easily and responds quickly and positively to the throttle, even when it’s completely cold.
A continuously variable transmission (CVT) that’s jerky in stop-start traffic and / or shifts ratios when you don’t think it should may have problems. However, they are generally reliable.
Expect to pay from $2000 to $4000 for a 2008 Honda Jazz VTi; $4000 to $7000 for a 2011 GLi; $6000 to $10,000 for a 2013 Vibe; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2014 VTi; $9000 to $13,000 for a 2015 VTi-S; $10,000 to $16,000 for a 2016 VTi-L; and $13,000 to $19,000 for a 2018 VTi-L.
CAR BUYING TIP
When checking any used cars these days it’s always smart to get onto the Takata airbag site – ismyairbagsafe.com.au/
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: