JAZZ music is lost on me, yet the word itself cannot help but conjure up an expectation of exciting things to come. Indeed, the Jazz Age — the Roaring Twenties — was a time of excitement and indulgence before the gloom of the depressed Thirties.
So forgive me for a moment for returning to a cherished theme of mine — the arbitrary and often amusing naming of cars.
Maybe in a digital age, cars with numbers for names — if you see what I mean — is the best way forward. The prestige car brands seem to have adopted this policy without harming their image or sales.
Yet without naming names, some carmakers have come up with tortuous monikers for perfectly sane cars. Sometimes it pays off. I think when it was first launched here more than a decade ago Honda showed some smart thinking by coming up with the catchy name of Jazz for what has become one of its most successful models.
Yet Honda defied the connotations of the word: jazz is swirling, spontaneous music that goes with the flow. The Honda Jazz, this week’s drive, is a car that has been developed to a solid, dependable musical score cosseting the driver with tried and tested engines, comfortable and versatile interiors and modern styling that would not be out of place anywhere in the world.
To that end, the Honda Jazz is a car that certainly appeals to a lot of people — it has achieved astounding levels of customer satisfaction. The British-built Jazz recently took pole position in the JD Power owner satisfaction survey’s supermini category for the ninth year running.
This respected survey digests the views of almost 18,000 car buyers. They have driven around 360 million miles between them and score each car in four categories — vehicle quality and reliability, appeal, service satisfaction and ownership costs. Honda’s popular supermini the Jazz “retains a flawless record having stayed at the top since its introduction to the survey in 2004”.
This year the Jazz took both first and second places in the Which? Car Supermini Best Buy category, further reinforcing its reliability and popularity. Owners placed three Jazz variants in the Supermini chart top 10, taking the two top spots with the current models.
Experts praised the Jazz’s class-leading space and versatility, excellent reliability, strong resale values and the fact it’s easy and safe to drive.
So in anyone’s book, the performance in sales and satisfaction of the Honda Jazz almost flies in the face of its name, a word more likely to be associated with accomplished musicians winging it.
After spending some time with the Jazz I realised that its understated manner, its ease of access for both the driver and occupants, its undemonstrative presence on the road, add up to just about everything you might want from a supermini. Oh, and the Jazz has a prodigious number of bottle holders which as any committed motorist knows is always the sign of a well-thought out motor car.
The test car was the Honda Jazz with a 1.4 petrol engine. This is a versatile power unit that slips into ECO mode whenever your driving allows it to. So in this way you can achieve 50-plus miles per gallon on the combined cycle, with your emissions never exceeding 129g/km.
This is the kind of good, responsible motoring one has come to expect from a quality carmaker such as Honda. There are two types of engines available, both petrol and one a 1.4, the other 1.2-litre. On balance I would probably prefer the bigger engine but of course the smaller engine might suit your requirements. And the Honda Jazz is bound to appeal to, and complement, your practical side when it comes to choosing a car.
Test car: Honda Jazz 1.4 i-VTEC ES Plus Manual Colour: Milano red Price: (on the road) £14,495 Specification includes: l16in alloy wheels lCruise control lPrivacy glass lElectric retractable mirrors with indicators The Jazz is available with two i-VTEC petrol engines — 1.2 and 1.4 — and Honda’s efficient hybrid IMA technology. Prices for the Jazz start from £11,695 (on the road) for the entry level 1.2 S.
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