2015 Honda Jazz Petrol CVT and MT – First Drive Review
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The 2015 Honda Jazz will also launch with a petrol engine, paired to manual and CVT gearboxes. Here’s the review of the Jazz petrol. For an in-depth idea of the exterior, interior and other aspects of the new Jazz, do refer our review of the diesel model.
The Jazz petrol looks identical to the diesel model, save for the ‘i-VTEC’ branding on the bootlid. While the petrol manual will come in a top-end VX variant with a rear spoiler, the petrol CVT’s top-end trim is the ‘V’, which is devoid of this feature.
Save for the 5-speed manual shifter, and the tachometer which is redlined at 6,500 rpm, there are no changes in the interior of the Jazz petrol MT compared to the diesel. Since the Jazz CVT does not get a VX trim, owners will miss out on the black seat fabrics, Magic Seat, reclining rear seat and the 6.2-inch touchscreen AVN system. However, the CVT gets paddle shifters, but doesn’t see the E-CON driving mode which is present on the City CVT.
Engine and Gearbox:
Powering the Jazz petrol is the Brio-derived 1.2-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC engine, suitably modified to produce 90 PS at 6,000 rpm and 110 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm. For reference, this engine develops 88 PS at 6,000 rpm and 109 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm on the Brio.
What’s good about this engine? Well, being a Honda unit, refinement and NVH levels are top-notch, possibly even best-in-segment. Sadly, things go a bit downhill from here.
If you’re expecting this motor to have the same zesty kick as in the Brio, you’ll be disappointed; the additional weight of 119 kg over the Brio has clearly taken a toll on performance. Add to that, this engine seems optimized for fuel efficiency than outright power, so those expecting the Jazz petrol to deliver traditional Honda levels of performance are in for some sad news.
That’s not to say that the Jazz petrol feels terribly underpowered. With three people on-board, we were able to get a decent move-on on Goan roads, though we found ourselves downshifting more than necessary. For an average user, the Jazz petrol MT will surely have adequate performance for city driving, and on highways, maintaining speeds between 80-100 km/h shouldn’t be a difficult task.
For the first time in India, the Jazz will also get a CVT with 7-stepped ratios, similar to the one seen on the City. Compared to the 5MT gearbox, Honda claims the CVT’s ratios are expanded by 19 percent, and the weight of the gearbox is reduced by 16 percent.
Drive the Jazz CVT with a light-to-medium foot, and you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. Acceleration in the low- and mid-range is rather progressive, and makes it ideal for city commutes. As with the CVT technology, pinning your foot on the accelerator brings about the ‘rubber-band effect’, wherein it takes a while for the car’s speed to match that of the engine’s. What helps here are the paddle shifters which work surprisingly well in accelerating the hatchback, sans the rubber-band effect.
The paddles have even greater use when driving downhill, as a few flicks on the left paddle gives access to some engine braking, which is otherwise not present when you leave the gearbox in the ‘D’ mode.
Overall, the Jazz CVT actually feels nicer to drive compared to the manual, and with a permanent retirement for your left foot, it should prove to be the perfect urban family runabout.
Ride and Handling:
The ride and handling package of the Jazz petrol is similar to the Jazz diesel. However, thanks to the lighter kerb weight (Honda have not disclosed the kerb weight of the diesel Jazz yet), the petrol variants of the Jazz feel a touch more nimble in darting into corners. That being said, the steering feels lighter as well, and a touch unresponsive compared to the Jazz diesel.
Expect the Jazz petrol MT to have a starting price in the region of INR 5.5-5.7 lakhs, ex-Showroom, New Delhi, making it about INR 20,000-40,000 more expensive than the Elite i20 Era. However, the base variant of the City comes with ABS, EBD and driver airbag as standard, and a similar specification could be seen on the Jazz as well.
Honda claims an ARAI-rated figure of 18.7 km/l for the Jazz petrol MT and 19 km/l for the Jazz CVT. The Jazz MT returned about 10.5-11 km/l on our short drive, but more surprisingly, the Jazz CVT saw figures of only 9 km/l, even though it was driven with a light-to-medium foot on the accelerator. The test car had run a mere 400 km on the odo, and we reckon these figures should be higher once the car completes its running-in period.
Enthusiasts looking forward to the Jazz petrol will not be happy with the sluggish response of this unit. On the other hand, regular buyers will appreciate the refinement levels of this engine, which adheres to typical Honda standards.
More than the Jazz MT, we fancy the Jazz CVT which feels smoother and easier to drive, especially in city conditions. Yes, this is no Polo GT TSI which gets a high-end turbocharged petrol engine and a 7-speed DSG, but for ordinary buyers, the Jazz CVT should more than suffice. We would have really liked a top-end VX trim on the Jazz CVT, as the Magic Seat feature should prove to be useful when moving tall objects, or even taking your pets for a ride.