Honda has relented and introduced a CVT as part of a package of mid-term tweaks to the Jazz
The CVT still manages economy figures marginally better than those of the unloved i-Shift
Bigger throttle openings have the little motor screaming though
At a £1000 supplement the CVT looks like good value over the manual 1.4
First DriveThe new Honda Jazz is bigger than ever thanks to a new chassis and longer wheelbase. We test it on UK roads to see if it's better to drive, too
First DriveThird-generation Jazz benefits from a new, lighter chassis, tweaked steering, improved interior quality and the firm's latest infotainment system
What is it?
Honda Jazz owners are the sort of people who like what they know – but who definitely aren’t keen on new and untried technology. It’s a lesson the company learned after dropping the option of a CVT autobox for the second-gen Jazz, despite the fact a massive 40 per cent of buyers of the original car had chosen it.
Instead there was a jerky single-clutch robomanual branded i-Shift. Two years later, and after a rebellion by the Jazz’s elderly fanbase, Honda has relented and introduced a CVT as part of a package of mid-term tweaks.
There are actually two different CVT-equipped Jazzes. The new Hybrid will use one with an automated clutch, while the standard car gets a torque converter. Despite that, the CVT still manages economy figures marginally better than those of the unloved i-Shift, thanks in part to the addition of a new, more aero-friendly bodykit. Suspension has also been softened slightly to improve compliance.
What's it like?
The CVT works well when used for the sort of gentle use most Jazz owners expect – the average buyer is 56 years old. It pulls away smoothly and deals well with gentle acceleration, the engine holding its revs as the transmission slurs its ratios to catch up.
Bigger throttle openings have the little motor screaming though – which has the curious effect of making the CVT Jazz feel slower than it actually is. And in a car like this the transmission’s even-revvier ‘Sport’ mode seems almost entirely pointless.
Should I buy one?
It will sell, though – and not just because of the pent-up demand among existing owners. At a £1000 supplement the CVT looks like good value over the manual 1.4, considering its ease of use and the fact it comes with no economy penalty.
Honda Jazz 1.4 ES CVT
Price: £14,495;Top speed: 109mph; 0-62,ph: 12.8 secs; Economy: 52.3mpg; CO2: 125g/km; Kerb weight: 1140kg; Engine: 4cyls in line, 1339cc, petrol; Power: 98bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 94lb-ft at 4900rpm; Gearbox: CVT