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A revitalised Jazz range sees the addition of a derivative boasting the Sport badge, but just how athletic is it?

Honda can certainly lay claim to the “Sport” moniker. A multitude of motorsport podiums, generations of exhilarating Type Rs and sweet-handling cars such as the earlier Civics, CRXs and Preludes have garnered it fans across the globe, including a devoted chapter here in South Africa.

In recent years, however, there hasn’t been much for local Honda fans to get overly excited about. Beyond the previous- and current-generation Civic Type Rs – both of which would be outside the budget of most younger drivers – there hasn’t been an accessible performance model from the Japanese brand. It’s a sporty entry point to Honda that has clearly been missing in the local line-up and it’s one the Jazz Sport is attempting to step into. The Sport thus replaces the Dynamic at the top of the local Jazz range. What, then, does this little Jazz possess to earn that new moniker?

On the face of it, a fair amount. The Jazz Sport gets an extra 9 kW and 10 N.m from its new 1,5-litre, naturally aspirated unit (97 kW/155 N.m), a slightly fettled suspension with revised dampers, a more rigid steering rack, rear disc brakes (as opposed to the 200 mm drums on other Jazzes) and, most visibly, Type R-inspired body panels, which include fresh front and rear bumpers, as well as a boot spoiler and diffuser.

It certainly looks the part, but do the mechanical upgrades come to the party, too? Almost, but not quite; you’d be hard pressed to describe the Jazz Sport as a warm hatch, let alone a hot one. The main concern is the transmission, a CVT. Although Subaru may successfully argue the point, mating a continuously variable transmission to any engine – especially a small-capacity one – is never going to result in anything approaching performance motoring.

Certainly an improvement over the previous Jazz CVT offering, the revised system makes for smoother progress in slow-moving traffic. Mated with the reworked 1,5-litre, however, it does feel like it stifles the powertrain. Given that the Jazz Sport is available with a five-speed manual gearbox in foreign markets, it is odd that Honda SA has opted for the CVT.

During our performance testing, the Jazz Sport clocked a 0-100 km/h time of 9,62 seconds, 0,18 seconds quicker than Honda’s claimed figure. Reaching that time doesn’t provide much excitement, however, as most of the time you’re listening to the engine drone as the CVT pushes it into high revs.

Oddly enough, the improved braking system achieved an average 100-0 km/h time of 3,09 seconds, slightly worse than the figure posted by the Jazz 1,5 Dynamic we tested in our April 2015 issue (even though that vehicle was fitted with the same tyres and rear drums). That said, this figure is still good. Criticism of a lack of strong performance shouldn’t detract from what is still an excellent vehicle, though. The Jazz Sport remains a pleasurable drive and, at a cruise, the engine settles down and the ride remains comfortable, despite the suspension having been tweaked to match the racier outer appearance.

Inside, there are handy toys such as a large touchscreen infotainment system, plus a reverse-camera feed linked to parking sensors. An omission we did find odd was the lack of auto-on lights and wipers, a feature that has become common in flagship ranges in this segment.

As ever, though, where the Jazz trumps the segment is in its packaging, with an impressive 1 104 litres of utility space. A generous four-year/60 000 km service plan is a big plus, too.
SOLID AND SPACIOUS CAR

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Cloth upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: Standard
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Climate control automatic air conditioning: Standard
  • Front armrests: Standard
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 6
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: outer rear
  • Emergency brake hazardlights: emergency-brake flashing brake lights
  • Start stop button: Standard
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Cruise control: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Central locking: keyless
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Key less access start hands free key: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Daytime driving running lights: LED
  • Xenon headlights: LED
  • Frontfog lamps lights: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Park distance control PDC: rear + rear camera
  • Camera for park distance control: rear
  • Rear spoiler: Standard
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: petrol
  • Fuel range average: 714 km
  • Driven wheels: front
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: V
  • Gearshift: automatic
  • Transmission type: CVT
  • Gear shift paddles: Standard
  • Front tyres: 185/55 R16
  • Reartyres: 185/55 R16
  • Length: 4051 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1694 mm
  • Height: 1524 mm
  • Wheel base: 2530 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 135 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 10.8 m
  • Load volume / capacity: 359-889-1881 L
  • Load volume / capacity: 1881 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 1066 kg
  • Gross weight (GVM): 1490 kg
  • Towing capacity - braked: 0
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 40l
  • Fuel consumption average: 5.6 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 133g/km
  • Power maximum: 97 kW
  • Power maximum total: 97 kW
  • Power peak revs: 6600 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 91 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 155 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 4600 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 155 Nm
  • Torque to weight ratio: 145.4 Nm/ton
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: 9.8s
  • Maximum top speed: 180 km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 1497 cc
  • Engine size: 1.5l
  • enginedetailshort: 1.5
  • Engine + detail: 1.5
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 16
  • Variable camvalve timing: Standard
  • Variable valvelift: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 5
  • Warranty distance (km): 200000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 4
  • Service plan time (distance): 60000 km
  • Roadside assistance time: 3
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Brand: Honda
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 25013335
  • MMVariant: JAZZ 1.5 SPORT CVT
  • Introdate: 2018-02-02
  • DuoportarecordID: HondJazz3h15

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