Honda car India has been in the news for just the right reasons in the last one year. Two new cars the WR-V and the Amaze have been huge hits in the market. Banking on that the Japanese car maker is feeling bullish about the future. Earlier this week the company introduced the facelift of its mini MPV the Jazz, hoping this one too will replicate the performance of the cars mentioned above. Honda says the idea is to present the Jazz as a more premium product than earlier and therefore the car sees the addition of some more features while a few things have gone missing in this update.

Looks

The Jazz has always been a looker and many things contribute to that. These include the nice black gloss grille, the sleek headlamps and those beautiful 15 inch alloy wheels. In addition to these Honda has now added a signature rear LED wing light something that makes the car look more modern. The door handles now get chrome on them and that too points to a more premium appeal. Apart from these two major changes there isn’t much that differentiates the Jazz from the pre-facelift car. Honda has also introduces two new colours on the new car. These are radiant red metallic and lunar silver metallic.

Interiors

On the inside a lot more has changed on the Jazz. Biggest amongst that is the addition of Digipad 2.0, the 17.7cm touch screen Infotainment with audio, video and navigation system. The touch screen system already seen on cars like the City and Amaze is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has rear camera display. The one push start/ stop button now gets white and red illumination to make it a little less subtle. Cruise control also finds a place now on the Jazz and if you compare the quality of buttons the Jazz surely scores over the Amaze. In addition to these there’s also a front centre armrest and very importantly a central lock hand switch. Interior space remains a plus point on the Jazz but the company has now decided to do away with magic seats and adjustable headrests on the second row.

Biggest changes in the interiors are the addition of Digipad 2.0, the 17.7cm touch screen infotainment unit with audio, video and navigation system.

Engine

The Jazz will continue to run on the same engines. The 1.5 liter diesel we tested here delivers a maximum power of 100 PS and a peak torque of 200 Nm. But the big pull here is the very impressive fuel economy of 27.3 kmpl. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The refinement levels of this engine are of acceptable levels but performance wise the Amaze delivers more. The 1.2 liter petrol on the other hand is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. It churns out a maximum power of 90 PS a peak torque of 110 Nm. Here the company is claiming a mileage of 19 kmpl. While Honda says NVH levels have improved on the new cars it’s tough to find a significant difference between the new and old Jazz. The petrol also has a CVT transmission that comes with Paddle shifts and gives a fuel economy of 18.7 kmpl. However unlike the recently launched new generation of the Amaze that shares the same engines the Jazz still does not get a CVT in Diesel.

Ride & Handling

The Jazz has always been known to give a comfortable ride. That doesn’t change on this facelift. It’s a setup that takes to the road conditions really well and doesn’t unsettle the occupants of the car. It only helps that there’s adequate space on the second row to enjoy the commute. Handling is decent too and while you don’t get thrown around, the MPV shape does act as a hindrance in certain situations. The body roll does affect the agility to some extent. Although the electric power steering is something you’ll like on the Jazz as it is responsive and gives good feedback.

Verdict

In trying to turn the Jazz into a more premium offering Honda has discontinued the 2 base variants on the car. So now the car is available in 2 grades in petrol—V and VX (both get CVT) and 3 grades in diesel—S, V and VX. This has also resulted in a significant price gap between the Jazz and the Amaze as both were similarly priced earlier. Now the Jazz starts at Rs. 7.35 lakh (ex-showroom) for the base petrol while the Amaze starts at Rs. 5.6 lakh (ex-showroom). The diesel Jazz now starts at Rs. 8.05 lakh (ex-showroom). This has certainly made the car more expensive than before, but it has also made it more premium while it stays as practical as ever.

Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars

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