Jazz updated … just a bit

The Jazz has been freshened. Honda doesn’t seem THAT excited, either.


STYLING tweak, some additional equipment and the same engines as before.

That’s the sum total of a mid-life update to Honda’s Jazz, a revitalisation so modest the local distributor determined it was worthy of nothing more than a brief media release.

The lack of any particular fanfare perhaps reflects the state of the small car market, in which Jazz was once a giant. Baby hatches have been so pummelled  by consumer switch to SUVs and crossovers that one bigger player, Ford, has decided to pull all but a single sporty version of its Fiesta, effective as of year-end.

Honda New Zealand has made no mention  of Jazz market performance in its spruik about the car’s update, however year-to-date regiatrations counts suggest it has not managed to avoid the hard times that have hit all category contenders save the Toyota Yaris – whose bacon is undoubtedly only saved by continuing fleet interest.

Picking a 2018 Jazz is not difficult. The line has a revised front end incorporates the ‘Solid Wing Face’ headlight signature and grille. The front bumper is more sculpted, with contours around the air vents. The rear end picks up a gloss black trim. If those elements don’t do it, then the colopurs will – four new shapes (Rouge Amethyst Metallic, Shining Grey Metallic, Midnight Blue Metallic and Premium Agate Brown Pearl) are all bespoke to the update.

Honda NZ says the updated car also has improved driving dynamics, from chassis, rigidity and damper changes. It also says the wee one is quieter, as result of a reduction in cabin.

All versions take a seven-inch Honda Display Audio, Reversing Camera with dynamic guidelines, Parking Sensor Indicators and Distance Warning System. The RS adds a new front splitter and rear diffuser with red detailing, gloss black wheels and new Bi-LED headlights and DRLs.

Jazz continues with the options of a 73kW 1.3-litre Atkinson cycle engine and a 97kW 1.5-litre direct injection unit, with a choice of a six-speed manual or CVT transmission.