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All new 2009 Honda Jazz test drive review

  • When I change the suspension of my 5 years old Honda City, I've seen that the all new 2009 Honda Jazz - which is called All New Honda Jazz in Indonesia - has arrived on the dealer.  The dealer offered me to test drive the Jazz and I have no other answer than yes!  This is an excellent car that is well anticipated, and I'm reviewing the All New Honda Jazz Automatic, Indonesian version anyway.  This picture is linked from and is their copyrights .

    • As standard I will use my test driving guide to test drive the Honda Jazz.  A sneak peak to this review, the Jazz it is swift, comfortable, and roomy.

    • Part 1 Testing the ergonomics

      • Driving position is very comfortable.  I'm 180cm tall, or 6 ft if you like, and I still find plenty of room to stretch and rest my feet comfortably.  The windscreen is huge which will contribute to more viewing area, moreover I love huge windscreen.  The fact is I find the most comfortable driving position in an instant, and the car seat is good for at least 4 hours of driving, which means not tiring for long journey.

      • Ergonomics of air conditioner control panel is fine, every control including hot cold air mixture ratio (no climate control here), air flow control and fan control are all within reach and neatly positioned.  Thumbs up here.

      • However audio control is complicated, although it has USB and Aux input, it is hard to learn to operate the audio and they put too much techies & jargons.  Jazz also lacks of audio control from the steering wheel while the audio control is out of my reach.

      • The new Jazz had a lots of in car storage, such as 10 cup holders, which is handy.  Moreover it is big enough to transport 4 adults Asian in comfort.

      • One weakness here is, IMHO, the car's interior material quality is close to awful.

    • Part 2 Testing the braking system

      • Braking stability as far as I'm concerned is excellent.  Even panic braking from 60KmH while turning the steering wheel can be handled well.

      • I've tried to stop the car using BA feature (which means hard stop) and I find the stopping distance is short.  When using BA, the whole car's body will vibrate loudly and you will hear its tyre squeaking.  This is normal, this is how it works, remember you just stop from 60KmH in short distance.  Just remember, do not abuse the BA!  It is not a saviour, good driving practice is the one that will guarantee your survival on road.

      • ABS and EBD works wonderfully and even deliberate skidding causes no problem.  The ABS and EBD made driving correction in a bad street can be done easily.

    • Part 3 Engine power test

      • Maximum acceleration can be expected that the Jazz with 120 horsepower is much faster than my 2003 Honda City which only had 87 HPs.  I've tried that and it is fast!  Expect 0-100KpH in about 11 seconds.  Top speed, I guess around 150 KmH.

      • Everyday use, as expected is very good.  Power is reached at low torque band, so you won't need to press the pedal deeply to reach desired acceleration.  Just put to full automatic mode, its sharp steering will allow you to cruise on busy city street easily.  On mountains, again the car is swift enough.  However the car is not as swift as Yaris, may be because of Yaris is smaller.

    • Part 4 Automatic transmission test

      • As usual I test the transmission by climbing mountain.  What I found here, the transmission is smart enough not to shift up while climbing.  In fact it is very smart and almost as smart as competent manual transmission driver drives.  However when going down hill, it has little or no engine brake.

      • The shift is smooth, and it has a paddle shift.  By shifting you can directly change the gear even from D position.  The gear indicator will lid and the gear shifts.  However this shift is only temporary, when possible the system will go back to full automatic.  This is especially useful when going downhill, since Jazz does not engine break.  The system is smarter compared to previous generation of Jazz which requires us to use 7 speed mode before we can manual the shift, which is distracting.  Moreover this is also faster compared to BMW's and other manufacturer's style which requires the switch the lever to M or other position to manual override the gear.

      • To switch to S position, you will need to press the shift release button.  S mode enables more aggressive setting, and on S position, the manual override stays on manual, not going back to automatic.  I did not use the S mode much, since D is enough for me.

      • When climbing hills on full automatic mode (both D or S), the gear shift pattern is well predictable, unlike my Nissan Livina's that always shift erratically making it almost impossible to maintain constant speed.

    • Part 5 Steering test

      • The steering response is very good, it is sharp yet stable enough.  Although Jazz tends to oversteer, the movement itself is very predictable, which is great for learner. 

      • Thanks to sharp steering, emergency turns to avoid incoming attack from motorcycle can be done quickly.

    • Part 6 Body control test

      • On its class, Jazz's body is stable and body rolls are quite low.  That is because the suspension is stiff enough.  However it could not damp Indonesia's legendary bumpy road.

    • Part 7 Parking,

      • 2009 Honda Jazz has narrow steering range which make it convenient to park on small car park.  Parking sensors would not be necessary for this car, although it would be nice to have an array of them.

      • Parking manoeuvrability is better than Toyota Yaris - a car of comparable size - and its A pillar has been improved and now features huge windscreen to make navigation easier.  However it is still too thick, at least for me.

    • Part 8 Airbag, I did not test them, but Jazz has two of them.  Please message me if you had tried Jazz's airbag and tell me how good it was.