Thanks for the review with loads of pictures.
I am little underwhelmed by the new Jazz. The improvement over previous generation and contemporaries is little less than what was expected. A. First the positive things:
1. Style: Given the mono-volume design of Jazz, it’s difficult to make this car a head turner. But the new gen Jazz is a great looking car, made possible by some excusive deign touches and powerful cuts all around. Arguably the best looking Honda presently in sale in India.
2. Gizmo: ACC, rear camera, touch screen ICE, console with eco-mode enabled illuminated rings are nice add on over previous models.
3. Ride quality: Improves considerably over previous gen which was pretty harsh at low speed.
4. CVT option: Given the crowded cities of our country, automatic transmission is the need of the hour.
5. Price of petrol models: within i20 range except of VX which is slightly higher (deservingly).
6. Space: The USP of earlier Jazz is retained. B. Things which are disappointing:
1. Glove box, centre console design, gear knob: Earlier car had 2 glove boxes, funky centre console and a nice golf ball type gear lever. New car has only one glove box, eccentric centre console (without any design symmetry) and a horrible looking gear knob. These small things take out the feel good factor of the car.
2. No change in petrol engine: Since this engine is more than 5 years old, I wish Honda had tweaked the engine too either boost up power or low end torque.
3. Diesel engine refinement leaves much to desire.
4. CVT is not offered in top model.
5. Magic seats which are synonymous with Jazz are not offered across the variants. C. What should have been offered:
In its last avatar, Jazz was the best non-luxury hatchback money could buy in India. It was ahead of the nearest rivals i.e. i20 in terms of space, engine (power and refinement), dynamics and offered comparable feature list (especially after facelift in 2011).
But to meet price of i20, Honda has compromised and the end result could have been better. Instead Honda should have retailed its tag for best hatchback buy adopting the following strategy:
1. Eliminate E, S & V model and re-jig the models as S(with safety), present VX and VX with auto
2. Give safety features from the lower variant and make a statement.
3. Magic seats across the variants.
4. Diff between S & VX should have been: alloy wheel, rear camera, non-touch ICE, ACC.
5. VX with auto should have 2 options, normal model with 1.2 L engine and RS model with body kit and 1.5 L engine from City.
Indian market has been maturing rapidly. The pricing and model strategy of Honda could have worked in 2007 and would backfire now. A significant percentage of young Indians do not want to perceive things as per historical mindset and are more inclined to make a statement by themselves. That is why cars like Polo GT is seeing good demand and that is why i20 is outselling Xcent. Examples are plenty but we need to scratch the surface to see the trend.
In short, Honda should have projected Jazz as a premium hatch and demand the premium over i20 due to following factors:
2. Magic seats
3. Better engine
4. Automatic with paddle shifts. D. Comparison with i20
All said and done, does Jazz make a good case over i20. Yes if you look for better engineering and no if you look for creature comfort. Presently lot many negativities are floating against Jazz bloated no doubt by some stupid observations by TBHP moderators in their review (E.g. how petrol engine of i20 is even better than Jazz).
I20 although improved by leap and bounds over the last gen model, still fall short on the following parameters:
• Boot space and passenger room
• Magic seat flexibility and practicality
• Steering/handling confidence
• Ride quality
• Engine power (petrol)
• Useful feature like FE (avg and Inst. ) and DTE indicators
• Better OEM
• Better front seats
But on other feel good features i20 dominates and hence is a hit with masses. Also importantly many of its drawback/Jazz advantages are not instantaneously tangible. For example, it’s easy to show off auto headlamp but is it easy to show the improved dynamics of Jazz. No way. E. Conclusion:
Hence, I believe i20 would comfortably clock 10k+ monthly figures in the present scenario (discounting the Creta/S Cross factor which could play a critical part in future). And for Jazz, a 3k figure should be what the Honda could potentially achieve, at the most.
Even with the changes outlined in C above, I guess Honda could have achieved this mark, albeit with better margin and reputation.