Bows Honda Homepage - (c) Honda, Japan Logo des Honda Jazz


Vol 161 No 4561
26 May 1984
S. 22 - 27

Titelbild der Zeitschrift

Auto Test Honda Jazz

£ 4,315

Max: 88 mph 0 - 60 mph: 13.4 sec

35.3 mpg overall

  • Useful height from unusual shape
  • Nippy performance
  • Light controls
  • Accurate steering


  • Engine noise intrusive
  • Choppy ride
  • Limited rear legroom
  • Seats lack support
Honda Jazz

Small but tall
New kind of town car from Honda has full Autotest

Honda have something of a reputation of marching to the beat of a different drummer when it comes to the design and engineering of their small cars. There were the S600 and S800 sports cars, whose power units seemed to have the rev-ability of formula 1 engines, the minuscule N360, an early attempt at a town car with its two-cylinder engine, and the slightly larger N600, more conventional in appearance, but still with two cylinders of motive power.

The Honda Jazz, then, is following something of a family tradition, and even though its mechanicals are orthodox enough, the stares and double-takes of motorists and pedestrians alike soon confirm that Honda's latest attempt at an urban car looks like nothing else presently on Britain's roads. As discussed in Technical Focus, the Jazz employs the so-called "tall-car" principle to give occupants a higher seating position, with attendant gains in visibility and ease of entry and exit, in a compact, easily manoeuvred package.

The design concept for the Jazz accoring to Honda engineers, was based upon a sphere rather than a cube, and it most definitely shows. The Jazz is a member of the increasingly in-vogue "tall-car" fraternity and more closely resembles a Nissan Prairie than any other vehicle. Clearly, the most notable feature of the Jazz is its unusual styling. The bonnet and windscreen are steeply raked - the latter at 55 deg to the vertical - and flow into the asymmetrically shaped grille. The large front and rear bumpers-cum-aprons are one-piece polypropylene.

The rear of the car follows a nearly vertical line with the roof itself terminating in a small, upswept spolier while the back wheels are positioned so far rearwards that there is virtually no overhang. A drag coefficient of 0.40 is not terribly impressive by current standards, but it must be remembered that small cars are more difficult to make aerodynamically efficient than larger ones. The Jazzz incorporates a number of windcheating touches, including the windscreen glass and rear side windows glazed directly to the body, horizontal louvres in the rear bumper to help reduce under-body pressure build-up, plus flush door handles and side mouldings.

More interesting, though, are the possible practical benefits to be derived from a tall-car design. Because of the higher roof line, the driver and front passenger sit 2 3/4 in. higher than in a more conventional hatchback like the Civic - with attendant gains in visibility. In fact, the "maximization of inner space" was a high priority within the compact external dimensions of the Jazz. To this end, the location of the transverse engine and strut-type front suspension system were designed to intrude as little as possible into the interior of the car. Similarly, the position of the rear wheelarches and slimline coil spring-strut (seperately mounted) suspension means boot capacity is only marginally infringed upon. In addition, the mouldings for the headlining and door linings have been designed to contribute extra inches of unsable space.

The short tail of the Jazz means there is less luggage space than in some of the car's competitors (6.9 cu ft. is the manufacturer's quoted figure), but the rear seat can be folded into a vertical position behind the front seats to provide a useful cargo area.

(c) Honda, Deutschland
Aside from the obvious improvement in visiblity, one of the biggest gains from a "tall-car" design such as the Jazz is the ease of entry and exit - particularly appropriate for a vehicle spending much of its working life in town
Putting the pros and cons of such designs to one side for the moment, though, how does the Jazz perform? It's light at 1,556 lb, despite all that weight-adding glass, and the 56 bhp, 1,231 c. c. engine propels it to 60 mph in a respectable 13.4 sec. In fact, it displays useful gains in all the major performance indicators over the last comparable Honda Civic tested, a 1,238 c. c. five-door model (8 April 1978). It is also very much in contention, as far as performance is concerned, with the other small hatchbacks against which it is clearly pitched.

With a bore and stroke of 66.0 mm x 90.0 mm, the engine in the Jazz is clearly undersquare. To make it more compact, this variant of the Civic power unit is fitted with a counterflow rather than crossflow cylinder head, works on a 10.2-to-1 compression ratio and, according to Honda engineers, is intended "to generate high torque at low rpm, to cope with the stop-start of city traffic, while retaining good fuel economy."

In our experience with the Jazz, the engine certainly seems to accomplish those aims, but it is also a noticeably responsive, pokey unit which revs freely and willingly to the accompaniment of a rorty induction rasp - great fun around town, but it could conceivably become tiresome in the course of a long, fast run.

Arguably the most unusual aspect of the UK-specification Jazz is the choice of gear ratios. On paper, the mph per 1,000 rpm figures for third, fourth and fifth gears of 13.90, 18.62 and 22.09 respectively, seem quite closely spaced; substantiated by maxima in the gears of 83, 88 an 86 mph. There is very little to choose between them, other than the engine revs at which they achieve those speeds. This phenomenon was noted by Autocar testers on previous five-speed Honda Civics.

In spite of the eager nature of the engine, the apparently strange choice of gearing and the aerodynamically unclean body with its 0.40 drag coefficient, the Jazz recorded 35.3 mpg overall. That isn't particularly impressive fuel consumption figure when compared with, say, the 40.6 mpg of the Mini City, 41.3 mpg for the Renault 5TL or 43.7 mpg for the Nissan Micra - all cars against which the Honda could be said to compete - but it is a reasonable figure. Our consumption figures varied between a worst of 32.9 mpg, after testing at MIRA, and 39.1 mpg, after a spell of less rigorous use around town and on medium-distance commuting trips over a variety of roads.

Oil consumption during the test period was negligible with no apparent change in the level indicated on the dipstick.


The Jazz has a lot of good qualities.
Honda Jazz Armaturenbrett
Large speedo dominates instrument panel

Honda Jazz Motor
56 bhp engine gives class-beating if unrefined performance

Honda Jazz Innenraum
Headroom not as good as it looks and lots of painted metal in cabin

Honda Jazz Cockpit
Upright driving position; plenty of space for oddments


Honda Jazz

15 mph
70 deg F/21 deg C
29.4 in Hg 996 mbar
Dry tarmacadam
  mph kph
Banked Circuit
Best ¼ mile
Terminal speeds:      
at ¼ mile
at kilometre
Speeds in gears (at 5,500 rpm):      
mph sec   kph sec
0 - 30 3.7   0 - 40 2.7
0 - 40 5.8   0 - 60 5.3
0 - 50 8.7   0 - 80 8.6
0 - 60 12.7   0 - 100 13.8
0 - 70 18.2   0 - 120 22.4
0 - 80 29.8      
Standing ¼ 18.9   Standing km 36.0
mph sec   kph sec
20 - 40 13.3   40 - 60 8.2
30 - 50 14.5   60 - 80 9.3
40 - 60 17.0   80 - 100 11.8
50 - 70 22.4   100 - 120 19.0
mph sec   kph sec
20 - 40 10.2   40 - 60 6.3
30 - 50 10.8   60 - 80 7.0
40 - 60 11.4   80 - 100 8.0
50 - 70 14.2   100 - 120 11.1
60 - 80 20.6      
Touring* 48.2 mpg
5.9 litres/100 km
Overall 40.8 mpg
6.9 litres/100 km
Govt tests 45.6 mpg (urban)
57.6 mpg (56 mph)
40.9 mpg (75 mph)
Fuel grade 97 octane
Tank capacity 9.0 galls
41 litres
Max range 434 miles
698 km
Test distance 658 miles
1,059 km
* An estimated fuel consumption computed from the theoretical consumption at a steady speed midway between 30 mph and the car's maximum, less 5 per cent.
NOISE dBA   Motor rating*  
30 mph 68   14  
50 mph 72   18  
70 mph 80   32  
Maximumº 86   48  
* A rating where 1 = 30 dBA and 100 = 96 dBA, and where double the number means double the loudness
º Peak noise level under full-throttle acceleration in 2nd
True mph 30 40 50 60 70 80
Speedo 29 39 48 57 66 75
Distance recorder: 1.0 per cent fast
WEIGHT cwt   kg  
Unladen weight* 13.8   700  
Weight as tested 17.1   870  
* with fuel for approx 50 miles

Performance tests carried out by Motor's staff at the Motor Industry Research Association proving ground, Lindley.
Test Data: World Copyright reserved by Motor.

Cylinders 4 in-line
Capacity 1,231 cc (75 cu in)
Bore/stroke 66/90 mm
(2.60/3.54 in)
Cooling Water
Block Aluminium alloy
Head Aluminium alloy
Valves Sohc
Cam drive Toothed belt
Compression 10.2 : 1
Carburetter Keihin twin choke
Ignition Contactless
Bearings 5 main
Max power 56 bhp (DIN) at 5,000 rpm
Max torque 68.7 lb ft (DIN) at 3,500 rpm
Type 5-speed manual
Clutch dia N/A
Actuation Cable
Internal ratios and mph/1,000 rpm
Top 0.655/21.8
4th 0.777/18.4
3rd 1.041/13.7
2nd 1.526/9.4
1st 2.916/4.9
Rev 2.916
Final drive 4.266
Construction Unitary, all steel
Protection Six-year anti-corrosion warranty
Front Independent by MacPherson struts, coil springs
Rear Semi-trailing arms, coil springs
Type Rack and pinion
Assistance None
Front Discs, 6.9 in dia
Rear Drums, 7.1 in dia
Park On rear
Servo Yes
Circuit Diagonal split
Rear valve Yes
Adjustment Automatic
Type Pressed steel 4 J x 12
Tyres 145 SR 12
Pressures 26/26 psi F/R (normal)
26/28 psi F/R (full load/high speed)
Battery 47 Ah
Earth Negative
Generator Alternator, 45 Amp
Fuses 17
type Halogen
dip 110 W total
main 120 W total
Make: Honda. Model: Jazz. Maker: Honda Motor Co. 6-27-8 Chome, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan. UK Concessionaires: Honda (UK) Ltd, 4 Power Road, Chiswick, London W4 5YT. Tel. 01-995 9381. Price: £ 3,463.55 basic, plus £ 288.62 Car Tax, plus £ 562.83 VAT equals £ 4,315.00 total.
The Rivals

Other possible rivals include the Ford Fiesta Popular 1.1 (£ 4,319), Renault 5 GTL (£ 4,520), Suzuki SA 310 GL (£ 3,999), Talbot Samba 1.1 GL (£ 4,395) and Toyota Starlet 1.0 GL (£ 4,267).

Abmessungen Honda Jazz
Power, bhp/rpm 56/5,000
Torque, lb ft/rpm 69/3,500
Tyres 145 SR 12
Weight, cwt 13.8
Max speed, mph 89.1
0 - 60 mph, sec 12.7
30 - 50 mph in 4th, sec 10.8
Overall mpg 40.8
Touring mpg 48.2
Fuel grade, stars 4
Boot capacity, cu ft 4.8
Test Date June 30, 1984
The Honda Jazz is very easy to drive and has a larger than usual engine size for the class, giving both excellent performance and class-beating economy. But accommodation is very limited, refinement poor, it is starkly trimmed and the ride is uncomfortably harsh; furthermore several items of expected equipment are missing - though it does boast a detachable sunroof. It is expensive, but its "tall build" design does represent an interesting and eye catching approach to the concept of a town car.
Abmessungen Austin Metro
Power, bhp/rpm 46/5,500
Torque, lb ft/rpm 54/3,250
Tyres 135 SR 12
Weight, cwt 14.8
Max speed, mph 86.0
0 - 60 mph, sec 18.2
30 - 50 mph in 4th, sec 17.2
Overall mpg 39.7
Touring mpg 51.0
Fuel grade, stars 4
Boot capacity, cu ft 8.4
Test Date October 15, 1983
In its latest even more frugal version, the Metro combines adequate performance with fine fuel consumption, and a versatile, roomy interior within a compact exterior providing exceptional visibility. Other strong points include handling, brakes, gearchange, instruments, heating, and refined cruising. Despite comfy new seats, the bus-like driving position won't suit all drivers, and some aspects of the ride are disappointing, but overall a fine little car.
Abmessungen Daihatsu Charade
Power, bhp/rpm 51/5,600
Torque, lb ft/rpm 56/3,200
Tyres 155 SR 13
Weight, cwt 14.6
Max speed, mph 84.6
0 - 60 mph, sec 16.7
30 - 50 mph in 4th, sec 15.2
Overall mpg 37.3
Touring mpg 47.0
Fuel grade, stars 2
Boot capacity, cu ft 5.8
Test Date May 7, 1983
Second-generation Charade in its most expensive version is outstandingly well equipped at the price, and delivers competitive performance with very good economy. Unusual three-cylinder engine sounds odd at low speeds but revs smoothly and is relaxed on the M-way thanks to tall five-speed gearing. Good driving position is a plus point and the Charade is reasonably competitive in most other areas of its design, though its ultimate cargo-carrying capacity is limited.
Abmessungen Fiat Uno 55
Power, bhp/rpm 55/5,600
Torque, lb ft/rpm 64/2,900
Tyres 135 SR 13
Weight, cwt 14.2
Max speed, mph 93.4
0 - 60 mph, sec 14.2
30 - 50 mph in 4th, sec 12.7
Overall mpg 35.1
Touring mpg 44.7
Fuel grade, stars 4
Boot capacity, cu ft 9.8
Test Date June 18, 1983
Tested by us in four-speed Comfort form, the Uno Super has a particularly spacious interior and competitive pricing in its favour. Performance, ride, handling and visibility are other virtues. Seat comfort could be improved and though the gearchange is one of Fiat's better efforts it is still not a strong point. With a five-speed gearbox, the Super should give better economy than the Comfort, if not in the same league as the Honda. It is well equipped at the price.
Abmessungen Nissan Micra
Power, bhp/rpm 55/6,000
Torque, lb ft/rpm 56/3,000
Tyres 145 SR 12
Weight, cwt 12.9
Max speed, mph 87.4
0 - 60 mph, sec 14.0
30 - 50 mph in 4th, sec 13.0
Overall mpg 37.0
Touring mpg 52.6
Fuel grade, stars 4
Boot capacity, cu ft 7.4
Test Date July 23, 1983
Equipped with a long-legged five speed transmission and the more powerful version (55 bhp) of Nissan's new 1-litre engine, the Micra GL is one of the most economical superminis, but it cannot quite match the Honda's performance. Further virtues are its capable handling, slick gearchange, comfortable driving position and good visibility. Minor drawbacks are restricted rear seat accommodation and mediocre heating and ventilation system but, overall, it is a very effective contender.
Abmessungen Vauxhall Nova
Power, bhp/rpm 45/5,400
Torque, lb ft/rpm 50/2,600
Tyres 135 SR 13
Weight, cwt 14.5
Max speed, mph 84.3
0 - 60 mph, sec 18.5
30 - 50 mph in 4th, sec 17.5
Overall mpg 35.3
Touring mpg 47.9
Fuel grade, stars 4
Boot capacity, cu ft 7.8
Test Date May 14, 1983
GM's supermini is a typically competent all rounder which doesn't excel in any particular area, but has a combination of virtues which place it among the best in its class. Handling, brakes, gearchange, accommodation, visibility and refinement are all strong points, but in 1.0 litre form, performance and economy are only fair. Heating, ventilation and finish are only average and the ride is poor. It is competitively priced.