When Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) brought to the country a barrage of RS variants of its (almost) entire lineup, we're definitely thankful because local consumers finally have the option to go all dressed up with the cars they'd buy – and that option sure looks good.
However, not all car buyers wanted a dressed-up car. Some like it low key, and for those people, the Jazz VX variant fits the bill. But is it as good as the RS trim that I and Caco loved in his video review?
4.0 / 5
Review: 2018 Honda Jazz 1.5 CVT
Max Output (HP), Max Torque, Acceleration & Top Speed
With an P80,000 price difference from the RS variant, the Jazz VX Navi CVT has only a fewer things to offer compared to its dressed-up brother. Up front, it loses the LED headlamps and the daytime running lights are repositioned to the fog lights, similar to what the BR-V has. The bumpers are less chiseled, too, and the fog lamp embellishments and carbon-fiber-printed skirts are removed.
In profile, the character lines are the same, except for the lack of side skirts and glossy black aluminum alloy – good thing the wheels remain 16-inchers for the VX trim. At the rear, the most obvious difference is the lack of the RS-designed spoiler, the carbon-fiber-printed diffuser, and the coveted RS badge.
With these removed, the Jazz is undressed of its sportiness and becomes a bit classy with a faint touch of athleticism. It’s like when athletes go to a cocktail party; of course, they won't wear their team uniforms on the occasion but you know that these guys are into sports with just a glance.
So basically, if you’re shopping for a Jazz, the choice between the VX and RS trim would be like choosing to go sporty or preppy. Both work for me, but if I would have to choose, I’d go for the VX simply because the design is safe and would never grow old, and I’m not really a fan of the glossy black rims. If only HCPI would be generous to throw in the LED headlamps for the VX, then it would be great. But then again, that’s the leverage if you’ll go for the RS trim.
Inside, the Jazz VX may be unclad of aesthetic upgrades like the contrasting orange stitches and dark silver door handles, but the VX and RS have pretty much the same amenities. It retains the open feeling of the cabin that’s paired with a driver-centric dashboard. All buttons are within arms’ reach without having to lean forward, but so is the lack of knobs for the touchscreen infotainment system and climate control, which aren’t really my favorite. Good thing the steering wheel has audio and hands-free phone controls, as well as the very convenient cruise control.
One thing I absolutely love in the Jazz’s interior is the color scheme’s unison. It bears a blue hue – from the gauge cluster displays to the infotainment system and the seat design. I like how it radiates a cool feeling inside the cabin, complemented by its climate control that works effortlessly even during high noon.
To go with the aesthetically-pleasing cabin are driver conveniences like speed-sensing door locks and seamless smartphone integration with the navi-capable seven-inch infotainment system. The seats can easily be adjusted into position with its height-adjuster, more so with the tilt-adjustable and telescopic steering wheel. Hands-free phone calls are also loud and clear.
As for the passengers, there’s a generous amount of space for four average-sized Filipinos inside the Jazz despite its size. Average-sized, meaning 5’8” and below with medium-built bodies, but beyond these, you need to forget about proximity issues. Nevertheless, the seats are comfortable even at the back, but there won’t be toys for the passengers to play around with, except for the bottle-holders by the doors.
Just the same as the RS trim, the Jazz VX is also gifted with a flexible seating configuration to fit various sorts of cargo, including a surfboard. That’s the beauty of this car – the cabin flexibility is a cut above the other available hatchbacks in the market today.
Ride comfort is generally good inside the Jazz, but it’s a bit rough when going through road imperfections as the suspension setup is a little stiff, which accounted for an almost-non-existent body roll. But through highways and smooth provincial roads, it’s a cakewalk, though, it could still use some improvement in outside noise isolation.
Inside the Jazz’s bonnet is the same 1.5L gasoline i-VTEC engine found in the RS variant, which means it provides the same kind-of-sporty performance in a less-sporty outfit. The 120-hp output rating is at the top of its class, and it isn’t just some ink blot on a piece of paper.
The Jazz’s Earth Dreams CVT translated the power to the front wheels without indecision, and there’s no noticeable lag when coming off from a complete stop. The reaction was quick; even varying accelerator inputs were welcome, which was something that we Filipinos could really use with our not-so-pleasant driving conditions within Metro Manila. With this engine performance, driving within heavy traffic warranted a modest fuel consumption of 7.5 km/L, while faster paces at around 60 km/h gave out a reading of 16.3 km/L.
Probably the best thing about driving the Jazz was its wide driving visibility, brought about by the glass corner by the A-pillar and the door-mounted side mirrors. Partnered with its light steering feel, which is in contrary to what the RS has, it made tight maneuvers painless. As a bonus, you get rear parking cameras, too.
During highway stints, however, the steering felt heavier and that’s a good thing. The car felt stable and planted, while power delivery wasn’t compromised. The inclusion of paddle shifters was a great thing, just in case you needed to “downshift” and get more pull from the car, which didn't really happen in my case. With this, the Jazz gave out impressive fuel economy numbers on the highway: 23 km/L with the cruise control nailed at 90 km/h.
Frankly, the existence of the Jazz VX at P998,000 (price as tested) is something that its buyers should appreciate. By trimming down only on aesthetics but keeping the same great driving dynamics, techie features, flexibility, and overall cabin comfort, Jazz-buyers who are opting for the range-topper would only have one single question to answer: do I like it sporty or classy?
Going for the latter isn’t a bad thing at all, as even when dressed down, the Honda Jazz still appears to me as the best-looking Japanese subcompact hatch in the market today. Bar none.