Thursday, January 19, 2012

Used Car Review - Honda Jazz (2004-2008)

For this week, let's go in the smallest side of the automotive chain, sub-compact hatchbacks. Myk Belmonte have featured sedans, compact sport utes, and multi purpose vans and people carriers, but hatchbacks? Nada. But for this day, this will change.

2004-2008 Honda Jazz

Hatchbacks are long popular in Europe, Japan, and India in a lesser extent. But in the Philippines, they're not that much popular until the mid-00's. Competitors had been entering and exiting the scene. The People's Car Development Program had the Daihatsu Charade, Fiat Uno, Honda Civic EF/EG Hatchback, and the Kia Pride entering the party. Among the four, only the Kia Pride became a success until its popularity waned after the Asian Financial Crisis. After the PCDP, Volkswagen's local distributor fielded its Golf hatchback but people didn't warm over it. Toyota released the Echo and the larger Echo Verso; the two were not enough to deter buyers since the cash cows are in AUVs and Compact sedans in that period. GM Automobiles Pilipinas brought the Korean car-badge slapped American Chevrolet Aveo in 2004 but the Honda Jazz - released late in the year - became a runaway success for the brand.

It was made available first in Japan in 2001 as the Fit, 2002 in hatchback loving Europe, and the rest of the world in the following year. The Jazz was a product of Honda's rule of "Man Maximum, Machine Minimum". In layman term, the interior must make most of the exterior's size - which is depending on the exterior's dimension. The GD platform also gave way to several vehicles sharing the said platform. These were the Airwave wagon, Fit Atria sedan (locally and in ASEAN market the City), and the Mobilo MPV.

In the Philippines, Honda was not expecting that much with the Jazz back in 2004. But its landslide success paved way to several competitors over the years such as the Hyundai Getz, Kia Picanto, Suzuki Swift, and the Toyota Yaris. It was among the class that got a redesigned version in late 2008, competitors done it years late of it.

Value and Costs
A buyer desiring for a GD Jazz would find these gems from P350,000-P480,000. Of course, this ranges from the low powered 1.3 i-DSI to rice units (which I personally recommend staying away from these). There are second hand "converted" units from Japan that features a conventional automatic transmission and even an all-wheel drive option. Unsuspected potential buyers and even all buyers of different origins should stay away from these units.

Maintaining the Jazz is comparable to its Japanese contemporaries. However, one must be extra careful when it comes to the CVT transmission, especially if the clutch packs were worn out. CVT transmission fluid must be used, not ATF or Automatic Transmission Fluid. The i-DSi engine has eight spark plugs (read, EIGHT!) than the VTEC's ordinary 4 spark plugs, so do take note of that.

Exterior and Interior
Looks can deceive you, as what a popular quote says. It has smaller exterior dimensions that are done cleanly and without fuss. Windows and doors are expansive and blind spots are not there to distract the driver. From the exterior itself, it truly does practice Honda's philosophy of "Man Maximum, Machine Minimum" and does it successfully.

As what the interior contrasts with the exterior, oodles of space treats the occupants inside. The interior has more for the human, thanks to the relocation of the fuel tank located under the passenger's seat. This results to a roomy interior that is friendly to man and their cargo. The placement of controls is typical of Hondas; legible, logical.

Two engine options are made available to the motorist. An L13A i-DSI engine with a displacement of 1,339cc that belches out 82hp at 5,700rpm and 118Nm at 2,800rpm and a 1,496cc L15A1 VTEC engine utilizing 109hp at 5,800rpm and 142Nm at 4,800rpm. The i-DSI focuses on efficiency while the VTEC (obviously) goes with high end torque. As mentioned earlier, the i-DSI has eight spark plugs (which means two per cylinder, simple math dictates it) and thus, not a good choice for cash strapped buyers. Two transmission choices can be paired with either engine, a 5-speed manual or a Continuously Variable Transmission that has 7 gears.

Driving Impressions
The Jazz is a pleasure to drive whether on the vast asphalt of SCTEX, the winding roads of Baguio and Bitukang Manok in Quezon, the tight parking slots in SM or Robinsons Malls, or even in the infamous traffic in EDSA or C5. Comfortable at low speeds but it can get firm and noisy on highway speeds, the Jazz is one good city companion and even an all in one too. It can act as a family car and a van on separate occasions without sacrificing fuel economy, maneuverability, and space.

This car totally started the hatchback craze in the Philippines. Surely, the Echo went first, but people still flocked to Toyota dealers for more Corollas and Revos. This one is surely a versatile car that can lend to a multitude of functions in one clever and tiny package. Do not let the small size fool you, it can cuddle people of various fits inside a Honda Fit (pun unintended) or Jazz. This combines the comfort of a car with the versatility of a van in a hatchback configuration.

The Good:
  • Flexible interior
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Gas miser
The Bad:
  • 1.3 i-DSI more costly to maintain than 1.5 VTEC
  • CVT can be a potential disaster if not maintained by previous owner
  • Firm ride at high speeds
The Pick: 1.5 V MT

Engines: 1,339cc L13A and 1,496cc L15A1 I4 gasoline
Power: 82hp @ 5,700rpm (1.3); 109hp @ 5,800rpm (1.5)
Torque: 118Nm @ 2,800rpm (1.3); 142Nm @ 4,800rpm (1.5)
Fuel Consumption: 8-12km/L (city); 12-17km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 7-speed CVT
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear torsion beam

Price (New): P550,000-P750,000 (range from 2004-2008)
Price (Now): P350,000-P480,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Aveo Hatchback, Hyundai Getz, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Yaris
On Sale: 2004-2008

Honda Cars Quezon City - 712-6850
Honda Cars Kalookan - 366-5701
Honda Cars Marikina - 998-1145

Photo courtesy of:


  1. A friend of mine had a Honda Fit with the 1.3L engine and the CVT, but it didn't have the 7-speed sequential mode. That was a good transmission because there were no "shifting knocks" and also it worked better for fuel-efficiency than the current 5-speed A/T.

    It's a good bantam at all, even more cost-effective than the '06-'12 Civic.

  2. Sir myk, memphis rhaines here from thanks much sa comment mo about dun sa best buy na 2007 model, hmmm my first choice tlga ia honda city idsi. Can u make a review sa car na un please sir? Pls notify me at thanks sir!

  3. Sige po, pero I might do it later this year.

    1. @Memphis Rhaines. Thanks for checking out my blog! Expect more articles soon!

    2. Sir asahan ko ung review mo sa honda city idsi pero tngin ko halos preho dn un ng honda jazz. Prehas kc makina. Ano ba auto mo sir