It’s been 7 years since the Honda Jazz came home. The ownership experience has largely been excellent and trouble free.
BHPian sushanthys recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
This is the story of a Honda Jazz and a Gynaecologist. Unique combination, right? But one which has endured. Let’s buckle up. And hopefully you will enjoy this ride.
The story starts in 2015. I am a Gynaecologist working in Kottayam, Kerala. The car which I owned then was a Maruti Suzuki Estilo. The car had been with us since 2009 and was getting a bit long in the tooth. It was a doughty, determined and reliable workhorse but its power was woefully inadequate and its age was starting to show.
Also, my wife needed a car as she needed to travel for work purposes. So the plan was to buy a new car and give the Estilo to my wife since her day-to-day running would be on the lower side.
The budget was set at 10 lakhs. My only criterion was that the car should not lack in power. This meant that I had to look for a diesel as almost all petrols in this range would be 1.2L, topping out at 90 PS. A diesel in this price band meant an automatic was out of question. Since my previous 2 cars were from the Maruti stable, Maruti Suzuki was ruled out. Taking a car loan was not considered.
This was the time when the crossovers had emerged as a segment. Of course, the word ‘Crossover’ had to be taken with a pinch of salt. They were basically hatchbacks which had their ground clearance raised with a generous amount of plastic cladding thrown in on the sides. The results ranged from acceptable ( i20 Active, Polo Cross) to the hideous (Etios Cross). However, they did make a few heads turn and mine was one of them.
1. Hyundai i20 Active
This was my No.1 choice. The new Elite i20 had been launched just a few months back and it was doing well. Hyundai had updated it as a crossover and named it i20 Active. The car had projector headlamps, LED DRLs and 16 inch tyres with great looking alloy wheels. I wasn’t sure whether a touchscreen was there as well (Touchscreens were just becoming a popular accessory then).
We went to our nearby Hyundai showroom. The staff were courteous. We got to do a test drive the same day. This was where the disappointment started. I was completely unsatisfied with the driving dynamics. The clutch had a long travel and the handling was not satisfactory. My wife also took a test drive and she was even less convinced. We had to strike the car off our list.
Towards the end of our car search, we actually went for another test drive of i20 Active. That was the sort of pull the car had on me. But again, the driving dynamics were not satisfactory and it only reinforced our initial impression. Moreover, I discussed with the salesperson regarding the future of this segment as I was worried about the resale value of the car. He was honest enough to admit that the segment may not last a long time (We were both correct. None of the cars from that segment survive now). That was the end of our tryst with i20 active.
Since I did not like the driving dynamics of i20 Active, I assumed the Elite i20 must be similar in its characteristics. Hence, the Elite i20 was not considered at any point.
The Hyundai Creta release was just around the corner. The brochure and price list were available. However, only the lower variants would be available in our budget. Hence, the Creta was not given serious consideration.
2. Honda City
The Honda City was our second choice. The Honda showroom was almost 10 km from our house and on the other side of Kottayam town. We went there and the test drive was immediately available. The drive was a sort of mixed bag. The car was nice and the engine was powerful but I was not entirely comfortable in the driving seat. Wanted a second test drive at a later date. But checked out the price list before that. The top-end variant was coming close to 13 lakhs. We did not want to spend that much on the car as of then. Decided to keep the City in the back burner for the moment.
3. Honda Jazz
One of my friends advised me to try out the second-hand car market. He told me that used Honda Jazz cars were particularly popular at the time. The first- generation Honda Jazz was out of production then but the second generation was just around the corner. The release was one week away and we decided to give it a try. The Honda guys sent us a message informing us of the date of unveiling.
The car looked nice. It was classy with understated elegance. And it was a big hatchback. We registered for the test drive.
The car was much in demand for the test drive and we got a chance to drive it only after one week. We got the petrol car. All it took was sitting in the driver’s seat and shutting the door. It felt like home. Everything was familiar and the ergonomics were spot on. The test drive was only for a distance of 4km (my wife and myself drove 2km each). It was more than enough. The drive was a pleasure. Good amount of power on tap and superb ride comfort. Nothing was out of place.
We had made up our minds but discussed it for a day. There was nothing much to discuss anyways. We were both happy with the car. I went back to the dealership the next day and confirmed the booking. We went for the Jazz Diesel Vx variant in Urban Titanium Metallic colour. The dealership asked for 50k as the booking amount which we paid. The on-road price came close to 10 lakhs and we were told that the car would take at least 1 month. Being a new car, there were no discounts. They did agree to throw in the mats, free of cost.
Now started the wait. Jazz had plenty of bookings in the first month. Plus the petrol variants were given more preference. Our wait turned from one month to 2 months to 3 months. The dealership asked us to consider the petrol version, which I refused. They even offered us a white diesel Jazz V variant. I might have considered it if not for the colour. I am not a fan of white-coloured cars. Decided to wait for some more time.
Finally, by October end, they informed us that my grey Jazz Vx diesel was on its way. Hallelujah! The dealership asked us to pay up the remaining amount which we did the next day.
We went to the dealership on the day of delivery in the afternoon. It was a quiet day. We signed the papers, paid up the remaining amount of 10k and went for the unveiling. Nothing fancy. One of the Honda guys explained the basics of the car. They explained the particulars of driving a diesel engine. There was a confetti shower. And that was that. We were the proud owners of a Honda Jazz Diesel.
The Honda guy had told me that in second gear, the car would move forward initially on releasing the clutch without any accelerator input because of the linear torque. The actual torque was much more than I expected. This caused a few problems for me during the initial days as I had not driven a diesel car before. In town traffic, the car would simply surge forward in 2nd gear and I was forced to convert to neutral more than a few times. I got used to it over time but on the odd days, the car still surprises me.
Thus began our life with our Honda Jazz. It will be 7 years of ownership this November. It has aged quite well and even now, after 1,00,000 km, I have not seriously thought about upgrading to a new car since it drives so well. In fact, I feel the car has become much sharper and more fun to drive over the last 10 to 15000 km.
I will elaborate on my Jazz’s favourite bits and a few pet peeves.
The 1.5L Earth Dreams Diesel is a very capable engine. There is no appreciable turbo lag. The acceleration is linear and good. The power on tap is more than adequate. On the rare occasion, it can push you back in your seat. Steep inclines, no problem. The mileage is very good. Throughout my ownership, I have consistently received a mileage of 18-20 km/l. My usage is equally between the town and two-lane highways. On highway drives, I regularly get 20-22 km/l. And on the very rare instances where I have been lucky to drive on 4 or 6 lane highways, the mileage has been close to 25km/l. The ARAI certified mileage was around 27 km/l and I can say for sure that it is achievable in 6th gear on a 4 laned highway.
The one routine criticism about the Honda Diesel has been its ungainly diesel clatter. Yes, I agree that the sound is loud. But I did check out the other diesels. The sound was not any more than that of a VW or a Nissan or a Tata diesel. It is not in the class of a Hyundai diesel or even a Maruti Multijet diesel. But the clatter is not a deal breaker.
The steering wheel
It is superb. Well weighted. Great feedback. Very good power steering. A pleasure to use in highway driving. Turnings are a breeze. One hand is enough except at steep curves. You get the picture.
The gear box is manual with 6 speeds. The leather wrapped gear knob with the engraved gear shift indicator is classy and elegant. It is the right size to fit snugly into your palm. The throws are short and the shifts are smooth. Along with the short clutch pedal travel, it has to be one of the best manual gearboxes around. The only tricky part is when you shift from 5th to 6th gear when you have to shift the knob slightly to the right in the direction of reverse gear. But it has never caused an issue any time.
The gears are also well calibrated. The torque ensures that you can start off in second gear, if necessary. The 3rd gear is tall and can easily be used till 70-80 km/hr, very handy during overtakes. The 4th and 5th are very comfortable and difficult to tell apart at times from the engine tone. The 6th gear makes for a fantastic cruiser. You will achieve silly speeds in no time. However, being in Kerala, with its 2 lane roads and traffic, travelling in 6th gear is a luxury. But it is something I enjoy thoroughly when I see a stretch of open road.
The Instrument Console
One of the best instrument consoles of its time. Even now in the age of digital dials, it stands out. The 3 circular dials are large and all readings are clear and precise. The tachometer redlines at 4000 rpm but I have never reached that mark anytime. The green crescents which light up the speedometer on either side indicate fuel efficient driving and is a nice touch. The fuel indicator has a lot of brick like markings (I counted 20). On a full tank, all the fuel markers remain till almost 100km have passed but after that the markings fall rather fast. The instrument console is without a doubt one of the best features of the Jazz.
The Jazz is a big car with a lot of space inside. My wife drives a Suzuki Ignis nowadays and we are reminded of how spacious Jazz is whenever we drive together in the Ignis. There is a lot of space on offer in both the front and the back. The glass area is huge which helps with sightseeing on long trips. The rear seats can be reclined. The boot is big. Luggage space has never been an issue. If the back seats are folded, the space available is humungous. I have transported even a diwan cot inside the jazz without any difficulty (It was close to the gear knob and slotting in second gear was just possible, otherwise no issues).
The Magic Seats
The 2nd generation Jazz had Magic seats, but they were available only in the topmost variant (Vx). Ours came with the magic seats (sadly, they were abolished in the facelift model). The seats can be arranged in various permutations and combinations. The back seats can be actually pushed up and fixed which gives us the flexibility to transport big things without using the boot. Transporting my kid’s bicycle was a breeze, thanks to the magic seats. They came in handy at various times. I wish Honda had provided them in other variants as well since it would have been a popular feature. It was a lost opportunity for Honda. I do not know of any other car manufacturer or car model which provided magic seats during this time.
Very comfortable. Ideal for long and short drives alike. The ground clearance of 165 mm which is on the shorter side nevertheless improves the ride quality. I never had any unnecessary scrapings from speed breakers, either.
The underbody protection
The Jazz diesel came with an engine guard beneath (it was absent in the petrol version). It was a godsend. It even protected the engine from an underbody hit, which I will elaborate later in the post. It is one feature which I feel should be present in every car sold in India (as an accessory, at least).
The Stereo System
The car came with stock speakers. I am not an audiophile but the sound system was surprisingly good. Great clarity and fantastic sound. There were various settings of which the ‘Theatre’ setting was the best. I have never felt the need to add or subtract anything, regarding the speakers. The radio however was not good. FM reception is OK inside cities but otherwise a lot of static. After changing the touchscreen unit, the sound quality is even better.
Every car has a yang when compared to its yin. Given below are a few pet peeves which sometimes made life frustrating as a Jazz owner.
Honda cars generally have well-performing air conditioners. The A/c of my jazz has been a bit of a puzzling entity. In the initial days, it was very good and it was enough to keep it in the lowest setting for adequate cooling of the cabin for our entire family. But what I have noticed is that the cooling progressively reduces with increasing mileage. After every 6 monthly service, the a/c will be back to its chilling best but it will lose its potency slowly over the next 6 months. Initially, I used to keep the a/c in air intake mode, but as per the advice from service guys, I have kept it in recirculation mode for the last 3 or 4 years. At times during summer, I have had to keep the a/c in the 4th setting (out of a possible 7) to get adequate cooling.
The A/C has always been adequate. It has never failed or given a subpar experience. But I have never gotten that feeling that it is a bone-chiller type of A/C. The comparison with our Ignis is quite stark as the a/c chills you to the bone within 5-10 minutes in its 2nd setting itself. The service guys have never been able to find a problem with the a/c and just do the routine maintenance.
I guess you can’t have everything perfect in a car.
The A/C manual is a touchscreen unit. You have to take your eyes off the road if you have to adjust it during a drive. Otherwise it is a quality unit and plays its role in making the dashboard a purely touchscreen unit. It is a good looking unit as well.
The jazz came shod with MRF ZVTS 175/65 R15 tyres with 84V rating. Having used MRF tyres exclusively in my previous two Marutis (800 and Estilo), I was OK with them. I had read about the preferred upgrade to 195/60 R15 tyres but decided not to go for it as it was a new car and I did not want to void the warranty. MRF had given me good service before and I decided to upgrade after the initial set got worn out.
The first flat tyre came before 10000 km and you really cannot blame a nail. However, I had another 2 flats before 15k kms had come and gone. At 18k kms, I was going for a conference in Thrissur early morning with my wife. The car hit a narrow but deep pothole on the highway somewhere near Chalakudy. Immediate flat tyre. I changed the tyre by myself as there was nobody around at 7 AM. Reached Thrissur and went to a tyre repair shop where they showed me the sidewall rupture. The tyre was as good as gone. I visited a MRF shop on the way back and had to buy a new tyre. The MRF guys told me that warranty cannot be claimed as it is a case of a sidewall rupture.
The next 6000 km went trouble free. At 28k kms, we were going to Chengannur for a hospital consultation. Kottayam has some really narrow roads and in one of them we were letting another vehicle pass when the car’s front tyre hit the raised edge of the pavement. We were going at maybe 20-30km/hr. The sound told us all that we needed to know. Immediate flat with a sidewall rupture. This was incidentally the new tyre which had been purchased at 22k km. I changed the tyre and we continued on the journey.
By then I had enough. My better half had jokingly started to call the car jinxed. The other 3 tyres had also worn down pretty much by now. The Jazz is a heavy car at around 1275 kg. A 175 cross section tyre is simply not enough to handle the weight of the car. It might partly explain the frequent flat tyres and tyre bursts. Anyway, went to a tyre shop nearby and checked for Michelins. They didn’t have them but they did have Continentals. Changed to 195/60 R15 Continental ContiContacts with 88V rating. It was something which I should have done a long time ago. Life has been much smoother since.
Moral of the story – If you have a Honda car with 175/65 tyres, upgrade them to 195/60 tyres. Period!
The USB Ports
Our car was the Vx variant. Now the variant just below that(V), was an almost complete package, the only omissions being the touchscreen, a black interior, magic seats and the rear spoiler. The V variant was well put together with a dedicated USB port and a good screen (not a touchscreen). The screen had all the necessary settings, multiple camera views etc. My guess is that the decision to include a touchscreen in the Vx variant came rather late. Hence, they did not include dedicated slots for the USB or aux ports. The touchscreen itself was an average one, nothing much to write home about but it did its job faithfully till it finally gave up after 1 lakh km and had to be replaced. The stock touchscreen was an Alpine one. They simply bundled all the connecting wires (the USB and the Aux port) into a bag and kept it in the lower dash. The connections all worked but it was such an eyesore! They even included an Apple connecting port but it was the old 30 pin port which had gone out of production 3 years back (I used to connect my old iPod to it and listen for a while). The wires were all out of sight and everything worked, but why Honda kept things like that in an otherwise well put together car, is beyond me!
It’s been 7 years since the Honda Jazz came home. The ownership experience has largely been excellent and trouble free. My running is a mix of town and highway runs. It is a good car to drive. The seats are very comfortable with good lumbar and back support. The seat belts should have been height adjustable but no complaints. The car has travelled to a lot of varied terrain. The only time the engine struggled was when we went to Illiikkal Hill which had some rough roads and steep climbs, more suited for a 4*4. Otherwise, it has performed well every time.
My in-laws live near Kottarakkara on top of a hill. The road to their house is narrow and steep with a steep gradient and 2 right angled curves. My 800 could never make the climb and the Estilo used to pant and huff and puff to the top (once even rolling back down but that is a story for another day). The Jazz has no problems at all. You can say it even enjoys the climb. Just slot it in first and press the accelerator. No issues.
The service experience has been good. We usually get it serviced at Vision Honda, Kottayam. The car gets picked up and dropped back. Service has generally been hassle-free. The only sore point is the tyre alignment which is never accurate. Nowadays, I ask them not to do it and get it done from outside. More accurate and easier on the wallet.
Being a diesel car, the service charges are higher. Engine oil change and A/C filter change are mandatory. The average service cost comes between 6-7k and the major services (40 and 80k and 1 lakh km) go north of 10k. But the car is generally well taken care of. I have not used any FNGs so far and neither do I plan to do that for the rest of the car’s ownership.
I am not the sort of guy who likes to add too many things to a car. My idea is to buy the top-end variant so that everything which is required is already there. Whatever mods I did to the car, were done out of necessity.
Our Honda Jazz came with a rear camera but Honda had the bad habit of not offering parking sensors at the time (even the top-end Honda City did not have them). So before taking ownership, I had parking sensors installed. The sensors were connected to a larger rear-view mirror which was then clipped to the existing rear-view mirror! It was a Jugaad system but it worked well. The mirror was large and wide, hence gave very good rear-view visibility. The sensors worked well enough if you learnt to ignore the ‘0.6, 0.4, STOP’ chant. Unfortunately, the add-on mirror was rather heavy and hence it used to get pulled down whenever we went over speed bumps and rumble strips. It progressively worsened until it got to a point where the mirror would get displaced with every undulation on the road. I finally pulled the mirror off after 1 lakh kms (simply unplugged the connector and tucked the wire under the roof liner). The original rear-view mirror thus saw the light of the day after the car had travelled 1 lakh kms! It has a manual dimming function and although not as wide as the add-on mirror, works equally well. Currently, the parking sensors are not working and I have to check for an alternative.
I have already mentioned my ordeal with the tyres. The tyre upgrade happened at 28k km to Continental ContiContacts 195/60 R15. After the upgrade, I wished I had done it sooner. The ride was much more comfortable. The car became more stable and did not become precarious at curves. The fuel efficiency went down a bit but not significantly. The car’s stance improved and the Jazz looked even more handsome with the bigger tyres filling the wheel well on both side and front profiles. In short, upgrade to 195/60 tyres is something every Jazz and City owner should do (Don’t know about Amaze). The tyres contributed to a good feeling of ownership in the next 2 years.
Honda Jazz wears out the tyres rather fast. By 65k km, the tyres had been worn down. There was only one flat tyre during this entire time but it was time to replace the tyres. This was during COVID times. Again, there was a shortage of Michelin tyres. Changed to Continental Ultracontact UC6 tyres this time. The car has been running smoothly since then with no tyre related problems. In keeping with the Jazz’s character, the tyres are near the end of their lives. I am planning to replace them after 5000 km more. Hopefully, this time Michelins will be available.
The Jazz had newer design head-lights at its launch. The lamps were halogen and the throw was surprisingly good. Never really had any complaints as the performance was more than adequate. This was till we bought the Ignis. Our Ignis came with LED Projector headlamps (the first in the 10 lakhs segment, I think even the 25 lakhs segment; The next car I remember having one at that time was the Hyundai Tucson) and boy, were they good! The clarity and throw and the difference in visibility were simply fantastic. ’Vere Level’, as the memes would say. The itch to get LED highlights started then. But as I said before, the headlights were doing their job hence sort of put it on the backburner.
At 44k kms, one of the headlamps conked off. Took it to the nearest Honda Service centre (Premier Honda, Kottayam) which is at a walking distance from our house. I inquired if they have LED headlamps. They said yes. I do not remember the brand. It was just plug and play and no other modifications involved. The damage came to 6000 bucks. The service guys however forgot to level it properly and I recognised it as soon as I travelled at night that day. The beam scatter was evident and the oncoming traffic was not amused. I went back the very next day and got the adjustment done. The lamps have worked very well since then. It is much better than the original stock halogens. It is not in the same class as Ignis and at twilight times, visibility is poor. Otherwise, no complaints at all.
At around 50k kms, one of the foglamps stopped working. Went to the same place and got the foglamps changed to LEDs. Again, the cost was around 6000 rupees. Since the foglamps are situated low down, there is no need to worry about beam scatter. There is no provision to adjust the fog lamp beams anyways. I use the foglamps mainly during twilight driving as a substitute for DRLs (The Jazz never came with DRLs. The provision was there right next to the fog lamps but it was never provided).
This left my headlamps and foglamps in LED configuration. The parking lights were still halogens! It was not really a problem since I would be driving the car but whenever I saw the illuminated headlamp cluster, it sort of looked odd. I enquired in a few shops but could never find them. Finally left them as such.
The Honda Jazz Vx variant came with a touch screen. At its launch, it was the only sub-10 lakhs car which came with a touchscreen infotainment unit (the i20 caught up within a few months). It was an Alpine 6” system. The touchscreen unit was in reality, nothing more than a glorified stereo system. It would take its own sweet time to boot up on starting the car. As I described before, the stereo system was quite good and the play interface was seamless. The Bluetooth system worked well but the contact names would never come on screen. FM reception was pathetic on the highway. Thankfully the Bluetooth stereo worked well and I could play music from my phone through the stereo. The volume had to be cranked up to hear the Bluetooth music and when a phone call came in between, I had to hurriedly reduce the sound to prevent my ears from ringing. The reverse camera was a decent unit though at night and during rains, nothing would be visible (The Ignis rear camera is very good with great visibility in all conditions). Navigation was available and I used it once in the first month of ownership. The experience was enough to stop me from ever using it again. No google maps, mirror linking. Like I said, it was a glorified 2 DIN stereo.
But since all I needed was good music and Bluetooth availability and a reverse camera, I learnt to live with the system. It was a basic unit but it functioned well within its limitations.
Google navigation was a problem and I could never find a mobile holder which lasted more than 3 months. Finally, I learned to keep my phone inside the cup holder in front of the driver side a/c vent which would allow me to see the maps. The Bluetooth thankfully would relay the instructions. Managed to get by.
The unit started causing problems after the car reached 95k kms. It would take a long time to boot up and the reverse camera would not be visible at times. Finally, at 1 lakh kms, I decided to get a new touchscreen since the old one was hardly functioning. Asked around but nobody could give a good suggestion. I was in Trivandrum for some personal work and I have seen this shop at Keshavadasapuram called Car Palace many times. It is a well-equipped shop and is always busy. Went there and checked out the options. They had a wide range of touchscreens from multiple companies. After some browsing, decided to go with a Blaupunkt Key Largo 980, a 9 inch infotainment android unit (I have been an Android user since the smartphone revolution and do not intend to change, hence Apple CarPlay was not a requirement). They quoted an installation cost of 31,000(27,000 + 4000) which was fine with me (The unit was available on Amazon for around 25,000). The installation took an hour. The only fly in the ointment was that to connect the existing reverse camera to the unit, they needed another CANBUS connector (which would cost another 4000). The unit came with a reverse camera and the guys asked me to install the new one as it would be just plug and play. I was not sure of spending another 4k and decided to give the new arrangement a try. The Car Palace guys did a very good job. Before leaving, I enquired whether they had any LED parking lights. Voila, they had it! It was a Philips unit costing Rs 700 and installation was a breeze. Finally, I had a full LED light setup (The rear lights came as LED from the factory itself). And I had a new touchscreen!
And what a difference it made. The new unit was much larger (9” vs 6”) and suddenly made the central console look ultramodern. No physical buttons, just 2 large touchscreens adjacent to each other! Old the jazz maybe, but how many cars out there can boast of such a setup? Again, I felt I should have done this long ago. Would have livened up my ownership experience.
The new touchscreen was much faster. It would boot up immediately on starting the car. The stereo now had a bass backing. I could find out who was calling me before attending a call. The FM was much better. But initially I could not find Android Auto despite multiple attempts and called up the shop. They were also confused but then a senior technician came on line and told me the touchscreen was an android system in itself (it should have been obvious, but it didn’t click until then). All I had to do was connect the system to a wi-fi connection (mobile hotspot) and set up Google Playstore and then download whichever app I wanted. I downloaded Google Maps and Spotify and it’s been a blast since then. I had to stop using Spotify on the touchscreen because the rapidly changing colours would distract me. I just stick to Bluetooth music nowadays.
The original reverse camera was mounted above the number plate. The new camera was installed on the back bumper. The change in view caused some orientation issues for me in the first few days and I even clipped a parked two- wheeler on the first day while reversing (I braked in the nick of time and thankfully, the bike did not overturn). But now, I have gotten used to it. The camera is much clearer and visibility at night and even in rains is good. All in all, a good decision.
I did see some LED indicator bulbs at the store during the touchscreen installation. Maybe I will give them a try the next time I am in Trivandrum.
I have searched for LED DRLs at a few stores but never found them. Even in Trivandrum, the store did not have them. That is something I guess I will have to wait for in my next car.
Of all the cars I have owned, I have driven Jazz the most. But unlike my other 2 cars which travelled all over South India, the Jazz’s travels were mostly confined to Kerala.
Most of the Jazz’s long drives have been to Kochi, Trivandrum and to the neighbouring mountains of Idukki. Out of state trips have been few and far between.
In 2019, we did a family trip to Kodaikanal. We took the Kottayam – Kumily route and stayed at Kumily overnight. Next day, we drove through Cumbum- Theni and then to Kodaikanal. The trip was fun. Driving on the wide Tamil Nadu highways in 6th gear is a pleasure and gives phenomenal fuel efficiency.
During COVID times, being part of the essential service of healthcare, the Jazz did its usual running. Even during weekends, we had to go to other hospitals for work and had to do some inter-district drives as well even when the lockdowns were in place. Sometimes, the experience would be eerie as the roads would be empty even in broad daylight. You could cover long distances in unheard of times for Kerala. The Jazz took it all in its stride.
In December 2021, in the lull between the second and third waves of COVID, we decided to do a road trip to Kanyakumari. The necessary border passes were obtained. The route was Kottayam – Kumily(overnight stay) – Cumbum – Theni -Usilampatti – Thirumanagalam – Tirunelveli – Kanyakumari. The daytime trip of 339 km from Kumily to Kanyakumari was covered in 8 hours. It was an enjoyable drive with pit stops at Usilampatti and Tirunelveli respectively. The food was good. The roads were great. The 4 lane highway goes all the way to Kanyakumari. My daughter was not very impressed with Kanyakumari except for the sea. She felt we were taking a long drive to nowhere. I really could not blame her.
We returned via Kerala. This was when there were heavy rains and sudden flash floods in Southern and Central Kerala. The roads which we had taken through Idukki became impassable 2 days after we travelled with some sections getting washed out by landslides. The MC Road (SH1) was fine though with some waterlogging at places. Our return journey was uneventful though the rivers were swollen and furious. The road was waterlogged near Thiruvalla but the Jazz was upto the task. We returned home safely.
I wish I had gone for more longer road trips in the Jazz. Didn’t get the chance. But I will not make the same mistake with my next car.
The ownership has largely been trouble-free. The first bump occurred in the first month of ownership itself. I was driving in town and traffic was being diverted at an intersection. One of the traffic islands was dark and eroded and I failed to see it in the darkness. My lower frame took a hit. There was no major damage except for a slightly bent frame. It was upsetting for such a thing to happen so early. But within 2 days, I had forgotten about it. I have not repaired it and it does not affect the car’s mannerisms.
Honda Jazz being a relatively wide car, it has had its fair share of bumper hits. How much ever careful you are, you cannot be responsible for the idiots who drive with their bikes with their wheels literally touching the next vehicle. By the halfway stage of my ownership, the rear bumper had lot of scratches. A misjudgement during parking ensured that the front bumper also took a scrape.
At around 45k kms, the battery was starting to show signs of low charge. One day we were returning from Pala on a Sunday night at 8 PM. We stopped at a shop which was closing, to buy some fruits, just after a place called Kidangoor. The car failed to start. It was parked at a slight elevation in the road and hence rolling it forward and jump starting it was not an option. The shop had closed and there was no one around. After 10 minutes, I decided to call the Honda Road Side Assistance (RSA) which I had opted for at the time of purchasing the Jazz. The guy who picked up called me back in 10 mins saying that since there were no service centres nearby and on account of the late hour, we had to fend for ourselves.
I was enraged! We were on a highway with 3 Honda service centres within a radius of 20 km! And the RSA could not find a service centre. What was the point of taking it then? Unfortunately, both the service centres failed to respond when I called them directly. I was wondering what to do. My wife and daughter were also there along with me. The road was entirely deserted. 15 minutes had elapsed by then and I tried starting the car once more. Thankfully it started! We drove home, thanking our lucky stars. I went to the service centre the next day itself and changed the battery to an AMARON. The battery has been going strong even after 55k kms since then. The service centre gave me a number for emergency calls at night. I have never needed to use it though.
I was very irritated with Honda RSA. How can they claim to provide countrywide 24*7 assistance when they can’t provide it 10 km from a major town like Ettumanoor? I could have understood if it had happened on a remote mountain road in the high ranges of Idukki but not on a state highway 8 km from Pala town. I sent them a complaint via an email. To my surprise, they called me back the next day. They apologised for the incidence. They promised that such a thing would never happen again. They offered to give me a reduction of around 1000 rupees in my next service as a goodwill gesture. I don’t know whether I got it or not. Did not bother to check. I did not renew my Honda RSA.
The one major repair to the car happened sometime in 2020. I was going to a popular restaurant in Kottayam town called Beirut. It is located in a side street just off the main road. I generally park by the side of the main road but this time, I took the side street to park at the restaurant since one of my daughter’s friends was with us. On turning, I heard a loud screech under the car’s underbody but I could not slow down. The car got through and I parked it and checked. The intercooler appeared a bit shifted when viewed through the grill but there was no fluid leakage. When I checked the entry to the street, I saw that one portion had been concreted at a much higher level than the rest of the street. This had hit the car’s underbody and caused some damage. The drive back was OK enough but the car appeared strained.
I took it to the service centre the next day. They informed me that the lower arm had been bent and displaced and would need replacement. The engine guard was splayed and damaged but thankfully the engine was OK (the reason why every car in India should have an engine guard). They quoted a bill of around 50k and I decided to claim insurance. The parts took around 10 days to arrive and I was restricted to neighbouring grocery runs in the meantime. The repair was done at Vision Honda. They took around 3 weeks. They changed the lower arm, some nearby things and the engine guard. They also changed the front bumper including it in the damages part. I only had to pay Rs. 1200 as the evaluation fees. Insurance took care of the rest.
As all of you know, once you claim insurance, you lose the No Claim Bonus (NCB) for the next year. What I did not know was that once you claim insurance in a year, you can claim it multiple times the same year without any penalty. The workshop guys also told me that my Nil Depreciation coverage will terminate at 5 years of ownership and hence I will have to pay extra for any claims regarding fibre parts from next year. They told me to claim the insurance again in case I wanted some bodywork done within the remaining tenure of the policy (almost 9 months were left).
I took the car home. They had done a good job. The only sour note was that the alignment was not proper. I had specifically asked them to check it but they had not done it. I got it done outside and the guys said the alignment had been way off. Ever since then, I tell the service guys not to do alignment at the service centre.
The VISION Honda guys called me again after 6 months to know regarding the bodywork. By then the rear bumper was starting to look like Freddie Mercury’s Harlequin Suit (An exaggeration but you get the picture). I thought- “Well, Why not?”
I claimed insurance and got the rear bumper replaced. It took 10 days but it was worth it. The car looked almost new by the time I renewed my insurance. In both instances, the insurance claim was hassle free. The workshop took care of everything.
The clutch started slipping somewhere around the 65k mark. I am unfortunately a clutch heavy driver. Got the clutch assembly replaced. It cost around 17k. I did not claim insurance for this.
These were the only major repairs over the 7 years of my Jazz ownership.
The Small yet Significant Things
Our Jazz came with a rear spoiler. It enhanced the car’s looks. It made the car look sleek and complete. Currently, it is available as an accessory. A must have, in my opinion.
- The Jazz did not have speed sensing auto locking. Why, Honda why? Even my Estilo had it at less than half the price.
- The rear seats can be reclined. I have travelled in the back seat only a few times but it definitely increases the comfort.
I am planning to keep the the Jazz for another 2 years. But I do not know whether it will be possible. Our Ignis has also run close to 70k kms. I don’t want to reach a stage where both cars exceed 80-90k kms. So, a new car may be around the corner. The plan is to upgrade to an electric car. But it is not decided. Since I would like to avoid taking a loan, I might settle for another ICE car. The picture will be clearer in the coming months.
Here ends this article about my life with my Urban Titanium Metallic Honda Jazz. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Jazz. Even now, the car drives as well as the day it came home. Even after 7 years, I have still not seriously thought about a replacement because I cannot find a fault with the Jazz. Whatever I have wanted from it, the car has given me that. So hopefully, we will have some more time with each other. I have looked after my Jazz well and the Jazz has taken care of me in return. May we continue to enjoy each other’s company!
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