Car Chooser
Car Chooser

2014 Honda Jazz VTi-S owner review

LED
Author
Published
PROS
  • Sheer versatility, Magic Seats!
  • Not an SUV
  • Resale and warranty support
CONS
  • No longer available
  • Don't think it embodies what Honda is/was
  • Not the smoothest riding car

About the Honda Jazz

LED purchased this Honda Jazz new for $20,000 (including all on-road costs). LED would buy this car again because: “Yes. It is an ideal city car. The versatility of the Jazz and the space it offers for its footprint is unbeatable. Car is mechanically simple and cheap to own and maintain. Initially purchased this car as a second car/commuter but ended up using it almost all the time as our main family (of 4) transport.

Sadly Honda no longer offer this model and the SUV craze and new car price inflation may mean nothing at the size/price will be available again.”

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

The car has been somewhat reliable and does what it says on the packet. Two minor parts were covered under warranty/service bulletins – the interior light switch played up and the power mirror switch was swapped out via service bulletin/recall.

On the more major side had two starter motors fail (common design fault). They failed within 2 months of each other (around year 4) but have never had a problem since. More concerning was the lower portion of a door skin started to rust through at year 7.

Fortunately Honda came to the party and replaced the door skin and countless other exterior trims at their cost outside of warranty. There were zero arguments on this, it was just approved. I think I had a great dealer to thank for this (although they are no longer a Honda dealer post the agency model).

Otherwise the car has been faultless. The only items requiring attention outside of logbook servicing were warped front discs and a battery. I changed the CVT oil ahead of schedule given past history of CVT problems in early Jazzes. At almost 80,000km the car was still on original brake pads and its second set of tyres (the OE tyres were changed at 45,000km).

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

I recently sold the Jazz and it will be missed. The car suited my needs perfectly and I was always amazed at how much I could fit inside. Whether it was a pair of road bikes sitting upright with the front wheel removed, small items of furniture or a full size rotating compost bin to a stack of half size shipping pallets the Jazz took it in its stride.

The kids were happy to sit in the car and found it roomy enough. Entertainment was limited to Spotify via the Bluetooth audio.

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

Unexpectedly the car came with an extra two years of Honda factory warranty and roadside assistance, a nice bonus as I thought I already scored a great deal price wise. I doubt the salesperson even knew of this as it was never mentioned and the sales assistant tried to sell me the same Honda extended warranty.

Other than quality issues noted earlier the Jazz has been great.

The purchasing dealer in Sydney was excellent (it no longer exists post agency model). Servicing intervals are short (6 months/10,000km) and relatively expensive by today’s standard (around $300-$350 each).

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

Yes, I felt for a 2014 model the car came well spec’d. It did not have any of the Honda Sensing active safety features and was before the advent of CarPlay/Android Auto. But it did have a reversing camera, Bluetooth audio, USB charging points, HDMI port, auto climate control, LED headlights and smaller conveniences including simulated 7 speeds via paddle shifters, folding mirrors and a basic alarm (horn) system.

The auto all windows down feature using the remote was much appreciated during summer to get some heat out of the car before starting.

Sadly Honda progressively took out many of these features in subsequent years and replaced the climate control with manual a/c, halogen lights, removed the paddle shifters and switched to an ugly aftermarket looking head unit.

I assume for cost reasons Honda fitted rear drum brakes to the car but I never felt it was actually an issue. Braking performance was adequate and it wasn’t as though the car was designed for track day adventures or hard mountain pass driving.

I also felt the air conditioner was a little lacking in hot weather but no worse then other Hondas I have had. It is definitely not Toyota a/c blizzard cold though.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

For the price point and intended use performance was adequate. 88kW pushing (or is that pulling) circa 1100 kgs I felt was adequate for city use.

Somewhat crazily I didn’t mind the CVT transmission in day to day driving. Sure, it droned when pushing hard or on longer inclines but its not often I needed full throttle acceleration in the city. In fact I don’t think it was possible to redline the engine even whilst using manual mode. On the open road it was nice having the CVT drop the revs to around 1800rpm at 100km/h.

From memory the rated economy is average of 5.8L/100km. I managed around 7L/100kms in almost 100 per cent city driving. The car did seem sensitive to weather though as winter weather brought the average down close to 6L/100km and summer was 7L with another 5-10 per cent for air conditioning.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

In one word basic. For a $20,000 runabout in the mid 2010s I think it was reasonably competitive. It did lack the active safety features which are expected these days.

I was drawn to the Jazz for its mechanical simplicity which included the ancient, non-Earthdreams 1.5L engine. My main concern was the CVT but it proved fine and faultless. The Jazz proudly were an i-Vtec badge on the rear hatch but I think the badge was the most Vtec thing about the whole car.

The head unit was adequate. 7.0-inches in size it had the basics. The reversing camera was good and had active parking lines as well as different angle views. It was missing a physical volume control but the steering wheel had those, along with basic cruise control and a Siri button. The HVAC also had no physical switches, it was all by touch.

Parking sensors were a dealer option but I didn’t bother as it was such a short car to park anyhow.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

The Jazz felt quite firmly sprung as though lacking in wheel travel and the city ride would not be described as plush. I think the 16-inch wheels did not help with this.

From a front seat perspective I felt it was comfortable enough but with the short wheelbase and tiny rear overhang rear seat passengers had a tougher time of it as the rear bench was basically just ahead of the wheels.

Steering was light and lacking in feel but fine for manouvering around tight streets and carparks. The front of the car was also easy to unsettle mid corner as the suspension caught up to road imperfections. Wet weather grip could be a little sketchy but I think that came down to tyre choice (they were brand name but there are not many to choose from in that size combination – 185/55/16).

The car was quiet enough in the city. Being so slab sided and light I felt the car was quite prone to buffeting and side winds.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

I miss the Jazz and do have some regrets about selling it knowing that it is unlikely to ever be available in Australia again.

Sadly given Honda’s current lacklustre model range and pricing strategy it will be the last new Honda I will own after having had 7 Hondas in the family.

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Ratings
Overall8.1
Show Breakdown
Technology 7.5
Reliability 7.5
Ride & Handling 7.5
Price & Features 8.5
Purchase & Aftercare 9
Performance & Economy 8
Ownership Experience 8.5
Top Line Specs
5.8L
88kW
135g
5 ★
View all specifications