When you want more out of life, it’s time to Jazz
I have been an automobile enthusiast ever since I can remember. I have never missed an auto show in Mumbai and was lucky enough to visit a few across Singapore, Italy and Austria too. My desktop wallpaper across my tablets, handheld devices and computers has always been of cars. But having spent some serious time with few of my friends who have their own automobile re-design garage in Mumbai, I soon learnt that it’s not just the look, but also how a vehicle drives and feels when you are in it that defines the class that automobile truly belongs to.
Of course, when I started driving myself, the information about vehicles, the way to handle and ensure that your car stays in top condition etc came to be very handy over the years. But soon enough I realized, the biggest advantages auto enthusiasts should look for these days are:
- Practicality of the vehicle in terms of who’s using it, where and for what
- The engine performance in different circumstances like long distance traveling across highways, short-shifting your vehicle on the extremely chaotic and busy streets of your city or while on a holiday trip with your loving family and friends, everything matters when you look at a new car.
These two are the core aspects of defining ‘which vehicle’ would suit you the most.
Owing an automobile is not just about making another purchase, but it’s more, much more than that. It’s about your relationship with the vehicle. I might sound too philosophical, owing to my decades of auto passion shining through in this post, but seriously though, at some point, you become one with the machine you drive. It slowly defines who you are as an individual. Did you know that even the kind of colour that we choose for our first car speaks a lot about our personality? Wow!
Well, now with so much passion for automobile, needless to say, when I received a special invite by HONDA INDIA Ltd. to test drive their all new Jazz (Honda Jazz) at the breathtaking international formula one racing circuit at Buddh International circuit at their event “Hangout with Honda”, my joy was boundless.
I did drive it and before I share the experience, let me share few details about this unbelievably breathtaking circuit. Now why is the circuit important? It is, because it tells you, under what tough and unpredictable conditions are you going to be driving your car and it gives you a glimpse of how the vehicle handles even in these race tracks.
Anyone can ask users to test drive the cars on a straight highway or simple roads, but the real test of a car is how it handles itself in uncompromising and real-life stretches, blind spots, quick sharp turns etc. Which is why its very important to understand the circuit in which I drove the Honda Jazz.
- The 5.14-Km long Buddh International Circuit has been designed by World-renowned German architect and racetrack designer, Herman Tilke.
- This track has 16 corners, high speed straights and yes, with those there are dramatic changes in elevation of 14m+
- The width of the track is between 10m – 14m
- Buddh International Circuit (BIC), which on October 30, 2011 hosted the first F1 Indian Grand Prix, has been awarded the ‘Motorsport Facility of the Year’ award at the Professional Motorsport World Expo 2011 Awards, held in Cologne, Germany.
Now coming back to the Honda Jazz test-drive at this amazing place.
We were shown the Honda Jazz and I am not going to lie, it took my breath away. Just have a look at this splendid looking vehicle.
The very first thing you notice about this car are the bold and angular headlights and the sharp lines which run across the sides of the vehicle. Both of these are clearly the trademark HONDA design styles which instantly connect you with this magnificent brand. I particularly loved the chrome and black finish grille which looks very trendy. In terms of looks, the car is beautiful and has a very stylized feel to it.
The biggest advantage of the all new Jazz is without a doubt its interiors. The moment I stepped into the car, it felt like I was already on vacation. It’s massively huge and luxuriously spacious beyond imagination. For those of you, who are tall and or for all of you who love to travel with their friends and loved ones, this car is a sheer gift from the gods in terms of space.
Now as if, that itself wasn’t enough, the space gets more and more customized even within the car itself depending on what you would want to use it for.
For eg. the all new Jazz from Honda has something called as MAGIC seats which function based on your purpose or type of trip / drive. The Tall mode is great when you want to fill in your car with tall plants or even a big window etc. The utility mode lets you and your friends take your bicycles out and about in this vehicle and head to the nearest bicycle tracks and treks and have the time of your life. Then there is the refresh mode which is great for a good stretch and finally my personal favourite, the Long mode which is the luxury of business class experience. In this long mode, you can literally pull back your front side-seat all the way to the back and actually sleep in this spacious Honda Jazz with your legs stretched all the way to the front. Perfect for travelling back home in sheer bliss from a long week of exhausting work tour.
Not only is the all new jazz a show-stopper with the space available within the vehicle, but even the design functionalities have been stylized in a way which reflects ample space for cup holders, books and magazines etc. Here again, I loved the fact that they have added a separate water bottle holder at the right hand side of the car next to the driver’s seat at the dashboard. This saves you the trouble to keep looking behind or near the gear box for that quick sip while halting at signals.
Now with respect to the interiors, the Honda Jazz has its typical HONDA dashboard feel but with some real nifty additions. The 15.7 cm (6.2” touch-screen AVN) looks fabulous and the rear parking camera has multi-view display which are amazing when you have real tricky parking concerns. And let’s face it the way our cities and its streets fight for parking spaces and with difficult parking conditions only going up these days, a tremendous visual guide to your parking is something we all have been waiting for. And with the all new jazz it’s here.
The steering wheel has some ingenious features too like the paddle shifts, telephone and your automobile’s audio functions etc.
Now to talk about the final section of this post and my personal favourite topic, which are the engine and the performance of the vehicle, do remember, I was driving the Honda Jazz at the Buddh International Circuit and I am going to share my experience which is based on the same.
So I thought, why share the cars technical details as mere statistics, when this vehicle is so much more. Also, you could anyway read the statistics and numbers on their website and would rather want to know how the vehicle really drives.
I wanted to try something innovative and so I am sharing this as a narrative experience in the form of a “live race car commentary” based on my actual driving experience at this extremely difficult world class race track. This would also tell you about the way the car really drives around tough corner’s, handles with sudden stops and long stretches.
The commentary narrative:
Ananth is all geared up at the Buddh International Circuit and waiting for the lights to go green. He is in the Pit stop no.3 area and in the white Honda Jazz car no.4.
There are three more vehicles in front of him. The engine is up and he looks comfortably seated with the seatbelts on, hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the lights and ears on the race track walky-talky radio eagerly listening for the GO!
He is meanwhile enjoying the sporty sound of the 6 speed manual diesel version of this all new jazz running on i-DTEC Technology.
(Please note: HONDA and BUDDH international circuit had given all the test drivers that day clear instructions at the “Hangout with Honda” event that day and very specific do’s and don’ts while driving at this formula one racing circuit including instructions like “no overtaking the car in front of you”, “not driving above 120kms speed” etc to ensure safety at this tricky race track for all of us. We were taken to the state of the art control room and briefed with these instructions).
Narrative of how the car actually handled in this tough circuit:
Ananth seems to have the inside line into turn 1 and he is smoothly gliding in the middle with three cars ahead of him and two behind. The turn needs to be safely handled with the steering here because the sides are real tough at the first corner.
The steering wheel runs in fluid motion as he gently races up the pace around the first and second corners. Pacing ahead he shifts from the third to the fourth gear and then immediately to the fifth as the car quickly touches sixty. He looks ahead and there is the vehicle in front of him, another Honda Jazz slowing down for the third turn.
Turn three is pretty tight and is completely blind so much that you actually do not see it unless and until there is another car slowing down and taking the turn which is extremely sharp and almost 180 degrees. There is a lot of risk involved in going aggressive here but the car no.4 quickly short-shifts and drives at a lower rpm across these extremely dangerous and sharp turns with an intention to gain excellent grip and keep this magnificent vehicle stable through the start of the race in anticipation of the exciting pacing lap to follow.
The all new Honda Jazz obliges and drives with complete control around the bend. These turns and quick shifts function really well and keep the vehicle in command of through the tough four and five corners of the track too. They are now pacing towards the big stretch and Ananth gears up to the sixth and to touch a speed of 80 across this long stretch of 1.2 kms straight ahead. The vehicle races to the front quickly and keeps gliding on this tough track and they are taking the turn no 11 soon.
There are two more real dodgy and harsh turns ahead which again are blind spots and the drivers actually cannot see it and need to maneuver swiftly with the steering.
The Honda Jazz steering wheel does marvelous smooth and quick turns as it shifts from right to left and then left to right, holding straight for a short while and then again a swift and sharp right turn. The wheels play along in an orchestrated fashion along with the steering turns and the car looks absolutely spectacular.
All the cars are soon nearing the end of their Lap 1 which was an ‘intentional slow lap’ as a trial run and they are all reaching their respective pit areas waiting for yet another GO to start their final, quick and fast lap trial this time (We were specifically instructed to keep the vehicle below 120 Kms/hr throughout for safety measures since all of us were first time drivers across this amazing track.)
The vehicles engine shares a sporty sound with the drivers which each one of them seem to be enjoying and they are all good to go for the faster lap.
Everyone appears to be much more comfortable and familiar with the track and the car no.4 gears up from 1st, 2nd, 3rd to the 4th gear in just a matter of seconds as the beautiful advanced multi-information combimeter with eco assist ambient rings soars past the 80 speed gushing towards the 4500 to 5000 rpm mark. The gears oblige smoothly and stay put at fifth as this six speed manual engine steadies at that speed. Quickly the gears are shifted to five and four as the third sharp turn comes from nowhere and he quickly gears up for the fourth and fifth turn.
Here comes the big stretch and the engines roar across the racing circuit as all six cars of this wonderful Honda Jazz pump up to the sixth gear and race up straight ahead to take full advantage of the 1.2 km straight stretch ahead.
Ananth picks up pace and reaches the 6,000 rpm mark and his speedometer shows 110kms as he drives ahead. The car, even at that top speed looks completely calm and composed and the driver gives a thumbs-up to say it was a sheer awesome experience driving at that speed on this spectacular circuit.
But you can see him soon shifting gears down back to the fifth and then quickly to the fourth to safely make the three quick turns of one right, followed by a left and then a very quick right and straight ahead finally back to the pits as each driver gets out of their vehicle with a big smile on their faces.
I hope you enjoyed reading it in this fashion and now to summarize the experience, the car drives really well and handles perfectly in a calm and composed fashion even at high speeds. You can feel one with the vehicle at all times and yes, completely safe and in control too.
- The Honda Jazz feels agile to drive. You don’t need t push the vehicle too hard either in fact keep a light foot and drive it for an awesome and amazing driving experience. Another massively important aspect is that the car drives wonderfully well even if you short shift it, which happens too often especially when you are driving it in the chaotic cities with unpredictable traffic all around you.
- The fuel economy takes precedence for sure with the Honda Jazz i-DTEC version of Diesel and the i-VTEC version for Petrol too. The diesel is a six speed manual whereas the petrol variant comes with a 5 speed MT and also an Automatic gear version. Few other interesting statistics about the vehicle are that the, diesel stands at 27.3 kmpl and the petrol version 19.0 kmpl fuel efficiency.
- The gear box and clutch are extremely smooth and easy to handle, the steering wheel is a sheer bliss and pleasure to turn making it an obviously awesome choice for parking, u-turns etc in the city.
- Most importantly, irrespective of the condition of the roads and turns, the vehicle feels safe & predictable. At all times, you feel composed even at high speeds.
- It is a 10 / 10 on practicality and stylish in design, extremely functional in its features and a pure performance driven automobile.
The Honda jazz is for those who want a little more out of everything in life, who look for that something extra in each and every aspect, for those who are not ready to compromise.
So when you want something more out of your life, you know, it’s time to Jazz!
I sincerely loved the Honda Jazz and thanks to HONDA INDIA Ltd. for this spectacularly amazing invite and once in a lifetime experience.
You guys have a sure winner with the all new jazz!
Few more clicks at this amazing event of “HANGOUT with HONDA” including the wonderful interaction with few of the top management team from HONDA to name a few:- Ms.Navneet Kaur, Ms.Saba Khan, Mr.Shakeel Anjum, Ms.Anita Sharma, Mr.Jnaneswar Sen, Mr.Katsushi Inoue (President & CEO) :