The car is smooth, economical, versatile, roomy and quiet.
The auto box is one of the cleverest ways of extracting power from an engine I've come across: you can use the car in full CVT, stepped automatic (set to emulate a normal torque box) or use the manual "F1" style paddles, but eventually you come to realise that except at junctions or while overtaking, the CVT will drive smoothly and seamlessly without any problems at all.
So far economy has risen over the first 1000 miles from about 37 to over 40 now, and is getting better. Considering most of my driving is in crowded towns and on busy A roads, this is impressive enough, especially when you realise the automatic is as, or more economical than the manual.
Learning to drive the CVT requires a slightly different technique from a manual or conventional automatic. The dreaded 'rubber band' effect is largely absent but the car does sometimes over-rev if you put your foot down, and it's not the quickest to respond -- using the sport mode helps a little. I normally just press the 7 speed button if I need a bit of oomph.
The engine is smooth and quiet once it's settled down to cruise - in fact at a steady 40 MPH the engine is barely touching 1,500 revs and on a straight motorway cruises at 70 MPH turns over at just over 2,500 revs. The feeling of effortless power is the result of clever CVT gearing, however, and the Jazz quickly becomes harsher if you need swift uphill pull or overtaking power -- the engine then sounds a bit like a recalcitrant cow mooing its resistance, but soon settles down to its usual quiet refinement thereafter.
The interior of the new Jazz is a massive step forward from the previous model: brushed aluminium steering wheel, CD / volume controls on the wheel, even a socket for an MP3 player (though mine doesn't play that well through it.)
The trim is beautifully fitted, not a single rattle; the seat fabric is comfortable and well made and the whole thing feels like a car from a class or two above.
The main advantage of the Jazz though, is its interior room. It really is a TARDIS. There's plenty of room for four people and the boot is a very good size. Folding the seats down reveals a van-like flat floor and folding them up enables you to put a lot of stuff in the middle of the car. It takes seconds, and makes for a very versatile small family car.
This is my first Honda, I've owned all sorts of cars, but will never go back. I'll probably order another Jazz when my company lease on this vehicle ends in 2009. It's that good.