I test drove the 2009 Jazz EX in my search for a new car, over a variety of roads for about 30 minutes. I have also poked about with an ES (which is what I would have bought) for an hour or so with a tape measure! These are my impressions, which obviously won't be as good as a proper owner but may be helpful to somebody. I have compared it where necessary to the Nissan Note because that is the most similar car I have tested.
I liked the general airiness of the cabin; the new 'A’ pillar design especially helps with the usual blind spots in this type of car.
Most should find the driving position good, thanks to the proper seat height adjustment (raises/lowers whole seat, not just the rear), and the fully adjustable steering wheel. Personally, I found it difficult to get comfortable and still be able to see the speedo - the wheel rim cut the top off, but perhaps that's me! I also found the seats rather hard.
The cabin seems wide but in fact, at approx 54", is no wider than, say, the Nissan Note. An illusion maybe, but it works and makes the cabin a nice place to be.
The dash is interesting. I couldn't decide whether it was funky or a mess. It all works well enough though and it wouldn't put me off.
Not sure why professional reviewers praise the quality of the fixtures and fittings. The plastics etc didn't look any better to me than similar models. I couldn't see any soft-touch surfaces, not even the 'cloth' panels on the upper doors. However, it's certainly no worse than any others and it all looks nice enough.
Although the cabin (and the car) has been stretched a bit, if you're after outright space go elsewhere. The boot does a lot of clever stuff, but I just want a boot! The figures will tell you it's bigger than a Note, but not if you buy the optional space-saver wheel (an essential in my book), and it's created by a bit less legroom front and back than the Note.
In fact, what with the higher floor line and lower seating (except the driver's) in the Jazz, there really isn't any comparison in cabin space with the Note. Albeit the new face-lifted Note is a far more dismal cabin to sit in.
The rear hatch doesn't open high enough to prevent heads hitting it, but the Note is the same. The totally flat boot floor is great, and the 'unsquare' hatch opening is still pretty big - approx 1.5" taller than the Note, in fact.
Financially, obviously the car makes perfect sense, and I would recommend a manual. BUT I wanted the automatic, and that's what I drove. Sorry, but the i-Shift is a letdown. I didn't use the paddles, just full auto mode, but it's jerky, sluggish to change and decide what gear it should be in. Spoils a beautifully smooth, quiet engine, in my opinion. If you want an auto, don't buy without a testdrive!
Ride-wise, I know the old one was criticised for being firm. I wouldn't say this was soft, but I found it perfectly acceptable. Don't know about handling as I don't chuck my cars around.
I'm sorry to have been a bit negative, but I really wanted to buy this car! It drives like a dream, most of my criticisms probably wouldn't bother the majority, I think it looks great, and financially there's no contest. But I'm afraid the autobox killed it off for me...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 17th January, 2009