Thanks for your feedback. I came back to see if anyone had left feedback and I found this - the system works. :)
The Jazz is certainly not the class leader in terms of ride and handling. However, I feel it's competent.
As for the speed humps, I've not really noticed any loss of stability as such. I know that the power steering is a bit vague, almost as if it doesn't want to tell you what's going on unless it really has to. Perhaps you're used to something with more feel to it?
Despite the lack of communication from the steering, the Jazz's feeling of stability is sound in my opinion. After 6 months of ownership, I am now used to the fact that the Jazz IS a competent handler/steerer, even if it isn't very talkative.
So, in a nutshell - yes, the Jazz is safe and it does know what it's doing... it just takes it upon itself to insulate the driver from a little too much of what's going on at the wheels.
Overall, the Jazz is a very good car - however the lack of feel from the steering and handling is what holds it back from being one of Japan's best hatchbacks of all time.
I've had my Jazz for a month now. I'm very happy with the zippy little 1.5 litre motor and am getting used to the initial hesitation under acceleration. However, I am somewhat confused about its fuel consumption and am getting concerned real fast about the front suspension. Attempting my local car park speed humps at anything faster than 5kph results in a very loud clunk. The cars I am following out of the car park manage the same speed humps at 10 kph. 40kmp speed humps on the road can only be taken at less than 30 kph to avoid the clunk. The real concern is a strong shudder in the brake pedal that has developed on braking. It is intermittent and alarming. It doesn't feel like its the brakes themselves, but rather a suspension related thing. I'm phoning the dealer tomorrow, but the car has just had its first 1,000 km service last week and the suspension was checked then. I hope this is not going to turn out to be a rare Honda lemon.
On the road the suspension is firmer than I would like. I wish I had taken it for a longer test drive over bumpy roads. My fault - lesson learnt.
I have had my 2005 Jazz for 20,000 km now and can relate to a few of the comments above. The steering does not communicate at all, although I find it to be well-weighted through corners and always safe feeling. Being a small tyred, front wheel drive car it does have a strong tendency to under steer, but that should be expected.
In regards to the thumping and clunking over speed bumps, I must admit this is not something I have experienced. Although I admit compared to my friend's 7-series BMW it does make more noise over bumps, but does cost 10% of the price! I would consider that the suspension travel on the front is not particularly long, and may contribute to the noises you are hearing. It could be just the suspension bottoming out.
The suspension is quite stiff and being a car with a very short wheelbase, it can ride quite rough over speed humps as the front of the car is still getting over the bump when the rear hits it, not something that would necessarily be experienced in a larger car like a Commodore or Falcon.
I have just bought my second Jazz 1.5L, previous model a manual. Over the past 3 years, the previous Jazz covered 50,000km over trips from Tamworth to Sydney and beyond. At no time have I found the performance or handling a problem, happily cruising at 120km/h on freeways and comfortably keeping up with family sixes on winding country roads.
The new Jazz CVT is still a learning experience, however the trip from Tamworth to Grafton on some tight hilly roads with three adults and luggage was a breeze.
My only negative comment would be about a slightly lower build quality in the new Jazz compared with the 2003 model, with some loose hatch door trim at delivery and the roof sill liner not being flush.
Original Poster back again.
To the poster just above me with the new 2006 Jazz with the slightly lower build quality: new Jazzes sold in Australia are now sourced from Thailand, not Japan. Perhaps the Honda corporate line of the Thai-built Jazzes being identical in build quality to the Japanese-built Jazzes doesn't hold as much weight as Honda Australia would like?
The main reason for this post is to let you know how the subject of this review has been travelling since the review was written 12 months ago. It's now got just over 10,000km on it and is still providing trouble-free motoring. The Jazz has been running on BP Ultimate since I bought it, and I am now getting constant 7l/100km in city/suburban traffic, which is no mean feat for a small automatic.
The only minor annoyance with the Jazz is how soft some of the interior plastics are. They scratch and scuff very easily. This is compounded by the fact that the boot doesn't have a nice, fuzzy lining around it like some more expensive cars do. If you're putting anything with corners on it in the boot that's made out of anything more solid than rubber foam, wrap a blanket around it to stop it from digging into the sides of the boot and leaving scuff marks.
So, other than plastics that are too soft (albeit reasonably well made), the Jazz has been nearly perfect since we've had it.
Tune again this time next year...
I had the pleasure of driving a Honda Jazz 1.3l auto for 3 days while my 2003 Honda CRV was having repairs. I was hesitant at first, thinking it would be too small for my family of 5 to trek to our weekend sporting venues, but was pleasantly surprised how spacious the Jazz is, only slightly smaller in the back seats than the CRV, and the front seemed more spacious than the CRV.
I did detect a small hesitation in the power steering, also it does take a bit of getting used to on bends and roundabouts with slight over-steering problems (probably just me not being used to a small cars steering).I feel this is not a major problem and the positives outweigh the negatives with this great little car.
Another surprising thing was the power the car had with 2 adults and 3 older children The Jazz didn't seem to loose any of its power, although using the air conditioner seemed to make it use the petrol much quicker. Also loved the stereo system the sound was fantastic.
We liked it so much I am considering downsizing to this economical small car.
Original reviewer back here again.
After 2 years, NOTHING has gone wrong. Absolutely nothing at all.
It's coming up for a service next week. In addition to the regular 2 year service items, I'm having the CVT transmission fluid changed, as I have read reports of the CVT transmission being the weakest link in the Jazz drivetrain. I'd rather spend a few dollars on new fluid than several thousand dollars on a new transmission in a few years time.
If you want a huge car in a small footprint that is utterly reliable, the Jazz is the car for you.