Owners Review: Honda Jazz

Fraser Martin tested the Honda Jazz for the region over 10 years ago, he liked it so much he bought one. And he’s still got it!

Owner/Reviewer: Fraser Martin
Model: 2001 Honda Jazz 1.3
Purchased: 2001
Price: AED35,000
Where: UAE

This is the earliest Honda Jazz in the UAE, original here as a test unit. After 200,000km it’s still going strong

It’s had a pretty tough life, my wee Jazz. One of the five pilot units brought in for evaluation about ten years ago, and the only one not registered at the time, it has served me, and almost everyone else I know who has a driving licence, well enough not to want to see it changed.

When the evaluation units came in originally to Trading Enterprises Honda (as it was then), I was asked to run 1000km on a blue one to give some feedback, and was so enamoured by its flexibility, cute looks and general all round usefulness, that I asked to buy the white one left in the yard.

A few months after the evaluation, the wee white Jazz was mine. It was originally, I think, a car for the Russian market; 1.3 litre engine, four coils, eight spark plugs and a manual 5-speed box. It would deliver about 55km to a gallon of fuel (fuel was still sold in gallons in Dubai then) and corner on the doorhandles. Flat out, with a following wind, it would show 190kph on the speedo and still be well away from the redline.

Later in life, it served as an autotest GroupA competitor, a service barge for a quad-bike shoot (one quad inside, with all the gear and still two front seats available), and off-road test vehicle (see back issues of CAR Middle East when we were building the Autodrome 4×4 track), a temporary hotel room on Karting Enduros when I should have known better and as a transporter of straw bales for an exhibition (it took 12 as I remember and I was still able to drive it!).

It has been the town car and the spare car most of its life, and has been driven by every visitor I have had in Dubai over the last ten years as well as countless friends who have had an ‘emergency’ requirement. It’s been to Muscat at least four times and up into the mountain tracks in the Northern Emirates, because it could.

The fold-flat seats still work perfectly and will be pressed into service again on the Dubai 24-Hours next weekend as an escape pod from the cold and noise, and it is currently accommodating a sand yacht.

The Jazz still drives brilliantly too. Peppy enough to keep up with the traffic, and with excellent ABS brakes and not too sensitive power steering, the handling is quite sublime for a small car. Lift-off oversteer is a joy and it will turn on a sixpence with the handbrake when called upon – it really is a spanking little car.

Nothing has fallen off it. There’s a loose door armrest on the driver’s side front and the steering wheel is beginning to get a bit tatty. There are a few parking dents around it, but they’ll get sorted one day when I decide that it will be easier to repaint it than resort to elbow grease and polish.

200,000-odd kilometres in, and after a block rebore at about 180,000, it shows no signs of giving up yet and has easily been the best small car I have ever owned. In ten years, it’s had a couple of A/C compressors, tyres and brakes as well as the usual service items, but it is still on the original exhaust and only the second clutch.

It is worth pennies, but has paid for itself time and time again. When and if it does die, I shall personally take it to a crusher and see to it that it has a proper send off.

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