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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Hangout with Honda: All new Jazz experience at BIC

I was one of the privileged few to have an opportunity to drive the all new Honda Jazz, much before its official launch. Mind you it is not just driving, but driving on a formula 1 track, at Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida.

Hangout with Honda gave a group of selected online influencers and bloggers an unique opportunity to experience the all new Jazz first hand. Myself and Sarath Babu flew in from Chennai on Saturday morning, several other bloggers and influencers from all part of India also flew in and joined us at Delhi airport. None of the flights were delayed. I could meet Tinu Cherian Abraham, Vijay Raj and many other folks at the airport. We boarded a bus to go to our hotel Radisson Blu in greater Noida. It took about 90+ minutes for us to reach. We registered, collected our badges and T shirts, refreshed in the nice comfortable rooms and came down for lunch. Bloggers from Delhi/NCR region also joined us at the hotel. Post lunch we drove to BIC- finally a dream come true for many of us, who were visiting the famous and India’s only Formula 1 ready race track in person for the first time. As we arrived we could see the track beckoning us and lots of new Jazz cars lined up waiting to be driven. But then we had a presentation and briefing to attend before we could go on the track.

We learnt a lot of about the All New Jazz- its past history and future aspirations. What we have today is the 3rd generation Jazz. Over past 15 years, 5.5 million Jazz cars have been sold world-wide in 75 countries.
In India, Jazz was discontinued few years ago, as it had petrol only variant and Honda preferred to use production space for Amaze and city. Now in 2015 Jazz is back in India with an all new look, lots of features and importantly in diesel engine and a petrol automatic with paddle shift. Some of the key improvements of all new Jazz are as below:

Space and Comfort
Slight increase in wheel base and overall length compared to previous model has significantly increased inside volume. All new Jazz offers a lot more space that earlier, with a 354 litre boot. It gets magic seats- rear seats that fold in various combinations to create space for different kind of scenarios. Tall mode rolls the seat back creating huge vertical space to carry a cycle or a Christmas tree. Leisure mode lets you fold front seat all the way back 180 degree to create a flatbed comfort. There’re 9 cup holders- in the door, in the central console etc to hold your liquids.

Looks:
In every angle, Jazz looks stunning. The new front facia is well thought through one and is effective at distinguishing Jazz from other Honda cars, to help in instant recognition. India version won’t be getting projector head lamps and DRL near fog lamps (these are offered in Singapore). On the side there’re some cues of Mobilio and Amaze and rear is all new, with stylish tail lamp set up. Thanks to tall doors, lifting bags into boot doesn’t need too much effort.

Drive train:
The well-known dream earth 100 PS diesel engine- also used in city and Amaze is further tuned to achieve a very high fuel efficiency. Diesel gets 6 speed MT and no AT. Petrol is a 90 PS, comes in 5 speed MT and CVT. CVT gets a sports mode for more action packed response but no L mode for extra torque. Paddle shift- my favorite feature of Jazz, offers a race car like driving experience. Jazz scores great on safety and entertainment too.



Done with the presentation, we went down to sign our indemnity bond, we had a briefing in the BIC control room which monitors every inch of the track. We were given safety instructions and then we headed to the pit stop to board our cars.


We drove 2 laps on the circuit, in a convoy in a safe and controlled manner, escorted by pilot cars. First round was pretty slow at 40 - 60kmph and in second lap we accelerated a bit. During these two laps we could experience first hand All new Jazz’s abilities at the steep corners and on straight lines. I drove a petrol manual car and it was sheer fun. F1 track is designed to put every driver's skills to extreme test and getting to drive on the same was simply mind blowing. After my drive I went for one more round as a passenger, took some photos and videos. It was a lifetime memorable experience.

Back to conference room, we had a quiz, a rock band performance (from Rivaaaz) and nice dinner, post which we returned to hotel with lots of memories.

I thank Honda for this unique firsthand experience of Jazz at BIC. Jazz bookings are open at Honda dealerships near you and pricing will be announced on July 8th
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