Honda Jazz or Mazda 2 Hatch: Which one is better?
The Honda Jazz has been our eternal favourite. Few hatchbacks can do the same shizz that Honda makes the Jazz do. It is a mini-MPV which has been converted into the form of a hatchback for easier packaging. This and the virtues of being a Honda are quite apparent in the sales figures. Honda also brings it with a hybrid as well as diesel configurations. But those obviously have been given a skip due to the local conditions.
Another contender vying for the Honda’s sales dominance is the resurgent Mazda 2 hatchback. The car which was refreshed sometime back and now boasts more features and refined looks. It is also the youngest Mazda to have the Kodo design language. It also has the driving dynamics of a sports car.
So, let’s see which one should earn a spot in your garage.
With the refresh, it received a few months ago and the new colour palette, the Honda Jazz has become a bit youthful than before. This includes new LED lights, DRLs, fresh bumpers, different alloy wheel design, LED taillights, and reverse parking sensors. The 16-inch alloys too look stylish. Inside the design has been refreshed as well. There is a 7-inch touchscreen system that hosts Android Auto and Apple Carplay with USB, HDMI and AUX-in. Its feature kit includes auto climate control with touch panels, push button start with smart entry, front accessory socket, nine beverage holders, and those magic seats at the back. Build quality is good and there is enough space in there to move houses.
We, however, wish Honda to give a better sounding music system. The stock one sounds tinny and isn’t really an audiophile’s delight. The length, width, and height read as 3,989 mm x 1,694 mm x 1,524 mm respectively whereas the wheelbase stands at 2,530 mm. If you opt for the Jazz RS, the length increases to 4,035 mm while all other dimensions remain the same as before. This is primarily because of the addition of sportier bumpers and the like.
If you look at it alongside the Honda Jazz, the Mazda 2 seems a bit shorter overall. However, that isn’t the case. The Mazda 2 is 4,060 mm in length, 1,695 mm in width and 1,495 mm in height. The wheelbase stands at 2,570 mm. A quick glance and you can see that the Mazda was styled more radically than the comparatively tame looking Jazz. The Kodo design language works wonders and while it was initially speculated that it will look good only on the longer Mazda cars, the 2 showed everyone that it can carry the theme too and carry it amazingly. The length looks proportionate on the 2 hatchback. Towards the rear, things look even better. Mazda designers have spared no effort in ensuring that the 2 looks as youthful as possible.
Inside, the drama continues. Earlier Mazda 2s were criticised for their build quality. But not anymore. The Mazda 2 hatchback is now well built and one cannot find fault with its build quality. The dark expanse which Mazda calls the upholstery seems high quality. There is also the MZD connect system that plays out audio, shows video and navigation. It is a hi-res screen, however, unlike the Jazz, one cannot pair their Android or Apple phone and get the screen to mirror it. There, however, is a bit more of equipment here than the Jazz. For example, auto LED headlights, auto wipers, two-tone ORVMs, head-up display, automatic climate control and more. While the front seats are comfortable, the rear ones feel a tad cooped up because of the sloping roofline. The boot space too is no patch on the Jazz either.
Engines and performance
Both Mazda and Honda make use of a single engine configuration for their hatchbacks. The Honda Jazz uses a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder unit that is good for 120 PS of power and 145 Nm of torque. A five-speed manual or a CVT are offered with the Jazz petrol. This is the same engine that is also shared with the City. The Jazz has a decent poke in the mid and upper range, with the i-VTEC kicking in. However, in the lower part, one needs to row the gears a bit. This can become a bit frustrating in the manual but the same unit will reward you in the upper reaches of the rev band. An overall mileage of 15.4 kmpl can be expected from the Jazz petrol. The top speed is 185 kmph.
The Mazda 2 has a direct injection 1.5-litre petrol engine. This unit makes 108 PS of power and 139 Nm of torque. Both the numbers are relatively down on the Jazz’s engine. Mazda offers a 6-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode. The claimed top speed is 177 kmph whereas the efficiency is better than the Jazz at 16.8 kmpl. The transmission is a smooth operator and will make light of the traffic as well as highway drudgery. The engine is also refined, similar to the Honda’s unit.
Ride, handling and brakes
Honda uses an independent MacPherson strut in the front and H-shaped torsion beam at the back. The suspension is tuned to be on the softer side. The ride quality, as a result, is a tad more compliant over broken roads. The handling too is decent but at high speeds, the Jazz does show its discomfort in changing lanes. What’s more apparent is the fact that the Jazz has a well-tuned steering wheel that responds enthusiastically to inputs. It is also a light unit that makes piloting the Jazz in town a breeze. The brakes are discs in the front and drums at the back. The brake feel is predictable.
Mazda employs MacPherson struts and torsion beam axles at the front and rear respectively. The suspension is tuned more for handling. As a result, it feels a tad stiff. The G-Vector control helps immensely while turning into corners. The car can easily change lanes and even handles like a dream. It is a mini-sports car if you see it that way. The steering wheel is a smidgen better than the Jazz and feels lively. The ride quality may feel stiff but unlike the Jazz, the suspension doesn’t quite bottom out when loaded. Brakes on the Mazda 2 are discs all around.
The Honda Jazz gives the option of six airbags, ABS along with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist, Multiple Angle Camera, reverse sensors, Child seat anchor and more. It has also earned a four-star rating in crash tests.
The Mazda 2 on the other hand also comes with six airbags, ABS with EBD, Dynamic Stability Control, rearview camera and parking sensors. It also gets ISOFIX child seat mounts. It also got a four-star rating in crash tests.
The Mazda 2 prices start from Php 965,000 while the Honda Jazz prices start from Php 857,000. At this price, you get a practical hatchback from the Honda and a more fun to drive car in form of the Mazda 2. We did pick the Jazz body style with Mazda dynamics but that ain’t possible.