Follow us on twitter @OVLMagazine Find us on Facebook OVL Magazine 61 H onda is a manufacturer that’s always looking ahead. I know how they feel. Since I had an operation on my neck I’ve never looked back. Ouch! Honda’s Jazz is a good example of the firm’s approach - essentially modern and classless. Or put a better way, it somehow transcends class by mixing ‘car of the people’ practicality with middle class quality. A bit like buying a flat white but from Greggs. Maybe not… but it was worth developing the idea simply to crowbar in an easy joke. The Jazz occupies an important place in the ‘supermini’ sector alongside the Fiesta, Corsa and Polo, but it now looks a bit like its big brother the Civic and feels more like an MPV - and apparently there’s as much room in the back as in a Mercedes S-Class! Many people think they know the Jazz. After all it’s been around since 2001 and has sold by the bucketload around the world. That ‘first generation’ model stayed in production until 2008, but since then, much like Madonna or David Bowie, the Jazz has stayed a favourite by regular re-invention, retaining the great bits but always keeping fresh and relevant. The latest incarnation is no exception and the version we tested was a ‘fizzer’ – the Sport model with a 1.5 1-VTEC motor. Clearly a bit of alchemy has been employed on the suspension because there’s a bump soaking ride yet it still feels planted in the twisties and returns around 50 mpg! The looks are sporty but not vulgar as is often the case these days when a manufacturer seeks to make a tuned model look distinctive. The Sport costs £17,765 but less ‘souped-up’ but equally worthy versions start at a competitive £13,300 - and being a Honda everything works beautifully. The Jazz was given five stars in independent Euro NCAP crash-tests and it’s fitted with a full roster of airbags, electronic braking and anti-skid technology. I need to go now to visit a friend in hospital. He’s totally lost his sense of humour. Finds nothing funny. On the plus side he has become utterly non-judgmental of others. That’s right. He’s serious… but not critical. I’ll get my coat. Honda Jazz 3. Badges – my favourite – these are medals ‘awarded’ (I kid you not) as follows: • First Journey: For driving my car for the first time after fitting the device I received a drawing of a leaf on a gold background. • Make it Mine: An award for giving my car a name. I didn’t win this… • Early Bird: Awarded if I drive my car before 3am • Night Rider: Ditto after 10pm • Long Haul: Awarded for a trip of more than 100 miles. • Ten Trips: I suspect you can work out for yourself how to win this medal! I mean, come on… Perhaps we can offer the AA some help with more ‘Awards’ ideas? As a starter I suggest: • Titfer: Any journey in a town completed while wearing a trilby hat. • Brogue: For a journey of more than 10 miles wearing sensible shoes. • Night Parker: Any trip after 9pm with driver or passenger carrying a working fountain pen. • Fromage: A journey undertaken with any variety of French cheese in the glovebox. I shall pass on your suggestions for Awards to the AA!