Put some real Jazz into your motoring

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

If I was a gambling man I'd wager my life's possessions - including the dog and parrot - that 99percent of the population are wannabe Mercedes-Benz owners.

I'm not talking some clapped out 1976 dinosaur that has clocked up more kilometres than the famous Concorde aircraft. No, I'm talking about something a bit more modern.

Who wouldn't want to be seen driving a sparkling new SLK 350, a ML63 or even the new C-series?

And what of the other one percent? Well, they are just in denial!

Sadly though, for 98percent of South Africans, the chances of us owning a new Mercedes-Benz are about as slim as Schabir Shaik becoming the next minister of health.

So I guess the next best thing is to drive a car that resembles a Merc, which in my case was the Honda Jazz.

In the week I had the Jazz a number of people commented on the similarities to the A-series.

In fact, line up the Jazz next to a Merc A170 and the DNA between the two is obvious - large sloping front window, slightly high ride, immaculate detail to lines and fittings. And that's just the exterior!

Personally, the Jazz reminded me of a pool table. It has a large, dead-flat dashboard and at the end where there should be pockets for the balls to fall in, are a couple of cup holders.

Particularly impressive with the Jazz we were testing was the 1.5litre 16-valve engine.

Sitting at the robots and letting the engine tick over, you can be excused if you think the car has stalled ... it's that quiet. On more than one occasion I turned the radio down just to make sure the engine was still ticking over!

Open her up on the open road and the power is impressive and a top speed of 190kmh will quickly loom up on the speedometer.

Around town I achieved the most economical figures I can recall doing road tests - 5,4litres for 100km. Apart from a bicycle I can't imagine many vehicles beating that.

The Jazz is one of those vehicles you feel at home in the first time you sit in it - comfortable seating dashboard and a slick five-speed gearbox.

The Jazz definitely hits the right notes.