Are compact cars without bike racks really that bad for carrying bicycles around? We don’t think so because one of our colleagues constantly carries two bicycles around inside her little Myvi with no issues.
In fact, the bicycles in her car are stood up, and all she has to do to make this happen is take the front wheels off and voila, it sits pretty and secure stood up inside the vehicle. It does fit securely but not in the most elegant way because the bikes have to be slightly tilted and positioned in a V formation, with minor scratches and scuffs likely.
This gave us the idea to try and find a compact car that can carry bicycles around more efficiently, and the first vehicle that came to mind was this white beauty: a Honda Jazz Hybrid kitted with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. You read that right, a dual clutch transmission.
Hondas are more synonymous with lifeless and boring fuel saving CVT transmissions, but not this one because according to Honda Malaysia this is a Sports Hybrid vehicle with I-DCD, an intelligent dual-clutch drive system which they claim is pure ‘efficiency that thrills’. We’ll get into that a bit later but first and most importantly, how do the bikes fit in the car?
For those of you who have never experienced the new breed of Honda compact vehicles let us be the first to tell you that the interior space planning is really well thought. We even dare to say that Honda is probably the best interior planners in the compact segment. Why? Who else can fit a big battery and fuel tank in car whilst returning a flat floor to either rest your feet on or create a flat cargo area when the rear seats are folded? If you find any let us know, because we can’t.
This has been one of the best features of the Honda compact cars and this includes their compact SUV, the CH-R. It also has a flat cargo area when the rear seats are folded. The flat Cargo area in the Jazz gave us the opportunity to utilise the Minoura Vergo TF1, a transport base which you can mount your bike on in an upright position. It’s quite hard to use this in some cars because of the height of the seatposts.
Many cars also have small mouths from the boot or sloping roof lines which make squeezing a bike inside the interior difficult. Not the Jazz, though. It has a large opening from the boot and sufficient roof height to slide in a bike without touching the roof of the interior. With the bike mounted on the Minoura transport base, the road bike was sitting securely inside the Japanese car, free of the danger of getting banged up or scratching any interior trims. We had the 1 bike Vergo transport base, but if we had the 2 bike version, the Jazz could then carry two bikes comfortably inside.
When you’re not driving around with the bikes, the rear passengers also get to enjoy a lot of leg room to the point where you can probably sit with your legs crossed. As cyclists with small kids, this is also something we love because the rear space can pretty much accommodate your legs and bags as well. The front part of the interior also felt spacious and roomy.
Now that the interior space has ticked all of the right boxes, what about the drive itself? The Jazz is supposed to be a sporty vehicle according to its brochure.
Unfortunately, if you’re expecting this you would be slightly disappointed, not because of the power that the vehicle delivers but because of the handling. We suppose with a big battery weighing the vehicle down it would never be the best handling vehicle. Although it feels controlled around the corners, it just felt a bit wallowy when chucked into the corners. We suppose with bigger wheels it might be slightly better but this would sap some engine power.
Nonetheless, the vehicle has sufficient power in its current state to drive faster than usual. The combination of the 1.5-Litre engine and electric motor gives the car 137hp and 170nm of torque which does propel you forward quite swiftly. The I-DCD in co-operation with engine and electric motor is not the smoothest, as we constantly felt that it was working hard trying to combine all of the tech together. It’s not that bad, but not to everyone’s liking. We totally got used to it after five minutes and forgot about it for the rest of the duration of the test drive.
At the end of the day, it’s pretty hard to find a vehicle that can do a four day drive which involved driving to Ipoh and back with some metropolitan cruising thrown in, all within one full fuel tank. That is very impressive and something we loved a lot because to be quite frank, we weren’t driving it like miss daisy would have to save some fuel.
All in all, the Jazz Hybrid is very good car, a vehicle that cyclists can really utilise. Forget about the sporty label it has on it, because it’s not. Instead, it should be labelled a vehicle for the smarter drivers out there. Except for driving through water or climbing over rocks it can pretty much do everything, including ferrying your beloved bicycles and family everywhere whilst not having to fuel up (most of the time).
Engine: 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine combined with Electric motor, 137hp,170nm, 7-speed I-DCD transmission
Fuel Economy: 5.2l/100km (combined)
Performance: 0-100kph in 9.9secs
Price: RM80,091 w/o insurance
Verdict: A champion of a car from Honda that provides great interior space as well as real world fuel efficiency without hindering performance