It was the showdown we were waiting for - the former segment benchmark returning to reclaim that title from the new segment benchmark car. For starters, the good news is that both cars look nice and ample, and look big visually. Why's that good? Well, all future rivals will also have to now be styled to offer similar proportions, which is great for the market.
Also Read: Review: Hyundai i20 vs Volkswagen Polo vs Fiat Punto Evo
The great news is that both are really good looking and so styling and design has taken a front seat here which is nice. I can't really tell you which one you should consider better looking, as that's subjective. For me personally I have to say that while both have nice bright colours which make me happy, the i20 is definitely a little bit more stylish.
Yes Hyundai has got it right with the i20 isn't it? But so has Honda as the Jazz looks modern and very smart. Inside too, both cars are spacious and well appointed. The Jazz interiors look more contemporary and fresh, while the i20 offers better equipment overall, even though the top-end Jazz has the touchscreen with navigation. We know from Hyundai that come August and the i20's top variants will be offered with a touchscreen as well instead of the boring screen it currently has. And that will also have the navigation function. The i20 has a rear AC vent though which is a big plus over the Jazz.
Also Read: Honda Jazz Review
The Jazz has got a nice airy feel and also has a great seating position. It has a more spacious rear passenger area too, and incredible headroom which offers a great sense of space. The Jazz also scores on more storage areas and cup or bottle holders. And then it's got the gimmick - the touchscreen climate control system. If the question you are asking is, do gimmicks really work? In this case yes! Having said that it isn't easy to use as you have to take your eyes off the road to control the AC settings. Both cars have USB and Bluetooth connectivity, automatic climate control at the top end. The i20 has a start stop button, while the Jazz reminds you it does not - by having a round plastic mark on the dash instead. I know I had said before too how strange that is on Honda's part!
Today we are testing the petrol cars, though both are of course available in diesel too. The Jazz's 1.2 iVTEC is smooth and a pleasure to drive, but isn't punchy. And I still hope Honda gives us an R variant with the 1.5 iVTEC soon. The CVT is also not electric, but given traffic in our cities it is a boon, and does offer you paddle shift too. Hyundai really needs to bring us an automatic i20 soon, as the CVT is a huge USP for the Jazz. The diesel Jazz has a refined engine too, but continues to be clattery by comparison to the punchier diesel CRDI in the i20. The i20 petrol also drives with a better sense of purpose and comes across as punchier. But the real reason you enjoy the i20 drive is because the engine responds well to the gearbox, and there isn't as obvious a tilt towards drivability and mileage as in the Jazz. The car also handles better and has a sportier ride quality. The i20 also swallows bad roads better, while the Jazz feels more comfortable in the back due to the extra space, and flat ride quality.
And finally if you look at the prices, you will find the cars are similarly priced, though again the fact that Honda offers a CVT option is a big plus for the Jazz. So, which cars wins this duel? The Jazz is a new product it's got the novelty factor. It also packs in a fair amount and is really the relevant car right now, so I do wish Honda all the best with it. In fact I would like to see a lot of them running around on our roads, especially the CVT variant, because that again that will compel other carmakers to start to offer similar, very compelling package.
So it really looks like in most departments the two cars are pretty neck and neck. Both are also very capable products very important to our market as well, because this is the segment I see really sky rocketing in the future. For me the real difference comes down to how they both drive. The car that drives better therefore just noses ahead. And that car is the Hyundai i20! It retains that little edge over Jazz even though the latter is a very well designed and well-built product from Honda; at right time in the market too. So while I will maintain a soft spot for the Jazz, today I have to say the winner is the i20. And yes my assessment indeed holds for the diesel variants as well.