Hatchback sales in the country are sure not as high as the sedans, but the growing sales each year is certainly good news for all car segments. The growing sales for the mid-size hatchback segment is certainly a great sign of life for the segment that didn’t pick up a lot of sales initially. Nevertheless, the growing traffic in metropolitan areas has also become one of the major reasons why more and more people are opting for hatchbacks, due to the sheer driving comfort they offer in tight spaces. Two of the most standout contenders in the market are certainly the Toyota Yaris, whose hatchback cousin, the Vios, is the highest selling in the Philippines, and the Honda Jazz. Although the Vios remains relatively unchallenged, Yaris is certainly getting a lot of pounding from Jazz that appears quite matched in terms of specs and features. Let us do a quick comparison of both contenders and see, which one is the better hatchback in terms of driving, comfort and reliability. For this comparison we will choose the top variants for both cars; Jazz 1.5 V CVT and the Yaris 1.5 G AT due to their similar price range.
The engine is the first thing you want to notice when buying a car as looks of a car are subject to one’s personal taste. While they both can be considered equally good looking, their engines are certainly miles apart. The Yaris features the same 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre VVT-i combo as with the Vios, providing a lot of versatility to the vehicle and keeping the choices more plentiful for the buyers. The Jazz on the other hand is only offered with a single 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine. It is quite obvious that the 1.5-litre engine will provide much more power than the 1.3-litre mill on the Yaris. Nevertheless, the presence of a smaller drivetrain can certainly prove to be a major factor if Yaris comes out as the bestseller in its segment.
Comparing the 1.5-litre mills on both vehicles, Toyota’s VVT-i produces 105 hp with 141 Nm torque. The Jazz’s engine on the other hand produces 118 hp with a torque of 146 Nm. While the engine output slightly differs on both vehicles, the performance is almost similar due to Jazz being the heavier vehicle. However, the top speed for both vehicles also differs as the Jazz can make 180 kmph, while the Yaris can only push 166 kmph without experiencing any wobbles.
Verdict: Honda Jazz wins the round as its engine power is evenly matched with its body weight that delivers smooth and effortless cruising.
Both manufacturers promise to offer the best comfort and luxury in their class, and have made sure that they confuse the buyers on every front. The Jazz’s interiors might feel a little more luxurious when it comes to the quality of seats and the amount of leg and headroom it offers for the occupants. The Yaris’ interiors on the other hand depend on the variant you choose to buy as the entry level variant doesn’t have a lot of knick knacks to enhance driving comfort. The dashboard design on the Yaris might feel a little too simple as compared to the Jazz that features a nicely sculpted dash that also has a handy cup holder near the steering for added convenience. The cup holders in the door handles are also angled in a manner that they can be used without any conflicts with the handles (if there’s anything in plenty on this car, its cup holders). There is a dashboard cup holder on the Yaris’ dashboard as well that can be slid out for use, but it is placed on the front passenger seat, making it just a fancy gimmick rather than a practical accessory. Coming to the boot space, the Jazz will offer 359 litres of default storage space as compared to the Yaris’ 326 litre trunk. With a larger boot space and more attractive interiors, the Jazz will feel a little more premium and more spacious than the Toyota Yaris. The seating is comfortable in both vehicles, but the Jazz’s rear seats have been provided with a special ULTR headrests that can be adjusted for enhanced comfort.
Verdict: The Jazz wins this category as well due to its much attractive yet practical styling, with a much larger space to boot.
What the Yaris couldn’t do with its styling as compared to Honda Jazz, it certainly evens the odds though the sheer practicality it offers. Due to its lighter body and more compact exteriors the Yaris feels much quicker with the 1.5-litre engine as compared to the Jazz. Like already mentioned, there are only minor differences between the handling of both cars. The Yaris’ longer wheelbase does make it far more stable as compared to the Jazz’s bulky body and short wheelbase combo. Moreover, the Jazz’s smaller wheelbase doesn’t really help reduce its 5.1 meter turning radius, which is the same as Yaris. Hence, the Yaris will feel much better in maneuvering through tight spaces due to its compact size. There might be an issue with the Yaris’ tire 16-inch tire size against the Honda Jazz’s 17-inch wheels. The Jazz does surprising well when turning corners as the wider tires provide much better grip and traction.
The Jazz also scores some brownie points for their choice of gearboxes. Both vehicles come with a standard 5-speed manual gearboxes on base variants. But Honda Jazz 1.5 V is offered with a CVT unit as compared to the 4-speed automatic transmission on the Yaris 1.5 G AT. The CVT not only makes the Jazz drive more smoothly than the Yaris, but is much better at setting the gear ratios than the regular 4-speed automatic and offers a much better control at variable speeds.
Verdict: This will be a tie as the Yaris’ smaller size makes it more easy to drive in urban conditions. But the Jazz’s CVT transmission along with its well distributed weight also provides an equally pleasurable (if not better) driving experience as Toyota Yaris.
Final Verdict: The competition is certainly tough between both contenders as there are only minor differences in their handling. What the Yaris lacks in style makes it up for its performance and reliability. Nevertheless, 2016 Jazz is certainly a better option if you want to go for power, style and luxury, along with tons of practicality and interior space. But in case you still want to check out their individual specs you can also check out their detailed comparison.
Not to forget that due to the presence of a smaller drivetrain, the Yaris is also much more affordable than the Honda Jazz. The Thai market has also received a TRD version of Yaris, but with the standard version as well, it keeps you on the rail in overall terms.