Johannesburg - Solid and spacious, but lacking any real emotive vibes, the Jazz has always been the ‘sensible shoes’ contender in the B-Segment, but this month sees Honda adding a bit more groove in the form of a Sport model.

Launched alongside the new Civic Type R in South Africa this week (and yes, you’ll soon be reading our driving impressions on that one) the Jazz Sport is more than just a styling and badging exercise - they’ve also given it more fizz beneath the bonnet.

It gets a more powerful version of Honda’s familiar 1.5-litre normally aspirated i-Vtec engine, which is good for 97kW at 6600rpm and 155Nm at 4600rpm (up from the 88kW/145Nm produced by the regular Jazz 1.5 variants).

Thanks also to a relatively lean kerb weight of 1066kg, the Jazz sport is able to dash from zero to 100km/h in under 10 seconds, according to Honda.

But while some buyers would no doubt expect Honda’s slick-shifting manual transmission in this one, the only gearbox option at this stage is a “specially adapted” CVT transmission, featuring step shift and gearshift paddles.

Furthermore, beefed up suspension, extra body reinforcement and a more rigid steering rack all aim to widen your grin through fast corners.

The Type R-inspired exterior body kit brings a redesigned front bumper with a red pin-striped splitter and a piano black grille, LED headlights, gloss black mirror housings, side sill extensions, a three-strake diffuser and huge rear spoiler. The Sport rides on 16-inch Berlina black alloys.

The Type R inspiration continues inside with red stitching on the seats, arm rest and steering wheel, and sport pedals.

Standard kit includes a 17.8cm touchscreen, incorporating a reverse camera and upgraded six-speaker sound system, and you’ll also find a start button, multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and automatic climate control.

Replacing the previous Dynamic CVT model, the Jazz Sport is yours for R310 000, which includes a five-year/200 000km warranty and four-year/60 000km service plan.

IOL Motoring