One of the few pleasures of living in South Delhi is that every once in a while you can drive like a man possessed – or basically like the folks in West Delhi when they come to the South. The problem is that the once in a while moments usually are too few and far between. After much careful analysis the reason behind the decline of driving is not Sheila Aunty’s hare-brained BRT Corridor, I swear I will kill the next Leftie who says ‘But it works in Bogota!’ Rush jobs in public transport are screwing traffic flows across the city, anyway even though a easy-fix to the BRT problem would be to ban auto-rickshaws and commercial vehicles, but I don’t want to get too far involved in a rant that someone will say is directed against public transport.
I just hate stupidly planned schemes, but then again, doesn’t everyone. But more than the BRT, I should direct my ire at Bajaj Chetak drivers. The child-molesters who drive the worst piece of Indian automotive engineering after the Reva drive with no care for anything else on the road. I don’t dislike Hero Honda drivers, nor do I hate cyclists or the dimwits who weave around in their Pulsar’s. No, the Bajaj Chetak is the single most horrible thing on the roads. The guys will try and force their way virtually everywhere, have no respect for whose paint their rusting footrest scrapes against.
Even though Rajiv Bajaj should be credited for creating a product that proves Darwin’s theory (the Pulsar – I’ve seen far too many accidents on Pulsar’s and pretty much every one is because of idiotic driving, but what would you expect from the average Pulsar driver) I’ve actually personally thanked him personally because he withdrew the Chetak from production. And he allowed Lintas-Lowe to create some pretty kinky new advertising – even though the Benecio Del Toro lookalike in their new advert is bit bizarre.
OK, I was supposed to be reviewing something and it is the Honda Jazz, which for the purpose of this review we will call the ‘Seven Lakh Small Car’ (SLSC) given that journalists are the latest victims of abbreviation-itis. OK, but then again as some comments can’t help but claim I’m a lazy pile of bull-turds, so since I’ve been dubbed a bad journalist I’ll stick to calling it the Jazz.
The reason there are almost four hundred words of filler text is that it is incredibly difficult to justify this car. The reason Honda has priced it at the price they have isn’t because it is incredibly well-engineered and loaded with goodies, which it undeniably is. Honestly, the interiors on this car are the best for any small car on Indian roads save the Fiat 500. The reason Honda has priced it so insanely high is because the financial crisis has hit them hard forcing them to slow down the start of their new plant. So the Jazz is essentially a car that pretty much completely imported from Thailand and put together by a bunch of robots in Greater Noida.
The one thing I fear that they have changed for India is the gearbox, which means that the car ends up with little perceptible power off the line. To get the best out of the engine you’ll need to keep revs well past 3000. There are two stretches of road in the capital, the first the Greater Noida Expressway is a straight line road, and is best enjoyed in something made in Germany or Italy. The second is a lovely twisty road, which unfortunately isn’t quite up to the mark anymore. The Jazz disappointed on both these roads. I’m not saying it was bad, but for the price you could definitely have a lot more fun.
I know this is a terribly stupid thing to do on public roads, especially on public roads where people don’t quite follow rules and random trucks suddenly decide to drive on the wrong side of the road, but occasionally I do throw a car into a turn. Not enough to lose traction, but enough to have a nice time. And the Jazz kept its bearings, but felt quite bored doing it - it isn't as if the car is wobbles through corners, it is assured but there is little feel to it. The car is extremely practical in most respects - interior space is brilliant and fuel economy is surprisingly good - despite my sometimes map-cap shifting and obsession with second and third year to get the car moving, it delivered an impressive 14 k's to a litre.
But it is a SLSC and for that much money it is horribly mediocre. Decent car, but absolutely not worth the price!