Hatchback comparo: Ford Focus vs Honda Jazz

And why you should consider the Toyota Yaris and the Mazda 2
by Botchi Santos | Feb 23, 2010

Hi, Botchi!

My wife just sold her 2005 Honda Jazz 1.3 with CVT and is looking for a replacement.  She was pretty happy with her old car but tranny trouble seems to be cropping up with it so we decided to sell.

She prefers to upgrade to either a new Honda Jazz 1.5 or a new Ford Focus 1.8 hatchback. We are Honda lovers (we also own a Civic 1.8) but the Ford Focus is a bigger car than the Honda Jazz and is cheaper by almost Php50k due to the Ford dealer's discounts. Non-automotive types might even consider the Focus a step up over the Jazz. But I'm also concerned over the Focus being an already old design.

We really need your inputs on this. Thanks!

Jed

Hi, Jed!

I also used to drive a 1.3 Honda Jazz and you're right on the money regarding the troublesome CVT. It was fine when it was working smoothly but as the mileage piled on, it started to grumble and get noisy especially moving from a dead-stop.

My family bought a new-generation Honda Jazz, a black 1.5 because we loved the flexibility and versatility of the ultra-roomy interior. It also has that fantastic, in my humble opinion, perfect driving position (anatomically correct that is) and ergonomically-proper dash and instrument panel layout, plus an easy-to-use audio system. Of course, it has the best driving dynamics in its class (though the Mazda 2 is slowly creeping up on the Jazz on the handling front). It is just plain expensive as all this goodness doesn't come cheap. At P832,000 my Pops initially baulked at the price. That's about the only thing I didn't like with the Jazz. It's everything the old Jazz was, but improved maybe 20% in all key areas.

About the Ford Focus, it is a good car. It handles really, really well; hugs the curves tightly and smoothens out the roughest, bumpiest roads without transmitting the shock to the passengers. In this regard it is better than the Honda Jazz. But I find the inside tight and the seating position totally weird and uncomfortable. The biggest complaint I have about the Ford Focus though is the way it is geared. It's just too damn long for city use. The engine feels gutless when whizzing by through traffic, you'll be stepping on the gas pedal harder and harder just to get any useful acceleration. Out on the highway, it is great for fuel efficiency. So if you'll be doing a lot of highway miles, this is good. But if city-driving is your thing, walk away and look elsewhere.

I understand that the discount is a deal-breaker/maker but think wisely about this. It's not that old for sure, about two years since it was launched so there's still a lot of life left in it. If you're keen on getting a Ford, maybe you can wait a few months and check out the upcoming Ford Fiesta, too! That car promises to be a hoot to drive.

Have you taken a look at the Toyota Yaris and Mazda 2? Both cars are equally as good as the Honda Jazz! The Yaris is a very good value for money car. I drive one everyday. It almost matches the Jazz in every front except driving dynamics and absolute cargo space since the Yaris has a tiny boot. The Mazda 2 isn't as roomy but is just as fun to drive as the Jazz, and it is so very new!

Keep us posted on what you guys decide to get, we'll be happy to give some more recommendations for you and the missus.

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

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  • Quiz Results

  • TGP Rating
    --/20
    Engine
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    Power
    --
    Torque
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    Transmission
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    Fuel
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    1.8 E CVT
    Starts at P1,110,000
    TGP Rating:
    --/20
    Pros
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
    Cons
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
    Verdict
    Honda’s winningest combination comes when you opt for a six-speed manual transmission available in the Civic hatchback Sport, in which …
    Learn More
  • TGP Rating:
    /20

    Starts at ₱

    TGP Rating:
    /20
    Starts at ₱