Used 2018 Honda Jazz vs 2018 Volkswagen Polo hatch - A compact clash of the continents
Dinesh · Jun 13, 2023 10:42 AM
The Honda Jazz was the undisputed king of the compact hatchback right up to the point that it was unfortunately discontinued in the Malaysian market. Its sales figures struck fear into the hatch of any other B-segment hatchback.
Spanning 3 generations here, the final GK Jazz proved to be the most successful before it was replaced by the Honda City Hatchback. Jazz sales over the 3 generations totalled just over 100,000 units with 80,000 of those being locally assembled.
For clarity’s sake, the competition was few and far between as well. Among those that attempted to take the fight to the Jazz originated from right across continental Asia and Europe in the form of the Volkswagen Polo hatchback.
The Polo made perfect sense to consumers in the segment that carried a preference for a European model. The reasonings behind that partiality varied but at the end of the day, it was clear a niche existed for a European hatchback.
Therefore, if you’re in the market for a used B-segment hatchback around the 5-year mark, the Jazz is probably already at the top of your shortlist but if you’re looking for alternatives or prefer something with a little European flavour, this guide will help you narrow it down between the Jazz and the Polo.
Apart from occupying the B-segment, being hatchbacks and having 4 wheels, the two couldn’t be any different on paper.
The Jazz prioritises practicality, utility and safety, typical of its eastern origins. On the other hand, the Polo carries a slight compromise in those areas but compensates with tightened handling and a better drive; also typical given its native land being home to the Autobahn.
Choices were aplenty for the Jazz, coming in with 3 variants; starting with the entry-level S, hopping up to the mid-spec E and topping out with the flagship V. On the other hand, you could have your Polo in any variant of your choice… so long as it was the sole Comfortline trim.
Power for the Jazz was standard across the range, a 1.5-litre SOHC inline-4 with i-VTEC making 118 PS and 145 Nm of torque. It all went to the front wheels via a CVT.
The Polo had a 1.6-litre MPI (multi-point injection) DOHC engine that made less power at 105 PS but made up for it with more torque at 153 Nm. The transmission was a conventional 6-speed automatic.
Below are some of the key factors to take into consideration between the 2 model:
No surprises that the anything with that fabled ‘H’ badge on the front retains its value in the used market. Browsing used sites such as CARSOME and Carlist.my places the Jazz’s pricing within the RM 53k – 70k spectrum. Given that the GK-generation here was the best-selling, the used market is filled with options of all 3 variants.
Furthermore, there’s plenty of overlap between the variants themselves, so odds are high that you’ll be able to level up and get the flagship V variant by looking around.
As for the Polo, the sole Comfortline variant stretches between RM 38 – 51k. Seeing that Volkswagens don’t hold their value as well, the bargaining chip is in your hand. Additionally, the lower pricing is also due to the lack of equipment in the Polo.
Though there’s no overlap between the pricing, the difference is negligible. This also works in your favour as you won’t be entirely limited to either one of the models unless you’re working with a tight budget. In that case, then the Polo is what you’ll likely be considering.
You can check out examples of the 2018 Jazz and 2018 Polo at CARSOME to get a feel for the market’s pricing.
Winner – Polo
The Jazz is the undisputed king in this segment. It aces the interior room and makes a slam dunk with the multiple seating configurations that makes it the most practical in its segment.
You’ll remember Honda’s brilliant Ultra Seats and the Jazz was the stage that it debuted on. Till today, there’s nothing on the market that can hold a candle to it. Need more space that the standard 363-litres? Fold the seat back for a flat floor and the cargo room grew to just north of a gargantuan 1,200-litres.
Need to plop something tall like flowerpot or bicycle in? Just flip up the bench against the seat back and slot them right in. The seat back could fold flat with a 60:40 split for a flat floor.
Now, the Polo wasn’t lacking by any means. It too had a 60:40 split folding seat back but when dropped, it wasn’t a completely flat floor. Also, cargo space with the seats up was just 280-litres.
If practicality is a priority, your answer rhymes with chaz.
Winner – Jazz
Maintenance / Spare parts
We’ve preached this multiple times and we’ll continue to repeat it until it becomes gospel. Now sing it with us, “Just because you can purchase the car doesn’t necessarily mean you can afford to maintain it.”
When you’re calculating your monthly commitment for the car, remember to include an additional 10-15 percent for maintenance costs such as scheduled servicing and emergency repairs. Don’t be caught off-guard if a breakdown happens. If your car doesn’t require unexpected repairs, the extra cash set aside can go towards running costs such as road tax and insurance.
As for average maintenance costs for, we’ve attached the recommended service schedule with costing from the authorised service centre for reference. Keep in mind that sending it to the authorised centres would always be much costlier than carrying out the work at independent workshops such as the CARSOME Service Center or your trusted neighbourhood mechanic.
The attachments are primarily for you to know the service intervals and the major component replacements lifespan. Take the pricing for components with a huge tablespoon of salt and completely ignore the labour chargers, especially for the Polo.
Seeing that 2018 models will be past their factory warranties, you’ll likely be sending them to independent workshops that’ll see significant savings in the price of parts as well as labour.
To sum it up, the Jazz will likely be a little easier on the wallet in terms of maintenance but taking into consideration the longer service intervals for the Polo, the difference wouldn’t be extremely significant.
Winner – We’ll be daring and call it a draw
Official figures check in at 5.6 l/100 km for the Jazz and 6.3 l/100 km for the Polo. Not much in it then.
However, it’s important to remember that driving style plays a huge role in how much fuel you burn and the negligible difference in consumption can easily be compensated for with some smart driving.
Vice versa, do your best impression of Max Verstappen’s driving and you’ll turn even the most fuel-efficient car into a guzzler.
Winner - Jazz
The Jazz makes a clean sweep here. Each variant of the Jazz has a minor step up in safety kit and unfortunately, the sole Polo variant can only stand equal with the entry level Jazz S.
Both the Jazz S and Polo Comfortline make do with just 2 airbags and no stability control.
However, the mid-range Jazz E gets 4 airbags and stability control while the flagship Jazz V has the full 6 airbags.
Apart from that, the usual array of passive safety tech such as ABS/EBD and Isofix anchorage points are standard for all.
In this day and age, safety isn’t just something you as a consumer should compromise on and the onus is equally on the carmakers as well to not put a price on safety.
Anything but the Jazz S would be a clear step up over the Polo in terms of safety.
Winner - Jazz
Not only does the Jazz have a more spacious cabin, it’s also comfier and the ride is more pliant. Regardless if you’re hitting the highway for a trip out of town or making a quick run through the city, everyone will enjoy the ride in the Jazz a little more.
The Polo isn’t going to send you the chiropractor every year but the ride is firmer and less pliant but that does have its benefits, which we’ll get to in the next point. However, the Polo does have a rear air-conditioning vent.
Winner - Jazz
Ride and Handling
Its German roots does bless the little Polo with some impressive handling. You’ll definitely feel more confident tackling B-roads or bends as the Polo gives imbues confidence with its planted ride.
Furthermore, it also has a hydraulic power steering setup that’s more communicative and transmits clearer feedback from the front wheels to the driver.
If you’re looking for a little fun with your daily commute, the Polo might just result in more smiles per miles.
Winner - Polo
There’s no clear winner because preferences, as well as finances, differs for each and every one of us.
If you’re set on a non-national used B-segment hatch but working with a limited budget, it’s the Polo.
But if there’s more in the bank account to work with and you need some practicality in your daily ride, the Jazz will do it all.
Just remember to take your time to do your research, test drive both cars and see which one ticks all the important boxes on your checklist.
You can download the CARSOME app here and browse used models of the Jazz or Polo. Furthermore, you can also make an appointment to view the car via the app before heading to the centre.
“Better late than never.” Some despise it, others begrudgingly agree with it but he swears by it… much to the chagrin of everyone around him. That unfortunately stems from all of his project cars not running most of the time, which in turn is testament to his questionable decision-making skills in life. A culmination of many wrongs fortunately making a right; much like his project cars on the rare occasions they run, he’s still trying to figure out if another project car is the way to go.