Honda Jazz

Capable and roomy little hatch, if a little dull

£11,695 - £20,245 Price range

5 Seats

50 - 62 MPG

7.7
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 24 reviews
  • Very versatile
  • Low running costs
  • Honda reliability
  • No diesel engines
  • Some underpowered engines
  • A few cheap interior parts

While thrill-seekers may want to look elsewhere, the Honda Jazz provides a very capable, spacious and intelligent option for those who just want a car to move people and things about with no fuss.

The new car builds on the success of its predecessor, coupling a practical interior with the excellent Honda build quality owners have come to love. The reviews are generally very positive.

Interior features have long been the Jazz’s party piece, and reviews say that this model keeps the tradition going. They say that there’s an abundance of room inside, and rear seats perform a multitude of different moves to accommodate for a variety of different loads.

Interior quality is unfortunately a minor concern, though, with some reviews highlighting low quality, scratchy plastics in places. However, they generally concede that these are mere blights on the Jazz’s interior in general, and durability should at least be a given.

Reviews say that, while the Jazz handles competently enough, it’s not a car designed with dynamics in mind. That’s not to say that it’s hopeless, though – many reviewers simply state that it’s not quite as sharp as it could be. The steering is at least nice and light for around town use and the driving position is good and gives a clear view of the road ahead.

Similarly, some concerns are raised over the suspension setup, with many criticising the Jazz’s ride for being a little on the firm side. “CVT” (in this case effectively  a seven speed auto) gearbox-equipped models are a little noisy side, too – in fact there’s quite a lot of wind and road noise at motorway speeds in the Jazz in general.

The Jazz gets a choice of three different engines – a 1.2, 1.4 and a Hybrid 1.3. The former pair are praised thoroughly – combining refinement and fuel economy nicely – while the latter isn’t quite as well received, with reviewers coming to the consensus that at £17,000 it’s just too expensive given its relative lack of penny-squeezing abilities.

Running costs are low throughout, with the 1.2 hitting 53mpg, and the 1.4 not far behind. Cheapest of all to run is the Hybrid which manages 62.8mpg, but with a CO2 figure of 104g/km it just misses out on both free road tax and Congestion Charge exemption which is a shame.

We aggregate and summarise the most helpful Honda Jazz 1.2 i-VTEC reviews from the best publications.

he 1.2 might be slightly down on power compared to its bigger 1.4 litre brother, but reviews say that this fact barely even registers. One reviewer says that, unless you drove the two back-to-back, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference! Some critics say that the engine can sound a bit laboured under hard acceleration, but that at lower revs it’s extremely refined.

The figures are just as complementary - with 90bhp available, the 1.2 hits 60mph in a reasonable 12.5 seconds. Additionally it’s capable of 53mpg, landing in a £90/year tax bracket - figures that a similarly powered Fiesta 1.25 (82) can’t match! This particular engine isn’t currently available with an automatic gearbox, though - those who require one are served only by the 1.4.

We aggregate and summarise the most helpful Honda Jazz 1.4 i-VTEC reviews from the best publications.

This is the largest engine available for the Jazz and, in some ways, the most powerful. While - technically - the 1.3 litre Hybrid beats it on power by a sliver, the 1.4 is both quicker in a sprint to 60mph and has a greater top speed than that of its eco-friendly sibling. In reality, though, these differences are so close that they’re likely to be difficult to spot.

Reviews are positive - experts say that the 1.4 performs well and is particularly refined. However, many draw similarities with it and the smaller 1.2, stating that really there’s very little between them - something worth bearing in mind given that the 1.2 is both slightly cheaper to buy and run.

These are general, non-engine specific reviews. They give a nice overview of what the car is like, without focusing on just one engine/version.
We aggregate and summarise the most helpful Honda Jazz Hybrid reviews from the best publications.

This particular engined Jazz actually marks the cheapest Hybrid car on sale in the UK, but unfortunately it’s still not quite as low-priced as reviewers would like. Starting from just under £16,000, the Jazz Hybrid is just over £2500 more than the equivalent 1.4 automatic - something which proved a stumbling block in reviews. Similarly, its lack of a Congestion-Charge-beating CO2 output figure was not looked fondly upon - something which arguably reduces its appeal to anyone used to visiting the capital.

Even price aside, the Hybrid won only lukewarm praise - the CVT gearbox is said to work well but become noisy when pressed hard, for example. Its economy figures weren’t taken too well either - with some reviewers pointing out that many small-diesel-engined rivals were more economical for a lower price. Similarly, the hybrid system its self was a disappointment - reviewers mentioned that it wasn’t as sophisticated as that used by Toyota, with the Jazz lacking the ability to run off electricity alone in quite the same way that the likes of the Prius can.

The 2009 test gave the Jazz five stars, with a remarkably consistent performance that saw it perform well in every category but not spectacularly so. How the scoring is calculated has, of course, now changed and this would move the Jazz down into the four-star category – but then it has moved on too. 

More airbags are now standard kit, as is electronic stability control and active headrests serve to ameliorate potential injury in response to the EuroNCAP findings. We’re confident the Jazz would score five stars again in a new test, but it should be kept in mind that other cars in the class score significantly higher in occupant safety scores.

Prices for the Jazz are competitive, and even basic models come with a reasonable level of equipment. Also worth bearing in mind is the sheer practicality-per-pound – with the Jazz seating five and coming with a larger boot than that of a Ford Focus, you’re arguably getting more space for your money too. High residuals also play a part, meaning that the little Honda is likely to hang onto much of its original price.

The automatic gearbox option – a CVT – is only available on 1.4 models, and is a £1000 premium. Hybrid has the same CVT, but is more expensive still – at over  £17,000 it’s undercut by small diesel engined rivals like the Ford Fiesta Econetic and Citroen DS3 99g, both of which are free to tax.

Conclusion

This Jazz picks up where the old one left off, improving the package in a number of areas in the process. While it’s not a particularly involving drive, there’s no sprightly engine choices and it doesn’t set passions aflame in the styling department, it remains a very capable and very spacious small car that will do most of what you ask it to do and keep doing it for a very long time indeed.

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