Honda Jazz Review
The Honda Jazz is a roomy small family car that’s easy to drive, but a little dull-looking
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Big boot
- Roomy back seats
- Easy to drive
What's not so good
- No diesel engine
- Noisy automatic gearbox
- Bumpy in town
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The Honda Jazz is a roomy small family car that’s easy to drive, but a little dull-looking
The Honda Jazz is a small family car with loads of space for passengers and luggage.
Its styling won’t exactly set the world alight but inside you’ll find a few slick silver and glossy black trims that do their best to liven up the Honda Jazz’s fairly dull cabin. It doesn’t look as smart as the SEAT Ibiza’s understated interior but it’s far more sensibly laid-out than the confusing cabin you get in a Nissan Note.
Fancy livening up the Honda Jazz a little? Pick a Dynamic model – introduced as part of the Jazz’s mid-life refresh in 2017. It comes with red pin-striping on its sportier bumpers and some leather-trimmed interior trim.
You also get a smart-looking seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system in all but entry-level S models. Unfortunately, it’s slightly confusing to use and satellite navigation is a £610 option. There’s no option to fit Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or MirrorLink smartphone mirroring, either, so if you want satellite navigation you’re stuck with Honda’s fiddly system.
Thankfully, the interior design is a lot more clever. Regardless of which car you pick, there’s enough space in the back for two adults to get comfy and more than enough space for three kids to stretch out. The rear seat bases can even flip up and lock in place so you can carry tall items – such as a flatscreen TV – behind the front seats. There’s plenty of head and legroom in the front too, but only EX models come with front-seat height adjustment as standard.
It isn’t just passengers the Honda Jazz can carry with ease – its boot is extremely roomy for a small car and the rear seats fold in a two-way (60:40) split as standard so you can carry rear-seat passengers and long luggage simultaneously. With all the back seats folded down the boot’s big enough to carry a bike with its wheels attached.
The Honda Jazz has a bit of an unfair image – it’s really easy to drive and its clever upwards-folding, ‘magic’ rear seats help you carry the tallest of garden-centre purchases
If you regularly fill your car’s boot to the brim, you’ll want to pick a Honda Jazz with the more powerful 1.5-litre petrol engine. It returns similar fuel economy to the cheaper 1.3-litre model but is noticeably nippier and has no trouble keeping up with fast-moving motorway traffic. Diesel-powered alternatives such as a SEAT Ibiza will be cheaper to run if you do lots of miles, however.
Stick to pottering around town and the Jazz is reasonably quiet but does bounce a little over large potholes. The snickety manual gearbox is nice to use, though, which is as good a reason as any to avoid the optional CVT automatic gearbox. It’s noisy, dim-witted and, at £1,000 – expensive.
Euro NCAP awarded the Honda Jazz a five-star safety rating in 2015. The tests have been made stricter since, but the Jazz is still an impressively safe family car that’s well worth considering if practicality and durability are what you’re looking for in a small car.
If you want more in-depth information on the Honda Jazz read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review. Or to see how much money you could save, take a look at our Honda Jazz deals.
The Honda Jazz cabin won’t win any style awards, but it’s all fairly sensibly laid out. Sadly, some cheap materials and a rather frustrating infotainment system let the side down
The only marginally exciting thing about the Jazz’s cabin is the contrasting red stitching you get on high-spec Sport models
You won’t struggle for space in the Honda Jazz – there’s plenty of head and leg room inside and its boot is pretty big – but fitting child seats can be a bit of a pain
If the VW Polo’s a posh designer handbag, the Honda Jazz is a practical holdall – it might not have the same slick looks, but it’ll be far more practical in the day-to-day grind
The Honda Jazz might not be the most high-tech small car out there, but it’s certainly one of the roomiest. There’s loads of head and legroom in the front and the driver’s seat comes with height adjustment as standard, too. You’ll have to pick a range-topping EX version to get this feature fitted to the passenger seat as well, however.
Unfortunately, you can’t get any Honda Jazz models with additional lumbar support to help reduce backache on long journeys. The standard seats are reasonably well bolstered anyway, and its tall doors and reasonably high seat bases make it a breeze to jump in and out of even if you’re no spring chicken.
Space in the back seats is just as generous. Two six-foot-tall adults will be able to stretch out without touching the seats in front or the roof. There’s certainly more space in the Jazz than you’ll find in a Vauxhall Corsa and its large rear windows mean it feels less dark and dingy.
Things get a little more cramped in the back if you’re carrying five passengers – but not to the point of being unbearable. There’s just enough shoulder room for three adults to sit abreast and the almost completely flat rear floor means your centre-seat passenger has somewhere to put their feet.
Three kids will have more than enough space to stretch out, too, and you get two sets of Isofix anchor points to help make fitting a child seat as easy as possible. The Honda Jazz’s raised height, tall roof and wide-opening rear doors mean it’s dead easy to lift the seat in, but locating the hidden anchor points can be a pain.
There are bundles of handy storage spaces dotted about the Honda Jazz’s cabin. Three cupholders – two in the centre console and one up by the steering wheel – will cater for all but the largest cups of petrol-station coffee and the door bins are big enough to hold a large bottle of water too.
It’s not just drinks the Honda Jazz can swallow with ease. There’s a handy storage bin under the centre armrest that’s big enough to hide a few valuables safely out of sight and the glovebox is reasonably roomy, too.
Jump in the back seats and you’ll find a comfortable armrest built into each door and a round storage bin below that’s perfect for holding yet more water bottles. Both front seats come with seat-back pockets, too – ideal for keeping the old A to Z map within easy reach.
Boot space is another area where the Honda Jazz excels. You’ll be able to carry 354 litres of luggage with five seats and the parcel shelf in place – that’s easily big enough for a baby buggy and a few soft bags, and only one solitary litre less than the cavernous SEAT Ibiza.
There’s a slight load lip to lift heavy luggage over but the Honda Jazz’s large boot opening and square shape make it easy to carry bulky items. There’s space under the floor to tuck a few valuables – such as a small bag or a camera – safely out of sight, too.
Even more useful, however, are the Jazz’s Magic Seats. These allow you to flip up the rear seat bases – just like in a cinema – and lock them in place to make space for unusually tall items, such as pot plants, behind the front seats.
If you’re carrying long rather than tall items, the rear seats fold down in a two-way (60:40) split as standard, so you can carry a rear passenger and some long loads at the same time. With both rear seats folded neatly out of the way the Honda Jazz’s boot floor is almost completely flat and can carry an impressive 1,314 litres of luggage. That’s nearly 100 litres more than you’ll find in the much larger Ford Focus and streets ahead of the 1,090 litres in the similarly sized Vauxhall Corsa.
You can get a variety of optional storage features to hold small items securely in place, too. An additional storage box built into the parcel shelf will set you back £130 while a set of underfloor dividers costs a more reasonable £110.
The Honda Jazz’s slightly raised driving position and light controls make it a breeze to drive around town – it’s not particularly comfy on bumpy roads though
The Jazz’s rather wheezy 1.3-litre engine will really struggle with heavy loads
You can get the Honda Jazz with two petrol engines and with either a manual or an automatic gearbox.
If you regularly drive around town you’ll want to consider the 1.3-litre petrol model. It isn’t exactly quick (it only produces a modest 102hp) but it’s reasonably quiet and Honda claims it’ll return 56.5mpg. You can expect it to manage a figure in the high forties in real-world conditions.
If you’re looking for something a little sportier or do occasional motorway journeys you should consider the 130hp 1.5-litre petrol model. It’ll reach 62mph from rest 2.5 seconds faster than the 1.3-litre car and has much less trouble keeping up with fast-moving motorway traffic as a result.
It’s not quite as frugal as the 1.3 – it’ll return around 42mpg in normal driving conditions compared to Honda’s claimed 47.9mpg – and you’ll still need to change down a few gears before overtaking slow-moving vehicles, but the six-speed manual gearbox is so slick you won’t mind too much.
You’ll want to consider a 1.6-litre diesel model instead if you do lots of long journeys. This 120hp Honda Jazz will accelerate from 0-62mph in a respectable (but hardly spritely) 9.8 seconds but easily outstrips the petrols in the fuel economy stakes. Honda claims it’ll return 80.7mpg but even in normal driving conditions you can expect to see a figure in the high sixties.
It’s also impressively quiet at low speeds for a diesel engine and it’s also happier pulling heavier trailers than the petrols. You can’t get it with an automatic gearbox but the standard-fit six-speed manual is impressively smooth and very easy to use around town.
Sadly, the same can’t be said of the Honda Jazz’s optional CVT automatic that’s available on the 1.3 petrol. It makes the Jazz feel a little sluggish at slow speeds and keeps the engine at high revs when you accelerate where it produces a rather loud drone.
The Honda Jazz’s six-speed manual gearbox is uncharacteristically slick for such a small family car and helps make light work of long journeys. The optional CVT automatic gearbox helps take some of the stress out of driving in heavy traffic but it’ll set you back £1,100 across the range. It drones loudly when you accelerate too and makes the Honda Jazz feel slow when you ask for a burst of acceleration. Stick with the manual unless you really need an auto.
The Honda Jazz’s petrol engines might be happier pottering around town, but its suspension certainly isn’t. It bounces and fidgets over small bumps and on poorly maintained roads. It soon settles down when you pick up speed, however.
Despite the bumpy suspension, town feels like the Honda’s natural habitat. Its large windows and slightly raised driving position give you a better view over the road ahead than in most small cars and there are fewer blind spots to worry about thanks to the large windows.
Its light steering and pedals make it a breeze to park, too. For a little extra help manoeuvring into tight spaces, pick a mid-range SE model – they come with front and rear parking sensors as standard. EX models have a reversing camera that makes it even easier to back into really tight spaces.
Unfortunately, plenty of wind noise and tyre roar worm their way into the Honda Jazz’s cabin at motorway speeds which can make long journeys rather tiresome. Thankfully, all models come with cruise control as standard.
The Honda Jazz leans slightly more than the Ford Fiesta and SEAT Ibiza in tight corners – but not to the extent that your passengers will feel carsick. It feels reasonably nippy – especially versions fitted with a manual gearbox – but it’s nowhere near as fun to drive as the perky Fiesta or Ibiza on a country road.
Euro NCAP awarded the Honda Jazz an impressive five-star safety rating in 2015. The tests have been made significantly stricter since then, however, but the Honda’s automatic emergency braking feature – a system that’ll automatically apply the brakes if the car senses an imminent collision – help make it one of the safest small cars on sale.
For even more peace of mind, SE models and above come with automatic headlights, forward collision warning, traffic sign recognition and lane-departure warning systems as standard.