Honda Jazz hatchback
Price £13,495 - £17,425
- Standard six-speed manual gearbox
- Good standard equipment
- Impressive practicality
- Quite expensive
- No diesel engine offered
- Ford Fiesta is more fun to drive
At a glance
"The Honda Jazz is an incredibly practical hatchback that's easy to drive."
The Honda Jazz is a supermini with a difference. Its maker claims it's as big in the back as a Mercedes S-Class – which is a large luxury saloon. Sit inside and it's hard to disagree. There's certainly more knee and headroom than most cars in its class.
If it's carrying space more than passenger room you need, the Jazz has another trick up its sleeve. The bases of its rear seats can fold up like cinema seats, so you can store tall items in the footwells, or you can fold the seats totally flat to extend the boot. Honda calls this setup ‘Magic Seats’. The boot, meanwhile, has a usefully low and wide lip so you can load things into it more easily.
The Jazz is barely bigger than a Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo. That said, its more natural competitors are compact MPVs such as the Ford B-MAX (which has sliding doors and no central B-pillar, for easier access) and Hyundai ix20.
There's just one engine: a 1.3-litre petrol, available with manual or automatic transmission. Fuel economy varies depending on what gearbox – and even what trim level – you go for. The most economical model is the automatic in basic S trim. It does 61.4mpg and costs £20 a year to tax, however it's slow and noisy. The manual is a much sweeter gearbox and certainly makes the Jazz fell livelier, but it drops fuel economy is 56.5mpg and pushes the annual road tax up to £30.
The Jazz is an undemanding car to drive, with secure and predictable handling and comfortable suspension. However, with just 101bhp to call on, don’t expect any thrills, although it’ll cruise all day on the motorway quite easily.
Interior quality is excellent, although the VW Polo looks and feels classier. There are three core trim levels, called S, SE and EX, while SE and EX are also offered in more expensive Navi versions with satellite navigation.
The basic S version is well equipped with essentials such as electric windows, a height-adjustable driver's seat, DAB digital radio and air-conditioning. Even so, we recommend the mid-range SE, which adds extras such as parking sensors, Bluetooth phone connectivity, alloy wheels and cruise control.
The Jazz has a great track record for reliability. It's a safe car, too, securing the full five stars from Euro NCAP to prove it. Standard safety equipment includes a full set of airbags, electronic stability control, hill-start assistance and Honda's city braking system, which helps to prevent low-speed impacts. Upgrade to SE, though, and the list grows to include features such as forward collision, lane-departure warning and traffic-sign recognition systems.
Petrol engine is economical, but the Honda Jazz could do with a diesel or hybrid engine to match rivals
The Honda Jazz is designed to be an easy car to drive – particularly around town
The Honda Jazz’s interior is well laid out and spacious
The Honda Jazz has a boot that rivals larger cars' and very versatile rear seats
This generation of Honda Jazz is under pressure to maintain the model's reputation for excellent reliability