Honda Jazz hatchback

Honda Jazz hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Great reliability record
  • Very practical
  • Superb build quality
  • No diesel engine
  • Sluggish CVT automatic gearbox
  • Uncompetitive economy figures

"Even though the ageing Honda Jazz supermini is soon to be replaced, it’s still one of the most spacious and practical small cars on the market. And its reputation for reliability is to be envied."

The Honda Jazz has proved very popular with buyers looking for a car in the supermini class since it first went on sale in 2008. It's an extremely practical car and has built a reputation for incredibly good reliability too. The Jazz may have been on sale for a while but it's still strong competition for rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Nissan Note, and its versatile and flexible interior makes it worthy of consideration if you’re looking at mini-MPVs like the Ford B-MAX and Vauxhall Meriva.

One reason the Honda Jazz has such a loyal following is because they don’t often breakdown. Visits to a mechanic will generally be for regular servicing rather than replacement parts, and that means many Jazz owners merely trade in for a newer model rather than consider anything else. It's not just anecdotal evidence and one-off praise either; the Jazz has consistently come in the top positions of the reliability category when rated by owners in our Driver Power survey.

There are some areas in which the Jazz does show its age next to newer models. There's no diesel in the engine range, and the 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre petrol engines only come with five-speed manual or CVT automatic gearboxes, neither of which are particularly good when it comes to fuel consumption.

If you’re keen on eco-credentials and low running costs, the hi-tech Honda Jazz Hybrid combines a 1.3-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for claimed figures of 62.8mpg. This is the pick of the range in terms of running costs but the rival Toyota Yaris Hybrid will do 80.7mpg, and there are some diesel engines in other small cars that easily beat this figure too.

It's also worth bearing in mind that unless you cover major miles it’ll take a long time to recoup the extra cost of the Jazz Hybrid in the first place because the claimed figures aren’t easy to achieve.

Because of that, we’d recommend the Jazz with the 1.4-litre petrol engine. It certainly isn’t a quick or sporty car but the Jazz makes up for it with bags of space and practicality, plus an impressive reliability record. That has proved a very attractive combination for car buyers thus far.

Against all of this, it is worth remembering the Jazz is quite an old car now, and is being replaced later this year.

The Jazz has only ever been available as a five-door, so you only have to choose the engine size and specification that suits your needs. The smaller 1.2-litre engine is available in S and SE trim, but it can feel a bit underpowered, so you’re better off with a more generously equipped ES Plus, Si and EX models, which are all powered by the 1.4-litre engine. Honda offers a Technology Pack – comprising sat nav and a Bluetooth phone connection – for around £1,000 extra. In light of their price you might want to consider aftermarket systems instead.

Our top pick is the ES Plus trim, which provides most of the useful features you’ll want, such as a USB port, folding door mirrors and a false floor in the boot that creates two-level storage.

Whichever model you go for, you get a decent amount of safety equipment. Six airbags are standard, and stability control is included on every Jazz bar the entry-level S. This helped the car achieve a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating.

Not sure what you're looking for? Find out what we think is the best small car by watching our video below.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.7 / 5

The Honda Jazz Hybrid is most efficient model, but it’s expensive, and there’s no diesel option to help reduce range emissions and boost economy

Engines, drive & performance

2.6 / 5

The Honda Jazz is safe and secure, but the engines need to be revved to make progress, and it’s not the most comfortable supermini

Interior & comfort

3.2 / 5

A logical layout makes up for a lack of style, but the Honda Jazz doesn’t have some of the latest in-car technology

Practicality & boot space

4.4 / 5

Boxy shape means the Honda Jazz is surprisingly roomy for its size, and there are some clever storage solutions throughout

Reliability & safety

4.8 / 5

The Honda Jazz has proved to be a reliable supermini, with owners praising their cars for fuss-free running

What the others say

3.5 / 5
based on 3 reviews
3 / 5
"If you put space and versatility ahead of styling and driving pleasure, the Honda Jazz is in a different league to its supermini rivals. From the outside, its neat lines and boxy profile owe more to a small MPV than a compact hatchback, but the rewards are obvious on the inside."
4.5 / 5
"There are two petrol engines on offer (but no diesel) which are peppy around town plus offer decent performance on the motorway - plus the Jazz is comfortable and easy to drive. But the Honda's biggest strength is it's interior which is hugely practical and impressively spacious, making it one of the most family-friendly small cars around."
3 / 5
"The Jazz's engines are smooth, but if you’re after the quiet life, the car is best avoided. Far too much wind noise and road noise make their way into the cabin, and this gets worse the faster you go. CVT versions (including the hybrid) make an almighty racket when you accelerate quickly."
What owners say 
4.4 /5 based on 342 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
19 May 2015
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