Review

Honda Jazz hatchback

£13,495 - £17,705

The Honda Jazz is up against some serious rivals in the shape of the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and SEAT Ibiza, and while there's plenty to recommend it, it's not faultless.

You will, however, struggle to find a more spacious, practical and easy-to-drive supermini, while it has a staggeringly good reliability record, too. Honda claims there's as much space in the back as you’ll find in a Mercedes S-Class luxury saloon, and while that may be a stretch (unless the front seats are pushed right forward), there's definitely more space back there than you’ll find in any other car in the class. In fact, the Jazz bridges the gap between the superminis mentioned above and small MPVs like the Ford B-MAX, Hyundai ix20 and Kia Venga.

A spacious boot and clever rear seats are what make this car so versatile. With the rear seats up, there's 354 litres of boot space, which increases to 1,314 litres when you fold them flat. If you need to carry tall items, however, you can also fold the rear seat squabs up to make for a very tall load space behind the front seats. You also get quite a high driving position, which makes the Jazz very easy to get in and out of.

One potential black mark against the Honda is the fact that it's only available with one engine. The 101bhp 1.3-litre petrol engine isn’t bad, by any means, but it isn’t as powerful and flexible as the more modern turbocharged engines in rivals from Ford and Volkswagen.

This means it has to be worked hard to keep up with traffic, which hurts running costs. Versions with the six-speed manual will return around 56mpg, while CO2 emissions of 116g/km means a £30 annual tax bill. Going for the CVT automatic transmission improves things a little, but won’t reduce your tax bills and makes the car significantly slower. The previous model had a hybrid powertrain introduced and it's likely that Honda will do the same with this generation of Jazz.

You can choose from three trim levels – S, SE or EX – two of which (SE and EX) can be augmented with satellite navigation to make the SE Navi and EX Navi trim levels. We’d recommend an SE Navi with a manual gearbox, with which you get DAB radio, sat nav (obviously), Bluetooth connectivity, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and 15-inch alloy wheels.

You shouldn’t be too worried about reliability or safety, either. For the former, Honda finished fifth out of 32 brands (despite a 20th-place finish overall) in our 2016 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but this Jazz is too new to have featured in that survey in its own right.

In terms of safety, there's little, if anything to worry about, thanks to a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating. This was achieved thanks to a multitude of airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes and an electronic brake force distribution system (which directs the most braking force to the wheel or wheels that need it most). You also get a tyre-pressure monitoring system, ISOFIX child-seat mounting points and an active city braking system, which at low speeds can detect an impending collision and stop the car automatically to prevent it.