In-depth reviews

Honda Jazz hatchback review

"The quirky Honda Jazz is even smoother and cheaper to run with a hybrid powertrain"

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Price
£13,880 - £22,530

Pros

  • Low running costs
  • Smooth and easy drive
  • Improved infotainment

Cons

  • Unsettled ride on bigger wheels
  • Only average boot space
  • Hybrid tech increases price

The Honda Jazz has long had its own niche as a small hatchback thanks in part to an impressive amount of space and flexibility inside. The latest model sticks to that yet also has a clever hybrid powertrain that means running costs are low and reliability is high.

The new Jazz looks quite a bit different from before, thanks to a redesigned face that includes distinctive LED lights and chunky bumpers. There’s also a new Crosstar EX trim that looks more SUV-like in order to compete with the Ford Fiesta Active and Citroen C3.

The Jazz has a pleasant, if unremarkable, interior that includes a two-spoke steering wheel and neat-looking digital instruments. There’s also a nine-inch infotainment screen that’s far better than Honda's setup in the rest of its range, and it comes with the latest smartphone connectivity. The mid-level SR trim makes the most sense because of this - the entry-level SE only gets a basic radio. The high-spec EX model comes with heated seats and a rear-view camera but it’s quite expensive so isn’t the best value.

The hybrid setup in the Jazz is referred to as ‘e:HEV’ and uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors connected to a battery pack. There isn’t a conventional gearbox, but in practice it feels like a CVT, as you get in the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, bringing the engine in with a bit of a droning noise if you put your foot down.

It’s more like driving an electric car at low to medium speeds, though, so it’s really relaxed and quiet most of the time. More importantly, it’s very efficient; the official test shows it’s capable of 62.8mpg and just over 100g/km of CO2 emissions. Unlike some official figures, we found that this figure wasn’t difficult to match in real-world driving. 

Just don't expect a thrilling ride, because the linear acceleration, light steering and safe but sensible chassis don't invite you to drive in anything other than a sensible manner. A Ford Fiesta EcoBoost feels like a hot hatch in comparison.

Drive in the manner the Jazz prefers and any potted plants slotted in the middle row (with the Magic Seats flipped up) will be unharmed and your passenger will be happy. Drop the seats again and four tall adults can travel in comfort, with plenty of leg and headroom and handy places to charge and stow mobile devices.

A five-star Euro NCAP rating in 2020 proves it’s among the safest superminis too, thanks in part to a suite of clever technology.

The Honda Jazz still appeals to a very different buyer than the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio or Peugeot 208, but for anyone unsure what to buy next, and willing to dip their toe into hybrid or EV ownership, the Jazz is a great choice. After all, it offers many of the benefits of an EV without a large upfront cost or any need to learn new habits, like charging. The Crosstar EX could also be a hit thanks to its desirable SUV-style looks.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.3 i-VTEC S 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £13,880

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 i-MMD Hybrid SE 5dr eCVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £18,130

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 i-MMD Hybrid SE 5dr eCVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £18,130

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