Honda Jazz hatchback (2007-2015) - Engines, drive & performance

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

Carbuyer Rating

3.2 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.6 out of 5

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

When the second-generation Honda Jazz was introduced in 2008, it was clear a lot of work had been done to address the few criticisms of the brilliant original – namely its poor ride quality and lacklustre handling. This car certainly rides better than the original Jazz, although it still trails the supermini class leaders in terms of overall comfort at speed and still doesn’t deliver much in the way of fun from behind the wheel on the open road.

The Ford Fiesta sets a high standard in this class with its fine balance of ride comfort and agility on twisty roads, and the Jazz shows its age, as it’s a long way behind.

If you use the car mainly around town, you’re unlikely to have too many complaints, as the compact dimensions and decent visibility make it easy to drive. It’s just that at higher speeds, the body rolls a bit too much in corners, and the steering doesn’t provide a lot of feel, so you don’t really know what the front wheels are up to.

The engines and gearboxes give away the Jazz’s advancing years, too. Most rivals these days have a six-speed manual gearbox option, but the Jazz makes do with a five-speed, while the CVT automatic hampers the car’s performance.

Honda Jazz petrol engines

Not that it delivers earth-shattering performance from its 89bhp 1.2 or 99bhp 1.4-litre petrol engines. The 1.4-litre manual does 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds and hits a top speed of 113mph. The 1.4-litre engine also provides greater punch than the 1.2, and as it doesn’t cost that much more to run, it’s the better choice for most drivers.

Honda Jazz hybrid engine

Surprisingly, the petrol-electric Jazz Hybrid feels more fun to drive than the petrol versions. This is despite the fact it’s tuned for efficiency rather than performance and only available with the CVT gearbox, which we’d steer clear of elsewhere in the range. It does 0-62mph in 12.3 seconds and claims a top speed of 109mph, although this driving entertainment comes at a high price: not only is the Jazz Hybrid expensive to buy, it’s also more costly to run than you’d expect a ‘green’ model to be.

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