Honda Jazz hatchback (2015-2020) - Engines, drive & performance

The Honda Jazz is designed to be an easy car to drive – particularly around town

Carbuyer Rating

3.4 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.5 out of 5

The Honda Jazz has never been considered a sporty or high-performance car. It's focused on being a practical city runabout and should appeal to those looking for a car that's easy to drive.

Most versions of the Jazz continue in that vein, as it isn't particularly powerful, and the 1.3-litre engine has to be worked hard to make decent progress. It's certainly no sports car, but considering its dimensions and practicality, that won't put off typical Jazz buyers.

The Jazz is very nippy around town and feels comfortable even when tackling potholes, as the ride is more forgiving than its predecessor's. Out on the motorway, the Jazz is a capable and comfortable performer for a car of this size.

Honda Jazz petrol engine

Buyers can now only choose a 1.3-litre with either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic transmission.

The 1.3-litre engine produces 101bhp, which is about enough for the typical Jazz owner's needs. You need to rev it hard if you want to reach its maximum power output, but the acceleration is smooth enough.

We prefer the normal manual transmission to the CVT automatic gearbox, as it's slick and easy to operate. And while the CVT is more economical, it also causes the Jazz to be quite noisy when you accelerate.

It's worth noting that the manual has quite short gearing from first to fifth gear. This means that you'll need to change gear quite frequently when driving around town. Sixth gear is longer, allowing the engine to settle down when cruising on the motorway.

A Sport version of the Jazz was available from early 2018 to mid 2019. It benefited from the excellent 128bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine from the bigger Honda Civic, achieving 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds. It also retained the sweet gearchange of the standard Jazz, too, but its light steering will be slightly less welcome with driving enthusiasts. We found the car to be a little noisy because low gearing keeps the revs fairly high. The suspension was also a bit firmer, helping to stave off body lean, but the Sport badge was best taken with a pinch of salt. It was always best to compare the Sport with models like the Ford Fiesta ST-Line and SEAT Ibiza FR instead, rather than considering it a rival to existing hot hatchbacks.

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

Recommended

Best cars for cyclists and bikes
Land Rover Discovery with roof-mounted bike
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Best cars for cyclists and bikes

Best hybrid cars
Toyota Corolla Trek
Best cars
8 Jun 2021

Best hybrid cars

Honda Jazz hatchback review
Honda Jazz
Honda Jazz
5 May 2021

Honda Jazz hatchback review

Most Popular

Best automatic cars
Blue BMW 3 Series driving
Best cars
21 Jul 2021

Best automatic cars

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

What is a V5C? Here’s everything you need to know about the logbook
V5C close up
Tips and advice
22 Jul 2021

What is a V5C? Here’s everything you need to know about the logbook

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
15 Jun 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
6 May 2021

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks