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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

Owners Rating
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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.

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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.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 i-MMD Hybrid Elegance 5dr eCVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £26,885

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 i-MMD Hybrid Advance 5dr eCVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £28,085

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 i-MMD Hybrid Elegance 5dr eCVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £26,885

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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