Honda Jazz review
The Nissan Note-rivalling Honda Jazz is one of the most practical and reliable superminis on sale
The Honda Jazz is a supermini that offers something a little bit different in the supermini market. Rather than focusing on cool styling or personalisation options, the Honda Jazz is totally focused on practicality. Thanks to a versatile interior and lots of interior space there's not much that can match the Jazz when it comes to practicality in this class. Being a Honda, it has a great reputation for reliability. The 2013 Driver Power survey saw the Honda Jazz placing 23rd in the top 100 cars, which shows it must be one of the most dependable cars on the road.
The Jazz only comes as a five-door model, and there are no diesel engines available for the car, so it may not be a great choice for those planning to cover long distances often. The accessories list is a bit sparse - even the spare wheel is an optional extra. You can get a hybrid version of the Jazz, which improves economy a bit, but it can't match the efficient diesels in rivals like the Hyundai i20. Think carefully before you buy a Honda Jazz, as a new version is expected very soon, with a larger interior and new technology included. However, dealers might be offering good discounts to get rid of these old models - so you might want to take advantage of that. We've driven the new model already and found that it was bigger and better made than the current model - so it's worth waiting for.
Our choice: Honda Jazz 1.4 EX 5dr
The Honda Jazz ES Plus gets a few styling additions, like body-coloured handles and alloy wheels, but on the whole the Jazz is nowhere near as stylish as something like a Ford Fiesta or even a Volkswagen Polo. The car's pragmatic character continues in the interior, with a nicely laid-out dashboard and a neat button layout. The driving position is excellent, and the interior can be spruced up with some leather seats as an optional extra. Standard equipment is a bit lacking on the Honda, and the entry-level 1.2-litre S doesn't even get air-conditioning, alloy wheels or electronic stability control as standard.
Driving in town is where the Honda Jazz excels, thanks to light controls and excellent visibility. The small size means it's easy to park, and the ride is decent as well, even on the motorway. Noise inside the car is minimal, so there shouldn't be many complaints on a long journey. It's definitely not a driver's car, however, with unresponsive and slow steering and rather more body roll than we'd like. The 1.4-litre petrol with 99bhp is smooth and drives nicely, but it lacks the punch that many drivers would want.Next to the Ford Fiesta, the Jazz is just not up to standard in this area.
The Honda Jazz has a great reputation for reliability, finishing 23rd in Auto Express' Driver Power 2013 top 150 cars list. The main reason that it placed so highly was that owners were very impressed with the car's reliability, so the Jazz should prove to be as dependable as cars get. Thanks to a good list of kit that includes six airbags, electronic stability control and active head restraints, Euro NCAP awarded the car with the full five stars for safety. Although, beware that the stability control does not come as standard on entry-level models.
The Honda Jazz might be getting on a bit now, but it's still one of the class leaders when it comes to interior space and versatility. It even rivals larger cars in the mini MPV sector for interior space, thanks to its boxy dimensions. There's plenty of head and legroom for rear passengers, and the 379-litre boot capacity should be enough for any shopping trip - you even get a clever boot divider that includes a useful net. There's a good amount of interior storage too, with a large double-decker glovebox, numerous cup-holders and deep door bins.What really makes the car stand out is the way the rear seats completely fold up, meaning carrying large loads in the boot is easy thanks to the flat floor.
The Honda Jazz is pretty expensive compared to its rivals, and it doesn't come with a lot of extra equipment - so it's not great value. The Honda’s predicted residuals of 41.6 per cent are good, however, so depreciation shouldn't hurt too much. The 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol engines in the Jazz range get around 50-54mpg, which isn't great, and while the hybrid version gets over 60mpg, that's nothing special compared the the Hyundai i20's 88mpg diesel engine. A pricey pre-paid servicing pack costs £695 and takes care of scheduled maintenance for five years.