Honda Jazz review
Practical, efficient and highly-specced, the hybrid Jazz supermini is an attractive if relatively pricey package
The fourth-generation Honda Jazz aims to attract buyers interested in better fuel economy, up-to-date connectivity and reasonable running costs. Does it succeed? For the most part, yes – it’s super-efficient, agile and should hold its value well.
On the downside, the Jazz is still a boxy, uninspiring shape and lacks the fun factor other rivals offer. Its new infotainment system isn’t the best in this highly competitive class, either. However, the Japanese supermini’s hybrid powertrain is impressive, and if you prioritise practicality over style it could be the right choice. Just remember to drive a hard bargain at the dealership on those high list prices.
Our choice: Honda Jazz Advance
About the Honda Jazz
The Honda Jazz has been around since 2002 in the UK, and over the intervening years its mix of practicality, reliability and low running costs has won a loyal band of repeat customers, who will swear by all of the unassuming supermini’s aforementioned characteristics.
All well and good, but the Jazz’s unassuming nature has made it hard to reach customers outside the group of buyers of a certain age and outlook who have traditionally homed in on the little Honda’s common-sense qualities.
The latest model introduced in 2020 is the fourth generation, and whereas in Japan it’s available with 1.3-litre petrol or 1.5-litre petrol-hybrid power, here in Europe the 1.5-litre e:HEV variant is the only option. That decision is in line with Honda’s stated intention to eliminate conventional powertrains from its European line-up – something it has nearly achieved, with the Civic Type-R the sole petrol-only model in the Honda range – so don’t hold your breath for a cheaper petrol version here.
Car group tests
- Renault Clio vs Skoda Fabia vs Honda Jazz group test review: a battle for supermini supremacy
- Honda Jazz vs Toyota Yaris Cross: 2023 twin test review
- Honda Jazz Crosstar vs Dacia Sandero Stepway
Used car tests
Honda’s i-MMD (Intelligent Multi Mode Drive) hybrid set-up is similar to that employed by Toyota in its rival Yaris supermini, consisting of a four-cylinder petrol engine and a pair of electric motors all linked to a CVT auto transmission. Like the Toyota, the Honda system does allow for brief periods of electric-only driving – up to a mile, in fact.
While clever hybrid tech means it’s clearly more interesting from an environmental perspective, the Jazz still has its work cut out to catch the attention of those supermini buyers who want to drive something a little more fun or funky. The Jazz’s roster of rivals is an impressively long list of high quality competitors that includes big names such as the Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio and recently axed Ford Fiesta, plus a trio of VW Group stablemates in the VW Polo, SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia. There’s a motley assortment of others, including the Peugeot 208, Mazda 2 and Hyundai i20 to name a few.
The Jazz comes to the fight with relatively snazzy - for a Jazz - styling, and attractive equipment levels across four model grades. The old system of SE, SR, EX and EX Style is out, replaced by the more upscale-sounding Elegance, Advance, and Sport, along with the SUV-inspired Crosstar version. The new model lines have brought with them an increase in equipment too, especially for the entry-level car, which now gets 15-inch alloy wheels and a nine-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, though you still miss out on equipment like keyless entry and a heated steering wheel granted to the rest of the range.
Models from the Advance upwards also get a 9-inch Garmin navigation module in place of the standard Honda touchscreen, privacy glass and larger 16-inch alloy wheels. The Advance Sport adds to this with sport-inspired details to its body styling, a special exhaust finisher, ultrasuede interior trim, sports pedals, a three-spoke steering wheel, and a Sport drive mode - though the powertrain remains the same.
Honda introduced the Jazz Crosstar model in mid-2020 to sit alongside the regular five-door hatchback, and above it in stature, thanks to its raised ride height, body cladding and roof rails for a pseudo-4x4 look, although don’t expect any off-road ability. Based on the Advance-spec Jazz, it’s more expensive than the regular car and slightly less efficient, too. In our opinion, it’s out of step with the overall ethos of the Jazz, but it may go down a storm with the Jazz's fan base.
For an alternative review of the Honda Jazz, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingPractical, efficient and highly-specced, the hybrid Jazz supermini is an attractive if relatively pricey package
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Jazz is available with a single hybrid engine option, offering solid performance and superb fuel economy
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsHigh list prices for the Jazz are offset by excellent economy and low emissions, while residual values should hold up well
- 4Interior, design and technologyWith a fresh interior design and new on-board tech, Honda will be hoping to attract younger customers to the Jazz
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Jazz still holds the ace card for practicality; nothing in the supermini class comes close to its versatile ‘Magic Seat’ system
- 6Reliability and safetyThe Jazz performs consistently well in the Driver Power survey, while Honda continues to offer impressive levels of safety