Honda Jazz review
The Honda Jazz has served as a versatile supermini for many years, and the latest car is the most practical and well equipped ever
The Honda Jazz is a car that has traditionally been bought by the older generation, people who are attracted by its easy-to-access cabin and Honda's reputation for reliability. But this third incarnationshould appeal to the younger end of the market courtesy of itsfresh styling and a long list of standard equipment.
The Honda Jazz drives in a civilised manner, provided you avoid the CVT automatic gearbox. It has a more stylish dashboard design than before, yet still features the brilliant and intuitive cabin layout including the Magic Seats in the back, making it one of the most spacious and ingenious cars in its class.
It’s not very fast and it’s not particularly cheap, but the Jazz offers something different to class leaders such as the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta, especially if you're after a versatile supermini for your money.
The Honda Jazz is the smallest model in the UK Honda range. In Japan it has smaller kei cars for sale, but here the Jazz supermini (which is called the Honda Fit in some markets) is the entry point to Honda ownership. The Jazz has been on sale in the UK since 2001, while the current Mk3 model arrived in 2014, with a mild update in 2018.
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We've been admirers of the Jazz for many years here at Auto Express - we even named the Mk1 our Car Of The Year when it first arrived. In the past, the Jazz Hybrid model and the CVT automatic gearbox have disappointed, but the current model stays true to the original car's philosophy of offering the maximum amount of space possible in a compact package.
In terms of size, the Jazz is a five-door supermini, but it's packaging means it's more like a small MPV than its rivals. Those rivals include the best-selling Ford Fiesta, plus the Vauxhall Corsa, Nissan Micra, Toyota Yaris and Citroen C3. Then there's the Skoda Fabia, SEAT Ibiza, VW Polo, Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio, pus the Mazda 2, Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio, while the Dacia Sandero is a far cheaper alternative.
An update to the Honda Jazz in 2018 saw a new engine added to the range, so buyers have the choice of a 1.3 i-VTEC 102 petrol or a larger 1.5 i-VTEC 130 unit. The latter only comes in Sport trim, but don't go thinking it's a sporty model, because while it's faster than the 1.3, it's no hot hatch. Or even a warm one, for that matter.
Prices for the Honda Jazz start from around £14,500, rising to around £19,000 for top-spec cars. Trims comprise S, SE, SE Navi, EX, EX Navi, Sport and Sport Navi. All cars are front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual gearbox, while all models can be upgraded with a '7-speed' CVT auto for around £1,000 extra. It's worth noting that EX Navi cars are about the same price as the Sport version, signifying that while they only get the 1.3 engine, they're far better equipped.
That said, standard equipment on all models is pretty good. Whichever model you choose, you'll get cruise control, Bluetooth, auto lights and wipers, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, rear parking sensors and camera, plus the Magic seats in the back. These fold flat and also have seat bases that flip up, cinema-style to create a secondary load area behind the front seats.
Add in the split-level boot, how easy it is to get in and out of the Jazz and its rock-solid reliability, and it's no surprise that Honda's smallest car appeals to buyers that appreciate these traits over sporty handling and low-slung looks.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Honda Jazz has served as a versatile supermini for many years, and the latest car is the most practical and well equipped ever
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Jazz has two engines to choose from, both Honda i-VTEC petrol units that need revving hard
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThere are no diesels or hybrids, but the petrol Jazz is a frugal machine
- 4Interior, design and technologySharper exterior, classy interior and vibrant colours all make the Jazz more appealing to younger buyers
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Jazz is one of the best superminis in terms of space and the ingenuity of its interior packaging
- 6Reliability and SafetyA top Euro NCAP rating and Honda’s reputation for reliability mean the Jazz is an easy car to live with