Honda Jazz review - Engines, performance and drive

The Jazz is available with a single hybrid engine option, offering solid performance and superb fuel economy.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

3.5 out of 5

  • Efficient hybrid engine
  • New infotainment system
  • Improved visibility
  • Expensive
  • Single engine option
  • Firm ride

Honda has bypassed the recent trend for small capacity turbocharged engines and gone straight to hybrid power for the Jazz. Although, true to form, the manufacturer hasn’t opted for the most straightforward of powertrain set-ups.

Called e:HEV, the system includes a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and two electric motors producing a total output of 108bhp and 253Nm of torque. 

To make the most of the complex hybrid set-up, the Jazz includes three driving modes: EV mode runs the car solely on electric power, and would normally be used when moving off from a standstill or when travelling at low speed. In Hybrid Drive, the petrol engine and electric motor work together to achieve optimum power and fuel economy, while the car will opt for Engine Drive mode at cruising speeds, relying exclusively on the petrol engine.

Honda has also gifted the Jazz a new transmission - out goes the old, noisy CVT gearbox, and in comes the new e-CVT, with Honda claiming the system helps with creating an easier delivery of power and torque.

Despite a little electric motor whine from time to time, overall refinement is good, and you won’t be troubled by any engine or electric motor noise. Harder acceleration typically gets the revs soaring, but it’s all toned down from the experience with the previous CVT ‘box and relatively smooth by comparison.

The chassis is sound, but if you’re after more driving fun, then it’s probably best to look towards the best-selling Ford Fiesta, MINI hatchback or Renault Clio rivals. The ride quality is easily unsettled by patchy surfaces typical of UK roads, and customers might do well to stick to the smaller 15-inch wheels offered in lower trims.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The 1.5 i-MMD (intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) hybrid engine combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors. One of the motors is designed to help with direct propulsion, while the other converts energy from the petrol engine into electricity which can be used straightaway or stored in the car’s lithium-ion battery.

The system actually produces a decent turn of speed; the Jazz reaches 0-62mph in 9.4s, with EX-spec cars taking a little longer at 9.5s. The SUV-inspired Crosstar model requires 9.9s to reach the same mark. Top speed for the regular hatch is 108mph, with the Crosstar just behind at 107mph.

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