Honda Jazz

Honda's track record with small cars has been patchy over recent years. Not since the original Civic, which rivalled motors such as the MkI Ford Fiesta, had the Japanese manufacturer offered a model that could be described as convincing.

Honda's track record with small cars has been patchy over recent years. Not since the original Civic, which rivalled motors such as the MkI Ford Fiesta, had the Japanese manufacturer offered a model that could be described as convincing. But all that changed in 2001, when the Jazz debuted. With lots of interior space, a lively 1.4-litre engine and superb build, the replacement for the unloved Logo was a big hit, winning Auto Express's Car of the Year title. Until now, used supplies have been strictly limited, and it's still tricky to find one outside the main dealer network. But the cars that are out there have held their value exceptionally well, and today make superb used purchases.Checklist * Engine: mechanical problems with the Jazz are extremely rare. It was rated Britain's most reliable car in our Driver Power survey, and we've yet to hear of any trouble. * Bonnet: the bonnet is steeply raked, and solid black and red finishes can suffer badly from stonechips if the previous owner habitually drove close to the car in front. * Specification: our main criticism of the car is that its kit isn't generous. If you can, find one with a CD player, air-con and alloys, as these will help you to sell the motor on. * Load bay: the Jazz has a massive boot, made even bigger by the clever folding seat arrangement in the back. Look for damage to the interior caused in cars that have doubled as a delivery vehicle. * Security: it's worth upgrading from the standard double-locking system to a Thatcham-approved alarm, or one from a Honda dealer. The factory doesn't fit them.Driving Impressions What you notice most about the Jazz is its roominess. The high driver's seat, tall windscreen and wide cabin make it feel as though it's from a class above. Other plus points include a slick gearbox, excellent manoeuvrability and a superbly laid-out dash. However, some owners think extra power and more supple springing would be welcome. As a family car, the Jazz is a cracking buy. It's practical, yet it's thrifty, small enough to be nimble in town and big enough to cope with holiday luggage. It deserves its strong residuals.Glass's View The Jazz is a real winner on the used market, but is still not attracting as many young buyers as Honda would like. Perhaps its wider appearance on the used scene, and the lower prices there, will have the desired effect. Depreciation is low and, given the Jazz's many accolades, is likely to remain that way. SE versions are the most common, but the Sport is in big demand thanks to its great spec. The excellent CVT gearbox is particularly popular with older motorists. Jeff Paterson, Snr Cars Editor, Glass's GuideLife With A Jazz I bought a Jazz to replace a Ford Galaxy, which isn't as daft an idea as it sounds. My two teenagers are sports mad, and I am always having to cart them and their gear around. If anything, the Honda holds more than the Ford people carrier!Denise Burstyn, West Houghton, Lancs The Jazz is one of the most practical, reliable and well designed cars that I've ever owned. Richard Merrion, Daventry, Northants

Verdict

There's no doubt the radical Jazz will shake up the small car market. It offers MPV practicality, a huge cabin and one of the most economical petrol engines in the world. Taking its styling cues and clever packaging from both the Civic hatchback and Stream MPV, the supermini has set new standards in interior space and versatility. Our only quibbles concern the high-speed driving experience - although able in town, the Jazz lacks motorway refinement.

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