Used Honda Jazz review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Honda Jazz covering the Jazz Mk3 (2015-2020)

Verdict

The supermini sector is awash with multi-talented contenders, but none can match the combination of usability and reliability that the Jazz offers. This is a car that is well liked by its owners, who love its practicality and dependability, and while it doesn’t offer much in the way of driving thrills and its interior design is uninspiring, you can’t argue with the hassle-free ownership experience. What makes the Jazz even more appealing as a used buy is its popularity with private owners who don’t cut any corners when it comes to maintenance. Many probably spend more time cleaning their cars than they do driving them. There’s a ready supply of great-condition low-mileage Jazzes out there waiting to be snapped up – and we’d recommend you do just that if you’re looking for a supermini that puts the emphasis on ease of ownership.

A new Jazz has just hit UK roads, the fourth generation of a car that was first seen all the way back in 2001. From that first edition the Honda has been rare in its sector, with its high roof and ‘monobox’ silhouette that houses the pièce de résistance: cinema-style rear seats.

Called Magic Seats, they offer a level of flexibility that none of the car’s rivals can match – even now, nearly two decades after it was first seen. They let you carry items behind the front seats while retaining a separate boot, allowing you to transport tall items that might need to remain upright. The Jazz is renowned for its dependability and low running costs; it’s one of those cars that’s really easy to recommend, although it’s not perfect.

Models covered

  • Honda Jazz Mk3 (2015-2020) - Supermini offers plenty of versatility for the used buyer. Here’s how to find the best on the market.

History

The Jazz Mk3 reached UK showrooms in September 2015. It had a 1.3-litre petrol engine and three trim levels, each of which could be specified with a six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT automatic – the latter at a £1,100 premium. The Jazz brought a raft of new driver-assistance technologies plus a new infotainment system with internet-browsing capabilities.

In February 2018 a facelifted version hit the road. Alongside updates to the exterior styling there was now a new 1.5-litre engine option, although this was available only in Sport form; the model line-up otherwise continued as before. The Sport was based on the SE, but added a rear spoiler and side skirts, LED headlights, gloss-black alloys, pinstriped fabric for the seats plus a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearknob.

Which one should I buy?

Whereas Honda offered a hybrid version of the Jazz Mk2, the Mk3 simply got 1.3 or 1.5-litre petrol engines. Even the bigger unit isn’t especially muscular, and because it came only in Sport form, we’d opt for one of the high-spec 1.3 EX editions in either manual or CVT form.

The Jazz S has 15-inch steel wheels, a DAB radio, a multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth, electrically adjustable door mirrors, auto emergency braking, automatic headlights and wipers, air-con, cruise control, powered windows front and rear, remote central locking and stop-start.

Move up to the SE and you’ll get 15-inch alloys, a seven-inch touchscreen, front and rear parking sensors, plus electrically heated and retractable door mirrors. The EX adds 16-inch rims, privacy glass, rear parking camera, climate control and keyless go.

Alternatives to the Honda Jazz

Although the Jazz is Honda’s supermini contender, its sheer versatility means it’s really more of a micro-MPV. As a result, its closest rival is arguably the Vauxhall Meriva, which is well equipped and has added practicality with its rear-hinged back doors. The Ford B-MAX is another rival, and its sliding back doors also offer extra usability; if you don’t need this, the Fiesta is a brilliant alternative because it’s so readily available, well equipped and great to drive.

The Volkswagen Polo, SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia are all related to each other, and each is very desirable. Meanwhile, the Peugeot 208, Vauxhall Corsa and Renault Clio are all good value, plentiful and practical – they’re just not as usable or as versatile as the Jazz.

What to look for

Security

Whereas the Jazz SE and the Jazz EX come with an alarm as standard, the base-spec Jazz S features only an immobiliser.

Servicing

Honda offers various transferable pre-paid servicing packages, so look out for cars that come with one to get more for your money.

Spare tyre

The Jazz doesn’t come as standard with a spare wheel, but you can fit a space-saver into the well in the boot floor if you purchase one.

Spec levels

As well as the standard trims, the Jazz was also available in SE Navi and EX Navi editions, which had sat-nav included on them as standard.

Interior

Those ingenious rear seats and the spacious boot are the Jazz’s headline acts when it comes to the cabin. With the back seats in place a useful 384 litres can be accommodated. But fold down the seats (and unlike most rivals, they fold completely flat, at the pull of a lever), and the capacity jumps to an extremely impressive 1,314 litres. This capacity is complemented by the Jazz’s low load lip, which makes getting large or heavy items in and out as easy as possible.

Cubbyhole space could be better, however, and while the dashboard design is clear and the cabin build quality very good throughout, the dash and infotainment both look a bit dated. The latter, meanwhile, isn’t quite as slick as the systems found on some rivals.

Running costs

The Jazz Mk3 needs to be serviced every 12,500 miles or 12 months. The first service costs £235 and is simply an oil and filter change along with a visual inspection of the car’s major functions. The second service is priced at £310 and includes replacement dust and pollen filters, plus new fluid for the CVT if fitted.

The third service costs £290 and includes fresh brake fluid and a new air filter. Once a Jazz is three years old, it’s eligible for cheaper maintenance, with alternating minor and major services marketed as Honda 12 and Honda 12+ at £180 and £290 respectively. The minor service is an oil and filter change plus an inspection, while Honda 12+ includes replacement air and pollen filters plus new brake fluid. The chain-driven engine means there’s no cambelt to replace.

Recalls

You can see whether any Honda that you’re thinking of buying is still subject to recall work, by checking its VIN (vehicle identification number) online at www.honda.co.uk/cars/owners/recalls-and-updates.html. However, you won’t need to see whether any Jazz Mk3 is in need of remedial work, because so far there haven’t been any recalls for this generation of the supermini.

All of the Jazz’s predecessors have been the subject of several recalls, though, and for the Mk2 most of these related to airbag glitches; Honda was badly affected by the Takata airbag scandal, which could see occupants injured by shrapnel projected at high speed in the event of a crash. The most recent Jazz Mk2 caught up in these various campaigns was made in May 2015, so by the time the Mk3 was launched the problem had been fixed.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

A 57th placing out of 75 cars in the 2020 Driver Power satisfaction survey isn’t too bad, bearing in mind the Mk3 is about to be replaced, while 42nd out of 100 in last year’s used car poll is reasonable. The best this Jazz has achieved is 40th in the 2018 new-car survey. Performance, visibility and ride quality get the thumbs down; the high spots are cabin versatility, interior and exterior quality plus low running costs.

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