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In-depth reviews

Honda Jazz - Engines, performance and drive

The Honda 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

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The latest Honda Jazz has bypassed the recent trend for small-capacity turbocharged engines and gone straight to hybrid power. Called e:HEV, the system includes a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and two electric motors. A 2023 update bumped the total system power output from 106bhp to 120bhp.

There are three driving modes to make the most of the complex hybrid set-up. The EV mode runs the car solely on electric power, and this mode 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 motorway cruising speeds, relying exclusively on the petrol engine.

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The Jazz is really at its best at lower speeds, with its light steering making it well-suited to urban life, and we like that the Jazz tends to favour quiet electric drive in town from a refinement standpoint. We did notice that the Jazz can operate in EV mode at higher speeds, but you’ll need to be very gentle with the accelerator pedal in order to keep it in this mode.

It’s on a B road where the Jazz starts to lose ground to its rivals. When the road gets twisty, a Renault Clio feels fleet-footed, whereas the Jazz feels more ungainly in comparison. While nicely weighted, the steering in the Jazz isn’t as quick as the Clio’s, and feels lazier to respond to your inputs. And while the hybrid system in the Jazz has benefits at lower speeds, if you apply any more than two-thirds throttle at higher speeds, the CVT transmission sends the engine’s revs soaring, producing plenty of noise in the process.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

The hybrid system in the Jazz produces 120bhp, allowing the Jazz to go from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds – which is roughly the same time as a Renault Clio E-Tech. The Advance-spec cars take a little longer at 9.6 seconds, while the SUV-inspired Crosstar Advance model requires 9.7 seconds to complete the same benchmark sprint. The top speed for all models is 109mph.

Its hybrid system combines the efforts of a 1.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors. One motor is designed to help with direct propulsion, while the other converts energy from the petrol engine into electricity, which can be used immediately to drive the Jazz or be stored in the car’s small 0.7kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

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