Used cars: Honda Jazz

  • Used car buying guide
  • All about the Jazz
  • What to watch out for
Best buy: Honda Jazz
Years: 2001–2008
You'll like: Reliability; equipment
You won't: Ride, price, refinement

What’s it like?
The cute Jazz is fun to drive, well equipped and practical. It’s also spacious inside, with a big boot for a car of its size. The rear seats have a party trick, too – not only do the seat backs fold for a flat load space, but the seat cushions can tip up like cinema seats, so there’s a storage area big enough for a bike without its front wheel.

The Jazz has also been in the top three of the JD Power reliability survey for the past three years.

Which one should I get?
The original Jazz had a poor ride, but modified suspension in ’03 improved things. The Jazz was face-lifted in late ’04, with new lights and interior trim.

The 1.2-litre model might be tempting due to its better fuel economy, but not many were sold so you may struggle to find one. The 1.4’s extra power makes the most of the car’s enjoyable handling, and allows for easier motorway cruising.

The entry-level Jazz S comes with front airbags, child-seat points and central locking. It’s worth looking for the SE trim, which has air-con, anti-lock brakes and alloys. The SE Sport (Sport from ’04) adds climate control. The CVT auto gearbox was only available on 1.4 models from ’02 and comes with steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles.

What to watch out for...

Scroll across to see what you should be looking out for when buying a used Jazz

Running Costs
Despite its slightly larger engine, the 1.4-litre model doesn’t cost much more to run than the 1.2. You’ll pay the same £120 per year in road tax and most models sit in insurance group 3. Average fuel economy for the 1.4 is 48.7mpg – 2.7mpg below the 1.2.

The Jazz is costly to service, due to the parts and work required, while Honda dealers are generally among the more expensive places to go. Customers are usually happy with the service they receive, though.

Some sellers try to exploit the Jazz’s good name, so prices can vary. You can pay as little as £3000 for an ’04 1.4 SE model, but it will have done at least 70,000 miles. The same car with fewer than 30,000 miles should cost around £1000 more. An ’06 model with about 20,000 miles should cost around £7000. One with a CVT ’box costs between £300 and £650 extra.

On the road
The steering is a little light and short of feel, but the Jazz is entertaining to drive. There’s little body roll and lots of grip, so the car corners well and feels sure-footed. However, the firm ride can become uncomfortable, feeling especially jittery around town. The car is reasonably refined when it’s on slower roads, but on the motorway the engine gets vocal when pushed, and there’s quite a lot of wind and road noise.

Buyer's file
Engines 1.2 75-76bhp 1.4 82bhp Average Economy 48.7mpg-51.4mpg
0-60mph 12.4-13.4sec Insurance Group 3
Depreciation 45-50% Reliability 4/5 One to go for 1.4 SE

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