Honda Jazz Hatchback full 9 point review
Buyers have the choice of two petrol engines – an 89bhp 1.2 and a 99bhp 1.3 (badged 1.4) – plus a hybrid. All offer acceptable performance in town, but do take a while to accelerate on faster roads. A CVT automatic gearbox is standard on the hybrid and an option on the 1.3; it's not particularly responsive, so does slow things down a bit.
Ride & Handling
The ride is firm at town speeds, yet body control is slightly bouncy on faster roads, so the Jazz is a long way off the best small cars to drive. The steering is easy-peasy light for parking, but vague and slow-witted on twisty roads, which undermines your confidence.
The engines are smooth, but if you’re after a quiet life, the Jazz is best avoided. Far too much wind and road noise make their way into the cabin, and this gets worse the faster you go. The hybrid is hushed at low speeds around town, but CVT versions (including the hybrid) make an almighty racket when you press the accelerator hard.
Buying & Owning
Every model averages more than 50mpg and all of the engine/gearbox combinations have pretty low CO2 emissions. The hybrid model is the most economical, but this is offset by its high price, so it doesn't make as much financial sense as you may think. Strong second-hand values help compensate for the high prices, however.
Quality & Reliability
Most of the interior plastics are hard and scratchy, and they scuff easily, so the Jazz doesn't look as upmarket as many similarly priced rivals. However, it has finished top of the supermini class in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey for nearly a decade, so it should be very reliable.
Safety & Security
The Jazz scored the maximum five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test and every model comes with six airbags, stability control and active anti-whiplash head restraints. Deadlocks, a visible VIN and a fully integrated stereo ensure that security is competitive.
Behind The Wheel
The driver’s seat can be cranked up and down, but the windscreen pillars cut across your line of sight. The dashboard layout is more impressive, with everything controlled using chunky buttons and knobs. Only the bland design and the poorly placed switches for the electric door mirrors let it down.
Space & Practicality
Retractable headrests mean you can move the Jazz's double-folding rear seats (the backrests go down or the cushions come up) one-handed. The masterpiece, though, is the boot, which has a multi-functional parcel shelf that can be stashed vertically or horizontally in four different ways to hold any load in place.
The Jazz is pretty well equipped, which helps compensate for the comparatively high prices. The one exception is the entry-level hybrid model which, given its lofty price, we’d expect to have more standard equipment.