Honda Jazz Hatchback full 9 point review
The 1.3-litre petrol engine feels short of low-rev punch next to the turbocharged engines in many rivals, so it has to be revved hard if you want even moderately brisk acceleration. You’ll find yourself regularly changing down a gear on faster roads, too. Avoid the optional CVT automatic gearbox if you can, because it makes the Jazz feel decidedly slower than the manual version.
Ride & Handling
Light steering helps take the effort out of driving the Jazz in town, but it offers little reassurance on country roads. You’re better off taking things pretty slowly anyway, because there’s plenty of body roll in tight bends. In short, there’s little fun to be had behind the wheel of a Jazz, but at least its handling is safe and predictable. The ride is unsettled, however, and the body tends to bob about over bumps and crests.
The Jazz’s engine is perfectly smooth, even at high revs, and its gearshift is snappy and precise. However, a lot of boomy engine noise enters the cabin even at medium revs, which is particularly annoying since you often have to work the engine pretty hard. Wind and road noise become increasingly bad at high speeds, too.
Buying & Owning
Like-for-like list prices are generally less than a Ford Fiesta’s, but the mid-range models are more expensive than the equivalent VW Polo, let alone a Skoda Fabia. The Jazz’s Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals are competitive, if no better than the offers available on many rivals. At least the efficient engine keeps down fuel and tax costs, while insurance and servicing bills are also low.
Quality & Reliability
The Jazz’s cabin is certainly well screwed together. None of the dashboard surfaces flex and neither do the fittings on the centre console. That said, the best small cars use higher-quality materials and have switchgear that feels more substantial. We’d expect the Jazz to have excellent reliability; the previous model was voted one of the most reliable cars in our latest customer satisfaction survey. Honda as a manufacturer got an outstanding score in our most recent reliability study, too.
Safety & Security
Every Jazz comes with an impressive list of safety equipment, including automatic emergency city braking and six airbags. Mid-spec SE and high-end EX models come with more advanced features, such as forward collision and lane departure warning technology, plus traffic sign recognition. There’s even a system that’ll warn you if another vehicle is about to cross your path while you’re reversing. An alarm is fitted from SE versions and up.
Behind The Wheel
Plenty of adjustment to the seat and steering wheel means that drivers of all sizes will be able to get comfortable. The pedals also line up nicely with the driver’s seat, and the Jazz’s tall windows and thin pillars mean all-round visibility is excellent. The dashboard is logically designed, while SE cars and above get Honda’s Connect infotainment system, which consists of a nicely positioned, responsive touchscreen; bright sunlight can make it difficult to see what’s on the screen, though.
Space & Practicality
This is where the Jazz excels. Four tall adults can sit in comfort; there’s excellent headroom all round, and the rear passengers’ knees will be well clear of the front seatbacks. Shoulder-room is also good. The 60/40 split-folding rear seats drop completely flat, while Honda’s Magic Seat system means you can flip up their bases to create a space that’s ideal for transporting tall items such as plants or bikes. The front passenger seat also folds down, while access to the big boot is superb.
Entry-level S versions forgo alloy wheels, but do get a DAB radio, automatic lights and wipers, air-con and cruise control. We’d spend the extra on SE trim, which adds alloys, a touchscreen infotainment system, front and rear parking sensors, and electrically folding door mirrors for not a lot extra. EX cars get luxuries such as climate control, a reversing camera and keyless entry and engine starting, but we’d save the cash and stick with SE. Sat-nav is an option on SE and EX versions.