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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For It's flexible, well equipped, easy to drive and reliable

Against It has a firm ride, and it's noisy. It's also expensive to buy and service

Verdict Pricey, but Jazz owners are the most satisfied supermini drivers around

Go for… 1.4 i-DSI

Avoid… Pre-2003 cars

Honda Jazz Hatchback
  • 1. Town run-arounds like the Jazz tend to pick up dings and scratches, so inspect the bodywork carefully
  • 2. The split rear seats fold flat and the bases can tip up for another self-contained storage area behind the front seats
  • 3. Try to avoid any cars built before spring 2003 because that's when the suspension was improved
  • 4. Ensure the door mirrors are undamaged and adjust properly - they're expensive to fix
  • 5. The Jazz's exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve can get stuck, which leads to the engine responses becoming jerky
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Honda Jazz Hatchback full review with expert trade views

One fact answers that: the Jazz has twice taken top spot in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey and remains the top supermini. It's deeply satisfying to own.

It's good to drive, too. The petrol engines have reasonable pace around town and don't drink much fuel, although you'll need to work them hard to get the most out of them. All the controls - brakes, clutch, gearbox and throttle - gel together perfectly.

The ride can feel too firm at times, but it gives excellent body control and tidy handling. And, keen drivers will want more weight and feel from the steering, although it's nice and light for the kind of manoeuvres that will form the bulk of its daily life.

No-one will find the interior wanting. If Doctor Who drove a supermini, this would be it - small on the outside, cavernous inside.

It's flexible, too. The split rear seats fold flat and the bases can tip up for another self-contained storage area. The back of the front passenger seat folds flat, too.

Trade view

John Owen

One of the best small cars, even in pink or yellow

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Unless you're desperate for the 1.2 petrol version, you're better off looking at the 1.4 petrol.

There's nothing wrong with the 1.2 itself - it's our recommendation if you're buying new - but there are very few on the used market.

Go for the 1.4 and you'll have a far wider choice. It's hardly any thirstier than the 1.2 and gives a welcome extra turn of speed.

Avoid any cars built before spring 2003, because that's when the suspension was revised to take the edge off the stiff ride. There was a facelift in 2004 - a tidy-up outside and extra kit inside.

Entry-level S trim is modest (CD player, electric front windows, central locking), so buy an SE model for its air-con and, on later cars, alloy wheels. Top trim SE Sport (later just 'Sport') has climate control.

Honda dealers have the best younger cars, but independent traders and classifieds are good for older models.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Consistent demand and firm prices to match, many buyers like autos

James Ruppert
Used car guru

You'll have to stump up a fair stash of cash to get hold of one.

For the same money, you can have your pick of many younger superminis, but you get what you pay for, because the Jazz is a hugely practical, reliable and stylish little motor. It's good value and will depreciate more slowly than most rivals.

Notice the word 'reliable'. That means you shouldn't have any unexpected expense on repairs. However, servicing isn't cheap. The Ford Fiesta, Renault Modus and Toyota Yaris will all cost less to maintain and even a Mercedes A-Class won't be much dearer.

Still, insurance won't hurt your wallet - a gentle group three for all but the top-trim 1.4, which is group four.

It's easy on fuel, too - the 1.2 will manage just over 50 miles per gallon unless you're stuck in town, and the 1.4 is only a couple of miles short of that.

Trade view

John Owen

One of the best small cars, even in pink or yellow

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

You'll struggle to find a Jazz with any kind of problem, never mind a serious one.

Check the suspension, though, judging from comments made by owners in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey. Watch, too, for it pulling to the left as a result of being kerbed.

Cars that have spent most of their time in town - an ideal environment for the Jazz - tend to pick up dings and scratches, so inspect the bodywork, wheels and tyres closely. Ensure the door mirrors are undamaged and adjust properly - they're expensive to fix.

City life can also cause the Jazz's exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve to get stuck, which can lead to jerky, inconsistent engine response (the EGR takes exhaust gas back to the engine intake system to help improve efficiency). Avoid any that behave like this.

Other than that, a full service history adds reassurance and value to the car when you come to resell it.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Consistent demand and firm prices to match, many buyers like autos

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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