The 1.3 petrol – the only engine offered – might be quicker on paper than the old 1.4 that it replaced, but it’s still slow compared with rivals. It comes alive at the top of its rev range but is in no great hurry to get there. Acceleration suffers as a result, unless you change down a gear, which you’ll often be forced to do.
If at all possible, you should avoid the CVT automatic gearbox. It allows the Jazz’s engine to rev too high, exposing its poor refinement. It also makes the car feel slower when accelerating.
Honda Jazz ride comfort
Mostly good but it fails to settle in town or at speed
At low speeds around town, the Jazz never really settles down. Its suspension reacts abruptly to cracks, potholes and broken surfaces. Body control is good over bigger bumps, though.
At speed, things are better, but expansion joints are still felt a little too sharply from the driver’s seat. Generally, the smaller the wheels, the better the Jazz deals with bumps. However, ultimately, it’s no match for a Ford Fiesta.
Honda Jazz handling
Body control is good but the steering is vague
The Jazz isn’t especially fun to drive (it’s certainly not in the same league as the Ford Fiesta) but it is at least safe and predictable.
The steering is light, and so great for town work, but it offers little reassurance in fast corners. It’s reasonably accurate, though, so you don’t need to make constant inputs.
The Jazz’s stiff suspension set-up doesn’t help its low-speed ride but it does mean that even when driven hard through tight corners, the car rarely leans uncomfortably.
Honda Jazz refinement
The engine has to be revved hard, causing it to become noisy
The Jazz’s engine is smooth, even at high revs, and its gearshift is snappy and precise. The car’s pedal weights are nicely judged, too, giving the driver confidence.
However, the engine’s poor flexibility means that when you want to summon up even moderately brisk acceleration, it has to be revved hard. That means lots of boomy engine noise. As the speed builds, it’s joined by increasingly bad wind and road noise, too.
Only a 1.3 petrol engine is offered with the Jazz. It’s quicker than the old 1.4 that it replaced, but it’s still sluggish. It feels most alive at the top of its rev range, so has to be revved hard to produce decent acceleration. You’ll find yourself continually changing down a gear as a result.