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Car of the Year Awards 2023: Small Car of the Year

Despite the fashion for SUVs, the traditional small car remains the most popular type on the road, with the best brilliant all-rounders that offer excellent value for money...

WINNER: Small Car of the Year

Honda Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid SR

Car of the Year 2023 main logo

Rather than being one of the more popular and outgoing kids at school who draws all the attention, the Honda Jazz is the quieter child who casually surprises everyone with their ability to face any task. Indeed, with its range of talents, it’s top of the class if you’re looking for a new small car.

The Jazz’s mini-MPV shape gives it one of the most spacious interiors in its segment. There’s plenty of room for six-footers in the front and rear seats, but if no one needs to sit in the back, you can flip up the bases of these 'Magic Seats' to make room for taller items. Transporting a tall potted plant, for example, is easy – and, let’s face it, it’s likely to be quieter and better behaved than some passengers.

Small Car of the Year 2023 - Honda Jazz dashboard

The generous 304-litre boot beats that of the Ford Fiesta by swallowing five carry-on suitcases with room to spare. And folding the rear seats down creates a large, flat load area that makes the Jazz a particularly practical small car.

So luggage is very well catered for; what about the driver? Well, you get a lofty seating position, and the tall windscreen and narrow pillars provide class-leading visibility. Granted, the functional interior isn’t as stylish or plush as the one in the Mini hatchback, but it is trimmed with soft-touch plastics, and the buttons and rotary controls are well damped. The dashboard feels sturdier than the ones in most small cars, too.

Our favourite trim, SR, includes part-leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors and a bigger, better infotainment screen than on entry-level SE.

Small Car of the Year 2023 - Honda Jazz side

The Jazz is a petrol-electric hybrid, and all versions have a 1.5-litre petrol engine that works with two electric motors. Performance is peppy when you need it to be, but the car is at its best when driven calmly. It can run on electricity alone, so a lot of stop-start driving on urban roads is done in electric car-like peace, which also helps to improve fuel efficiency. The Toyota Yaris sips fuel at an even slower rate, and the Fiesta is more entertaining to drive, but the Jazz – which also won in this category in 2022 – has the most comfortable ride of all of them.

Our winner is a bit more expensive to buy outright than its rivals, but many of them have increased in price in the past year, so the difference isn’t huge. The hybrid technology helps to keep running costs down, and the Jazz has the strongest resale value of all the cars we’ve mentioned. That means you’ll get more money back when you sell it on.

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See all of our Car of the Year 2023 winners >>