Honda Jazz long-term test: report 1

We were impressed with the latest Jazz's practicality and efficiency when we first group tested it. But now our deputy editor is finding out what it's like to drive one every day...

Honda Jazz front

The car Honda Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid EX eCVT Run by Darren Moss, deputy editor

Why it’s here To see if the latest Jazz’s talents extend beyond the big space and practicality that the car has become known for

Needs to Carry luggage and people without complaint, be economical around town and powerful enough for longer trips, and keep me connected to the office

Mileage 1062 List price £22,245 Target Price £20,572 Price as tested £22,995 Test economy 58.1mpg Official economy 61.4mpg Options fitted  Sunlight White Pearl paint (£750) 

12 August 2021 – Tardis, meet your match

If time-travelling adventurer Doctor Who wasn’t hampered by being fictional and was stranded on Earth without his/her Tardis, it’s easy to imagine what he/she might choose for transport instead. It would be something unassuming so as to blend in with the public, but also something which, like the Tardis itself, was bigger on the inside than it might first appear. And so, I believe, the Honda Jazz would be a strong contender.

The Jazz is our favourite small car, partly because it crams an awful lot of practicality into a package that’s the perfect size for the city. But I think there’s more to this latest Jazz than just the ability to swallow an Ikea wardrobe and come back for seconds. I think there’s a genuinely fun character here, too, and as someone who’s trying to downsize I’ve decided to give the Jazz a try.

It should bring big benefits for my wallet, because it’s a hybrid, featuring a 1.5-litre petrol engine that works in conjunction with a small electric motor. I'm already seeing upwards of 58mpg, which means I'm not visiting the petrol station too often.

Honda Jazz infotainment screen

With petrol engine and electric motor working together there's 108bhp on offer – enough to outrun any Dalek or, as is more likely, keep up with the ebb and flow of traffic. In fact, in our tests the Jazz accelerated to 60mph quicker than the rival Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95. 

I’m enjoying the view from the Jazz’s driver’s seat, because it places you higher up than in most small cars, while its thin windscreen pillars and deep rear screen make parking a doddle. And that’s before we come to the front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera that are fitted to my car, offering extra reassurance.

I’ve gone for the relatively lofty EX trim in order to unlock some of life’s little luxuries, including a heated steering wheel and front seats (which should prove useful as we head into the autumn months), blindspot monitors and sat-nav for the infotainment system. As a result, I’ve only felt the need to add one optional extra to my car, in the form of premium Sunlight White Pearl paint (£750), which shifts its colour slightly in the sun.

It can’t all be roses, however, and although I’m enjoying much of the Jazz’s technology, there are some niggles. Honda’s 9.0in touchscreen infotainment system, for example, is frustratingly slow to get going. Fortunately, SR models and above also come with Apple CarPlay connectivity, so that’s what I’ve been using thus far.

Honda Jazz rear seats

Likewise, while the Jazz is remarkably hushed around town, with the electric motor taking much of the strain, the same can’t be said on faster roads, where the petrol engine joins in and the CVT automatic gearbox frequently sends the revs flaring. I’ve taken to driving with an extremely light right foot to keep the noise down on the motorway.

Redemption is easily found, though, in the sheer amount of space on offer in the Jazz. I’m not known for packing lightly for any trip, but even when I’ve tried to take the proverbial kitchen sink with me on long jaunts to the Norfolk coast, the boot and rear seats have swallowed it all without fuss. And let’s not forget the Jazz’s secret weapon: ‘magic’ rear seats, with bases that flip up like those in a theatre so you can free up extra space for storage.

Over the coming months, I’ll be putting the Jazz to the test both as a city commuter and as a frequent weekend tripper. And hopefully, much like Doctor Who, I’ll always be able to rely on my trusty companion to help save the day. Will I succeed? Tune in next time.

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