Honda Jazz long-term test: report 3

The latest Honda Jazz's practicality and efficiency impressed us in a group test – now our deputy editor is finding out what it's like to drive one every day...

Honda Jazz with racing flag

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 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 1615 List price £22,245 Target Price £20,732 Price as tested £22,995 Test economy 60.2mpg Official economy 61.4mpg 

18 September 2021 – Setting records

Every time I land back at London’s Heathrow Airport following a work event or holiday, my mental clock starts running, and a timer from 53 minutes begins counting down in my head. Why 53 minutes? Well, that’s the fastest time I’ve ever managed to go from landing on the runway to unlocking my front door at home, while obviously sticking to all speed limits.

At the time of setting that record I had a diesel-engined large SUV to ferry me the few miles from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 short stay car park to my flat, but on the most recent occasions I had my little Honda Jazz instead. The clock was ticking, so how would it fare?

Well, as we all know, international travel now involves more checks and paperwork than it did in the heady days of 2019, and so by the time I entered the lift to the car park I was already running behind schedule. Still, as I chucked my bag in the boot and got into the comfy driver’s seat, I was as enthusiastic as the Duracell bunny, because this type of short, mostly urban drive should be home territory for a hybrid like my Jazz. 

As usual, I hit the green economy button on the centre console. This actually dulls the accelerator response a little - I didn’t want to make this challenge too easy, after all – but in return maximises your fuel economy. And its use is adding tangible benefits, because I'm now averaging more than 60mpg.

Honda Jazz economy button

In my haste to get going, I’d forgotten to set up any music for my journey, but my Jazz comes with wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay, so with the press of an icon on the infotainment touchscreen, the sweet sounds of my 36-hour-long musical theatre playlist were soon filling the interior. I know; jealous, aren’t you?!

This against-the-clock journey did highlight an issue with the Jazz, though, and in particular its CVT automatic gearbox. It's both mechanically simple and fuel efficient, but the downside is that when you put your foot down, it sends the engine’s revs flaring. And that in turn leads to a lot of intrusive noise coming into the Jazz. It’s for this reason that I usually treat the Honda’s accelerator pedal with feather-light sensitivity. However, this time I just wanted to get home, so I stepped on it with gusto whenever a gap in traffic appeared.

Honda Jazz with suitcases

The Jazz’s light steering helped me to manoeuvre the car along the crowded roads around Heathrow, and while the car’s tall and boxy nature means it leans over more than some rivals through bends, its handling is still nice and predictable. I always have a good idea of where the front wheels are facing, and while not exactly fun, it is at least reassuring.

So what was the final time? Well, as I glanced at my watch while unlocking my front door, I noted that it had taken me 41 minutes to get from plane to porch. Despite the extra checks which the coronavirus pandemic necessitates, I’d shaved 12 minutes off my previous personal best, proving that in today's world of tight speed limits and even tighter roads, driving something small and nimble makes more difference than having a lot of power.

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