Honda Jazz long-term test review
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...
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
15 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. 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 this time I had my little Honda Jazz instead. The race was on and the clock was ticking, so how would it fare?
Well, as we all know, these days international travel 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 closed 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.
My car doesn’t have a sporty driving mode as such, so I did the next best thing and hit the green economy button on the centre console instead. This dulls the accelerator response a little, but in turn maximises your fuel economy – its use is adding tangible benefits, too, because my fuel economy is improving over time, creeping over the 60mpg mark this time. We didn’t want to make this challenge too easy, after all. And sure enough, with all 108bhp deployed around Heathrow’s lengthy perimeter roads, I was soon flying through the evening traffic on my way home. And all, I should add, while staying within legal limits.
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 reveal an issue with my Jazz, though, and in particular its CVT automatic gearbox. This type of gearbox is 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 very reason that I usually treat the Honda’s accelerator pedal with feather-light sensitivity, but this time I wanted to set records, so I stepped on it with gusto.
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 small car rivals through bends, its handling is also wonderfully 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. I’d set a new record, and despite the extra checks which the coronavirus pandemic necessitates, I’d shaved 12 minutes off my previous personal best. Honda Jazz, you’re a record-breaker.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
Best small cars 2021
More people buy small hatchbacks than any other type of car, so here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the model to avoid
Seat Ibiza long-term test review
The Seat Ibiza is one of our favourite small hatchbacks, but just how deep do its talents run? We look back at our time behind the wheel.