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Used test: Honda Jazz vs Toyota Yaris vs Volkswagen Polo costs

The latest Jazz and Yaris are hybrids, while the Polo sticks to petrol power, but which of these small cars makes the best used buy?...

Honda Jazz 2021 side

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety

The Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris cost around £18,000 each at two years old, with the Jazz being the slightly more expensive car when new. On the other hand, the VW Polo is the cheapest used buy of our trio at £15,000. In fact, even when new, it came in at less than the used figure of its two rivals.  

As we previously touched upon, the Yaris' fuel economy is unparalleled. When we tested it, the model averaged a whisker less than 60mpg overall, and an astonishing 80mpg around town. The Jazz averaged a very respectable 56.0mpg and the Polo 51.8mpg, with the latter proving far thirstier than the hybrid cars in town but bettering the Jazz – and almost matching the Yaris – on the motorway. So, the difference in fuel bills will depend largely on the type of driving you do.

Toyota Yaris 2021 side

As for road tax, the Polo attracts a fee of £165 per year – that's the same for all petrol and diesel cars registered after April 2017. The Jazz and Yaris, meanwhile, come in at £155 per year each, due to being hybrids. 

In contrast, the Polo will be the cheapest small car here to insure. Due to its low insurance group of just eight (that's out of 50 by the way), you'll only pay around £367. The Yaris is up next in group 13, so expect to pay around £457. The Jazz occupies group 19 and commands a fee of around £580. 

A single service of the Jazz will cost £335 from Honda, while servicing the Yaris comes in at £315. You can buy a two-service plan of the Polo for £496. 

Volkswagen Polo 2021 side

The Jazz came with the most standard kit from the factory. Like the other two cars, it has alloy wheels and automatic lights, except its headlights are the powerful LED type, as opposed to old-school halogen units. The Jazz and Yaris also get rain-sensing wipers, climate control and adaptive cruise control, which can automatically maintain a set distance from the car in front. You can seek out those three things in a used Polo, but keep in mind that they totalled £1245 as optional extras when new. LED headlights came in at a further £1000.

It’s a similar story for safety kit, because while all three cars have automatic emergency braking (AEB) to prevent you from accidentally running into the car in front at low speeds, the Jazz and Yaris add lane-keeping assistance and can display the speed limit of the road you’re driving down in their instrument panels. The Polo's original owner would've had to pay £735 for these features.

Toyota Yaris 2021 Centre console

When Euro NCAP tested our contenders for safety, all three cars earned its maximum five-star rating.

Our latest What Car? Reliability Survey data puts the Polo in a poor 27th place out of 28 cars in the small car class. Needless to say, this a concerning result and one made to look even worse by the Jazz, which finished fourth. What's more, while the current Yaris didn't feature, the previous Yaris Hybrid managed an impressive seventh place finish.

As brands, Honda ranked 12th out of 32 manufacturers featured, while Toyota placed second to add even more confidence to Yaris reliability. Volkswagen didn't do so well, ending up in 22nd.