The Honda Jazz is the smallest car in the Honda range, slotting in below the Civic. With pricing starting at €17,640, the Jazz does not look like the cheap option but there is plenty going on with this car for that to actually be a bit of a bargain.
The Jazz may be the Civic’s little brother, but this car is anything but small on the inside. Buyers get a spacious cabin that blurs boundaries between this and a hatchback from the class above. Yet the running costs are that of a small car – the Jazz is powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine that will return up to 56mpg and qualifies for motor tax of €200 per year.
The Jazz is a bit more like a mini-MPV really. The new Jazz sits on a new platform that’s shared with the Honda HR-V compact SUV. The styling is not dissimilar from what has come before but has been smartened up in line with the other new models in the Honda range. Pick an eye-popping colour like red, yellow, orange or blue and you could go as far as saying that the Jazz is cool looking.
Inside, the Jazz feels anything but cramped, and could comfortably house a small family with room for their cargo too. Jazz has a highly practical interior with plenty of headroom and legroom. The legroom in the back really is something else and a low transmission tunnel means it’s a practical space to sit a third passenger too in the middle.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the Jazz has an ace card up its sleeve: it has the Honda Magic Seats innovation that allows you to flip the seat cushions of the rear seats up to carry large or awkward objects.
The boot is really excellent too for a supermini with a low flattish loading sill that’s rare to find in this segment. It’s also particularly large – 354 litres. I mean this is really Golf/Astra territory.
The new cabin feels hi-tech and modern with a touchscreen as standard on ES trim and above. The seats are soft and comfortable and the dials and switches are all neatly and conveniently placed. It’s all solidly built as we have come to expect from Honda, but the look is more durable than plush, though there are some stylish elements to it.
The 1.3-litre petrol is a naturally aspirated unit and it’s the only available engine option for the Jazz. A manual six speed gearbox comes as standard, with the choice of a CVT automatic gearbox. The engine is very frugal and has enough power for the car, but it’s not the most exciting or characterful engine. It does the job – but no more. It feels perky enough at low speeds around town but you have to wring it out to pick up speed quickly out on bigger roads. It certainly prefers a more sedate pace.
The Jazz is not the speedy choice, but it’s actually a lovely, easy car to drive. It offers good stability and comfort on longer journeys and on motorways, and the handling is very good too. The car holds the road well and the steering gives decent feedback.
There are three trim levels for the Irish market: SE, ES and EX. For the entry price of €17,640 you get a good level of standard equipment: air con, Bluetooth, city brake, cruise control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, auto lights and wipers, four electric windows, electric mirrors, and LED daytime running lights.
The ES car on test had 15” alloy wheels, the Honda Connect system (touchscreen infotainment), front and rear parking sensors and Dynamic Safety Pack including lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, forward collision warning, intelligent speed limiter, and high beam support.
The Honda Jazz is an easy, comfortable small car to live with it. The engine lacks the poke for it to be a sporty or exciting car to drive, but it is practical and good value considering the space and equipment that is on offer.
There really is very little like it out there – the interior has been absolutely maximised for it to be the most versatile car around within the price range. The Jazz would prove to be a very practical companion for a variety of buyers, young and old.
Model tested: Honda Jazz 1.3 i-VTEC ES
Price: €19,590 (Range starts at €17,640)
Engine: 1.3-litre petrol
Power: 101bhp (102PS)
0-100km/h: 11.3 seconds
CO2 emissions: 116g/km
Tax band: A4 (€200 per year)