Honda Jazz

The Essentials

  • Price from £11,605
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 62.8mpg
  • What is it? We can't fault the space or versatility, but the Jazz isn't as good to drive as some rivals

Great

  • Roomier than some much larger cars
  • Smooth, clean engines won't guzzle fuel
  • Should be easy to sell on or part-exchange

Gripes

  • Cheaper models miss out on funky boot and stability control
  • Ride delivers too much shake rattle and roll
  • Pack earplugs for motorway journeys
  • Drive

    Engines deliver a smooth Jazz classic but the jiggly ride is too rock and roll and at high speeds you'll hear an unwelcome wind ensemble

  • Inside

    No style awards here and chunky pillars obscure your view out

  • Safety

    Six airbags, anti-whiplash head restraints and stability control on 1.4 models should keep you and your car safe

  • Reliability

    Feels suitably sturdy and Honda has a legendary record for reliability and keeping customers happy

  • Space

    One-handed seat flattening and origami parcel shelf arrangements make the Jazz super-versatile

  • Standard and extras

    Generous kit as you'd expect at this price, but 1.2-litre models miss out

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Jazz excels in many areas, but the way it drives isn't one of them. There are petrol and hybrid engines on offer - we like the 1.4 petrol best - and they are all lively enough for pootling about. Light steering makes parking easy but at higher speeds it feels woolly which is unsettling. The ride is reasonably settled at town speeds, although the payoff is a slightly bouncy feel on faster roads.
    A CVT automatic gearbox is standard with the hybrid and an option with the 1.4, which is smooth enough, but causes the revs to rise dramatically when you need a sudden burst of acceleration.

  • What's it like inside?

    Versatility is where the Jazz excels, so it's perfect if you're downsizing from a bigger car but don't want to ditch your luggage. Wide-opening doors make loading children easy and the rear seats can be folded away using just one hand  this can be done from inside the boot as well as from the side doors.
    There's a huge under-floor storage bin in the boot instead of a spare tyre, and in 1.4 petrol models the parcel shelf will divide the space into two tiers of storage.
    It's a pity the same attention wasn't given to the interior décor. Bland design, an unintuitive control layout and view-restricting windscreen pillars all disappoint.

  • How reliable is it?

    Highly unlikely. The Jazz came top of its group in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, and mechanical reliability was considered to be excellent.
    Safety kit is good, too, with front, side and curtain airbags, active headrests  to reduce whiplash  and skid-preventing stability control fitted on all models. However, the Jazz only scored 78% for adult safety and 79% for child protection in its NCAP crash test programme. A VW Polo (90%/86%) is a safer bet.

  • Should I buy one?

    With every model covering more than 50 miles per gallon, and some clean engines helping reduce road tax bills, running a Honda Jazz won't dent the housekeeping budget too far. It's more expensive than some rivals to buy, but used values are strong, which should balance things out.