Part supermini, part pint-sized people carrier, the Honda Jazz remains a master of useful interior space and flexibility. New from 2020 are the standard hybrid powertrain, and addition of the Jazz Crosstar to the range. Slightly larger, with raised ride height and rugged exterior styling, it’s for the more active customer. A long-standing favourite of pragmatic drivers looking for a practical and reliable small car, the Honda Jazz continues the traditions of its predecessors in fine style. It’s not the last word in dynamic styling, but if ease of access and strong residuals matter more, read on.
Hondas have always been expensive to buy, but held their value well, due to the brand’s high engineering standards. A combination of good reliability and efficient powertrains means most Honda customers don’t have many unexpected costs during the ownership period.
From 2020, there’s only one powertrain on offer, and it’s an efficient petrol hybrid set-up, meaning fuel costs will be lower than before, too. The Jazz Crosstar is a good deal more money to buy, and uses more petrol, so think carefully before deciding you need the roof rails, chunky styling and extra space.
Expert rating: 3/5
Reliability of a Honda Jazz
Both Honda as a brand and the Jazz as a model consistently rank highly in various owner and industry reliability indexes. If reliability is your top priority, look no further. The new hybrid system and suspension set-ups mean there's less friction within the system, which should mean even fewer chances for things to break.
Expert rating: 5/5
Safety for a Honda Jazz
There’s huge amount of safety kit offered on the new Jazz, most of it as standard. The Jazz now benefits from 10 airbags, including a new front centre airbag and side airbags for rear occupants. There’s much better visibility, too, with a wider windscreen, hidden wipers and thinner pillars.
A new wide-view camera shows obstacles like crossing bicycles and pedestrians at night. There’s a collision mitigation system, lane-keep assistance, road-departure mitigation system, adaptive cruise control, intelligent speed limiter and auto high-beam headlights.
Expert rating: 4/5
How comfortable is the Honda Jazz
What you lose in looks, you gain in space in the Jazz. For the footprint you get a surprisingly huge amount of usable space in the cabin and boot. The high seating position and better visibility of the new model mean even easier driving. There’s more lumbar support for front seat occupants and more seat padding in the rear.
The Jazz Crosstar improves on all areas of comfort and convenience, including water-repellent fabrics on the inside and rack-ready roof rails as standard.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Honda Jazz
The Jazz’s famed ‘Magic Seats’ system is still there, allowing you to flip up the rear seat squabs to maximise footwell space, or flip the rear seats flat to make best use of the boot.
The refreshed connectivity system gives you a new large screen with a design based on a smartphone home screen, an optional wifi hotspot, smartphone connectivity and even a handy little shelf to anchor your hand while your finger selects the graphics to prevent what Honda calls “mistouch”.
The system can be linked to Honda’s My Honda app with features such as an ability to remotely lock the car and also find it, and Honda’s Personal Assistant, now with voice activation.
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Honda Jazz
Just the one set-up is offered, that being a petrol hybrid, with a gearless automatic transmission. You get a 1.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors. The complicated way in which Honda has engineered its system (the engine charges the generator motors which then drives the propulsion motor or charges the battery to let the battery propel the motor) essentially means the whole thing is more efficient, which in turn means less energy is wasted.
The system gives 109 horsepower, and accelerates from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds. Honda claims 63mpg and 102g/km. Despite claims drivers should be able to drive at least half their city journey in electric mode, our test Jazz quickly switched to the engine as soon as we accelerated away from junctions on a two-hour test run, no matter how gently we squeezed the throttle pedal. On the other hand, 62mpg is highly reasonable for a car that’s neither a plug-in hybrid or pure electric.