Great little hatchback that's too often underrated
- Excellent passenger and luggage space
- Supremely comfortable ride
- Handles better on new chassis
- Cabin quality is class leading
- Restricted engine choice
- CVT Automatic not great
- Infotainment controls a bit slow
- Hard plastics remain
The Honda Jazz has been around since 2002 during which time it has shifted more than 300,000 of them in the UK and won 70 European awards. It is one of Honda’s most important cars – its rivals include the Nissan Note, the Peugeot 2008 and Skoda Fabia Hatchback.
However, the third-generation model has its sights set on attracting a younger audience, which during its life, has been partially successful. It's been facelifted for 2018, and there are a number of competitive finance offers, which should help entice more youthful buyers.
Greater focus on space, efficiency and quality
A longer wheelbase means more space for passengers – with similar interior dimensions to a Mercedes-Benz E-Class (seriously) despite being a metre shorter, as Honda was keen to point out.
A centrally-mounted fuel tank means the Magic Seats (that were so popular in the Civic, and which was dropped in current version), with an additonal 80mm of loadspace from front to back compared with the previous-generation Jazz. The front passenger seat can be fully reclined to fit long items in, including an eight-foot surfboard, if you so desired.
A new 1.3-litre engine offers the performance of the old 1.4 and the efficiency of the 1.2, while a range of chassis tweaks hint at an improved drive. There’s an extra gear for the manual box and improvements to the efficiency and driveability of the CVT automatic.
New technology includes a seven-inch touchscreen in the cabin and a raft of safety measures including an intelligent speed limiter that reads road signs and changes the car’s maximum speed.
Great quality cabin
Although the immediate focus is on the outside of the new Jazz, it’s the cabin where you’ll spend most of your time and there has been an uplift in both material quality and design.
A large windscreen and front quarter windows let in plenty of light and allow easy visibility for the driver. Everything inside is tilted towards the driving seat which makes it more focussed and easy to use.
A high-grade and soft-touch dash is broken up with polished chrome trim and the driving position is easily tailored thanks to more movement in the seats and steering wheel.
Facelift for 2018
The facelifted Jazz was shown at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. Its bumpers have been reprofiled with what Honda describes as more aggressive detailing. There's also the addition of a 130hp engine, which delivers a claimed 52.3mpg with CO2 emissions from 124g/km.
The order books of the updated Jazz were due to open in November 2017, with UK deliveries beginning in early 2018. Pricing is unconfirmed at this stage, but we’ll keep you posted.
The Parkers Verdict
We like the Honda Jazz. It has a nicely-engineered feel, with crisp and responsive engines, a tight and accurate (manual) gearchange, and responsive steering. In short, buy this car, and you can be sure that it won't let you down.
Other plus points are its roomy interior and large boot for this size of car. There are a few rough edges, such as some of its dashboard plastics, but on the whole, it's a worthy, safe, choice – although it's someway off the class-leading Ford Fiesta and SEAT Ibiza.