Twin Test: City Cars

  • We pit the practical Honda Jazz against the fashionable Nissan Juke
  • Driving, practicality and cost all evaluated
  • Find out which car comes out on top

Want something with stand-out style rather than just an ordinary city car? Or is real flexibility and practicality the key to a satisfying ownership? Then step up the Nissan Juke and Honda Jazz; both are practical and good  to drive, but which is most deserving of your cash? Game on...

Honda Jazz (2008 on) vs Nissan Juke (2010 on)

Driving

Don’t expect the Jazz to feel like a mini GTI from behind  the wheel, as it’s far more sensible than that. However it handles neatly enough, and for those using it around town the light steering and supple suspension will be ideal. Watch out for the pre 2010 1.4-litre automatics as the box is jerky and unrefined.

The Nissan Juke Nismo

There’s few cars that mix genres as successfully as the Juke; Nissan’s baby mixes 4x4 looks with sporty driving dynamics. The jacked-up stance doesn’t bode well but it has plenty  of grip and little bodyroll, though the suspension is firm. All engines provide brisk acceleration, especially the 187bhp Nismo model.

Practicality

This where the Honda really shines, with a shape not unlike a small people carrier – the cabin is huge and there’s plenty  of room for both adults and children. The boot’s sizable too, providing 399-litres of space while  the 1.4-litre models have extra cubbies under the floor. All models have the clever rear seats which fold the bases up into the backrests for taller loads.

The Honda Jazz's Rear Seats.

You’ll struggle  to squeeze more than four adults in the Juke but all will appreciate the high riding seats; entry and exit is especially easy. Unfortunately the boot isn’t as large as its rivals at only 207-litres, though the false boot floor reveals extra space underneath. At least the cabin styling, with its motorbike inspired transmission tunnel, is interesting.

Costs

Regardless of which Jazz you choose all are capable of returning over 50mpg, though newer versions of the 1.2-litre with start/stop are most effcient. If you want the best economy then the 2011 Hybrid model is your best bet. Regardless of choice, reliability is a key strength so maintenance costs are reasonable.

Buy a new Juke and  the figures are 70mpg and 104g/ km CO2, but any diesel made before 2013 will struggle to better  the Jazz with a possible 58mpg and 124g/km CO2. Still, the Juke has sold incredibly well, so though its still relatively new there are plenty  to choose from on the used market and bargains to be bagged.

  Honda Jazz Nissan Juke

Engines:

Power:

0-62mph:

Economy:

Fuel Capacity:

CO2 Emissions:

Road tax:

Insurance groups:

Boot space:

Petrol, 1.2 to 1.4 litres

99-100 bhp

11.1-13.5 seconds

50-62 mpg

40-42 litres

104-129 g/km

£20-105

13-16

399 litres

Petrol and diesel, 1.5-1.6 litres

92-187 bhp

7.7-11.6 seconds

38-70 mpg

46 litres

104-169 g/km

£20-£200

12-20

207 litres

Verdict

Honda Jazz - Winner

Clearly the more conventional, it’s no surprise the Jazz is favoured by more mature buyers. But it’s also the better  car with excellent refinement, a practical and well-built cabin and a hassle-free driving experience.

If you’re looking to make a statement then the Juke is the car for you but, beyond this, things soon begin to unravel. It falls far behind rivals (and not just the Jazz) for practicality, while  refinement isn’t a match for the Honda and it just isn’t as good to drive as its looks suggest.