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Honda Jazz Crosstar engines, drive and performance

2020 - 2023 (change model)
Performance rating: 3.9 out of 53.9

Written by Adam Binnie Published: 6 July 2023 Updated: 6 July 2023

  • Single hybrid engine choice
  • Combines petrol and electric power
  • Runs as a silent EV in town

Hybrid engine

The Jazz Crosstar unsurprisingly uses the same hybrid system as the conventional Jazz hatchback. This combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine with two electric motors and a lithium ion battery to deliver 109hp and 253Nm of torque (pulling power).

We’ve explained the various ins and outs in greater depth in our main Honda Jazz review, but it’s worth pointing out the larger Crosstar takes half a second longer (9.9 seconds) to accelerate 0-62mph.

Still, it retains the ability to cruise around town in all-electric mode, with the petrol engine firing up sporadically to recharge the battery or provide extra power on faster roads.

Honda Jazz Crosstar review - side view, driving, blue
Slightly slower than the regular Jazz, but still sprightly enough.

Then when you’re on the motorway, the petrol engine takes over propulsion entirely, with the electric motor providing an additional boost.

We really rate this system – it combines the best of an electric car with the best of a petrol car. It works in a remarkably similar way to a plug-in hybrid, only without the need to actually plug it in.

The larger Honda CR-V SUV uses a similar system, albeit one bolstered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine, and is worth considering for the same reasons if you need a bigger SUV.

What’s it like to drive

  • Despite extra height it handles confidently
  • Agile Handling Assist helps make it fun
  • Long-travel suspension improves comfort

The Honda Jazz Crosstar features a 30mm boost in ride height over the hatchback. This is good news for ride comfort, as it means the Crosstar deals with bad surfaces more smoothly. However, it also raises the centre of gravity, which is often a recipe for more body roll and reduced control in the corners.

Happily, Honda has managed to retain much of the neat and tidy handling exhibited by the regular Jazz. As such, despite the increased height, the Crosstar still feels nimble and confident on the road – and if there’s more bodyroll it’s barely detectable and unlikely to bother you, even during quicker driving.

Honda Jazz Crosstar review - front view, driving round corner, blue
Handling is neat, tidy and confidence inspiring, even with the extra height.

Helping things along, the Crosstar not only features variable-ratio steering – meaning the effort required to change direction is modified depending on how fast you are going, promoting stability at speed and spryness around town – but also Honda’s Agile Handling Assist system.

This is able to brake individual wheels in order to help the Jazz Crosstar corner with enthusiasm when required while also maintaining a high level of safety and reassurance.

As such, we find the Crosstar a fine car to drive. If it’s not quite as good as a Ford Fiesta Active, it’s still grippy, eager and enjoyable.