Revolutionary, cutting edge, high performance are words that can’t be attributed to the Honda Jazz.

And yet its continued sales success means that for thousands of buyers, arriving at a destination in an unflustered, undramatic fashion is far more important.

We’re not sure whether the old adage ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ translates well into Japanese, but Honda’s engineers must have uttered the local equivalent when designing this model.

So while it is almost entirely new, the Honda Jazz's focus remains on practicality and versatility, with tweaks to the exterior dimensions and promised improvements to the dynamic repertoire.

The greatest single change is Honda’s attempt to sharpen the styling to appeal more to younger, more image-conscious buyers.

The Jazz comes with either a 1.2-litre or what Honda calls a 1.4-litre petrol engine (despite it displacing only 1339cc) or as a hybrid. Honda's 1.2-litre model is only available with a five-speed manual, while the 1.4-litre is also offered with an automatic CVT gearbox. The hybrid is auto-only.

Unlike rivals, there’s no eco-diesel model or diesel. Honda prefers to take the hybrid route using much of the mechanicals from the Insight - a 1.3-litre petrol engine working alongside an electric motor through an auto gearbox.

It’s a mild hybrid, though, so it won’t travel on battery power alone, using the extra power to take the strain off the petrol motor or to boost power. Emissions are disappointing, not managing to duck below the 100g/km mark.

By any comparison the Honda Jazz is an expensive small car, especially the hybrid version, but you do get a reasonable kit list and a reputation for reliability that seems well founded judging by its lofty position in customer satisfaction surveys.

Top 5 Superminis

  • Ford Fiesta
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    Ford Fiesta

    1
  • Mini Cooper
    Its various improvements make the new Mini more desirable and practical than ever before

    Mini Cooper

    2
  • Renault Clio
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  • Volkswagen Polo
    The Polo is a polished, mature-feeling, spacious supermini

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  • The Honda Jazz is an expensive small car, especially the hybrid version

    Honda Jazz

    5

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