There are three generations of Jazz in this family, so we consider which is top
Mark Pearson Autocar
12 December 2016

More by accident than design, we Pearsons seem to have a thing for the Honda Jazz.

My father started it, years ago, when he bought a 2003 model. He liked it, kept it and eventually replaced it with the second-generation version, passing the older car on to my wife. So if you see a note of bias creeping into these reports, you now know why.

In the inevitable three-way comparison, Autocar’s yellow third-gen car is best in most departments: ride, steering, handling, economy and safety. However, while our first-gen car is outclassed in all departments, the second-gen model actually feels more refined and more solidly built than our latest iteration.

The better refinement might stem from my father’s car being a CVT version, which matches a quick stepoff with reasonably good motorway refinement, even if the transmission’s noisy revving of the engine can make the job of getting up to speed quickly a bit uncivilised. Honda says the third-generation car is 12% lighter than the second-gen, and I wonder if it has shed some sound deadening to achieve this weight loss. On motorways, it’s very disappointing, with an overly vocal engine note and an annoying dollop of road noise.

The perceived quality of our car also disappoints a little. Where the second-gen car feels like a solid, oldschool Honda inside and out, our car feels a bit lightweight. Gone is that satisfying thunk when you close a door or shut the bootlid, for example.

I can’t honestly say our newer car feels any bigger inside, either, despite Honda’s claims that it is. Add in the fact that, to my eyes, the second-gen model looks better inside and out, and what emerges is that, if you do have a thing for the Jazz, the ideal one might be a second-generation example with the steering, dampers and safety kit of the latest model.

Window issues

The electric windows on my Jazz are achingly slow. The passenger-side window, which can be opened from the driver’s side, takes an absolute age to lower itself; I’ve timed it at 5.5sec from top to bottom, by which time I’ve usually given up or fallen asleep. It’s even worse to close, taking more than six seconds. It’s not a one-touch button, either, which compounds the felony.


Price £15,605 Price as tested £16,105 Economy 44.6mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 12.10.16

Read more: 

First report

Public perception

Our Verdict

Honda Jazz

The new Honda Jazz is bigger than ever thanks to a new chassis and longer wheelbase, but does it come with a more engaging drive

Join the debate


12 December 2016
I had a new Jazz for the day while my Civic was in the garage and I was not particularly impressed. It had good points, the engine was nippy and very economical, the ride good and the space impressive, but the styling is a backward step and the touch screen infotainment system was so confusing it was dangerous. But more disappointing than that was the build quality. I have little interest in soft touch plastic, but the car just didn't feel well screwed together. Given the comments in the article, it seems the car I drove wasn't a one off.

12 December 2016
I have a facelift mk1 which I accept isn't the most exciting car in the world to drive but the amount of space for such a small footprint is impressive and is something the later models don't appear to have improved upon as they seem physically bigger but with no more space.

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