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.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Superminis

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Honda range

Driven this week

  • Audi RS4 Avant
    First Drive
    22 January 2018
    We get our hands on the barnstorming Audi RS4 Avant in the UK to see if this fast family estate can take the fight to the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate
  • BMW X3
    Car review
    19 January 2018
    The stakes have never been higher for BMW’s mid-sized SUV, now the X3 in its third generation. So can it deliver?
  • Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    19 January 2018
    Better looks, better value, better range, stronger performance and a quiet and relaxing drive make the Nissan Leaf a leading EV contender again
  • Volkswagen Up GTI
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    Funky, light, enjoyable and even reasonably priced, the Volkswagen Up GTI is a car to be appreciated on its own compelling terms
  • Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 110 Redline
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    Our first flavour of the 1.0 TSI-engined Skoda Fabia on UK roads shows it’s versatile but not all that sporty