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

  • Jaguar E-Pace P300
    First Drive
    19 November 2017
    Jaguar’s second SUV faces up to the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Tough task, so is the E-Pace up to it?
  • Jaguar E-Pace D180
    First Drive
    19 November 2017
    Not the driver’s car many would hope from any car wearing the Jaguar badge, but the E-Pace is an attractive and interesting addition to the compact premium SUV ranks
  • Subaru Impreza
    First Drive
    17 November 2017
    The fifth-generation Subaru Impreza is much improved from top to bottom, but a poor engine and gearbox keep it trailing in this competitive class
  • Ford Fiesta Vignale
    First Drive
    17 November 2017
    We get a first taste of Ford’s poshest Fiesta in turbocharged diesel form
  • Seat Arona
    Car review
    17 November 2017
    Seat is on a roll but can the Arona, its new junior SUV, cut it in such an ultra-competitive class?