On-trend SUV styling and a hybrid powertrain only broadens the appeal of Honda's small car

What is it?

The rise of the SUV is being felt everywhere, even in the Honda Jazz. While the all-new fourth-generation Honda Jazz might be a fairly predictable evolution of the most steady of superminis in its standard form, Honda has broadened the range to include this new Crosstar version. Think Ford Fiesta Active and Audi A1 Citycarver and you’ll have the idea. 

The Crosstar has all the SUV-like soft-roader features you’d expect, including an increased ride height, black body cladding for the sills and wheel arches, and roof rails. There are also 16in alloys and a bespoke front grille design and, for the interior, water-resistant upholstery.

It is only available in top-spec EX trim (coming in at £22,635, £1250 more than the equivalent top-spec Jazz EX on which it is based). Being something new in perhaps the most conservative car range on sale, the Jazz Crosstar is expected to be a niche seller but still part of widening the appeal of Jazz, and destined to be followed by more Crosstar Hondas in the future

3 Honda jazz crosstar 2020 uk fd hero rear

What's it like?

Given the minimal changes, there’s little surprise to find the Jazz Crosstar performs in such a familiar way to the standard supermini on which it’s based.

That includes the drivetrain, the sole choice on the car being a 1.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid with twin electric motors and a fixed gear to drive the front wheels. Response is impressive from the drivetrain across the rev range thanks in no small part to the large amount of torque on offer (187lb ft peak combined across the system), although any enjoyment is spoiled by the drone the system makes under anything but the lightest of throttle loads.

Still, economy is impressive (we saw more than 50mpg on our mixed-roads test route), and the performance is an unexpected boon in a car not known for setting pulses racing.

The Jazz Crosstar is marginally larger than the standard Jazz - height increases 30mm to 1556mm, width goes up 31mm to 1725mm, and length is boosted 46mm to 4090mm. The ride height itself goes up 37mm thanks to a marginal increase in suspension travel.

Does this help improve the low-speed ride issues that plague the standard Jazz? It’s marginal if they do, and you’d really need a back-to-back test on an identical road to really tell any difference. The long and short of it, then, is that this is still a car that can crash over broken surfaces while displaying impressive body control at higher speeds, along with safe, predictable handling and nicely weighted steering.

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The interior of the Jazz Crosstar is also familiar from that of the standard Jazz, save for those wipe-clean seats and also an uprated sound system. It’s a cabin that’s pleasing enough on the eye, with nicely laid-out controls and a slick enough infotainment system controlled from a dashboard-mounted touchscreen that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Perceived quality is improved from the previous Jazz, although you don’t have to hunt too far for hard black plastics, and the larger new windscreen, while great for visibility, is also a magnet for glare from the big expanse of black plastic on top of the dashboard.

7 Honda jazz crosstar 2020 uk fd dashboard

Should I buy one?

The appeal of the Jazz range has been broadened in the most Jazz-like of ways in this new Crosstar version. The baby hasn’t been thrown out with the bathwater in its creation, meaning all the good (and bad) of the standard car remains, with a little bit of extra rugged appeal thrown in - albeit any enthusiast appeal left firmly behind. 

Honda Jazz Crosstar EX specification

Where Berkshire Price £22,635 On sale Now Engine 4 cyls in line, 1498cc, petrol, plus two electric motors Power 107bhp (combined) Torque 187lb ft (combined) Gearbox Single fixed-gear Kerb weight 1253kg Top speed 107mph 0-62mph 9.9sec Economy 58.9mpg CO2 110g/km Rivals Ford Fiesta Active, Audi A1 Citycarver

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17 Honda jazz crosstar 2020 uk fd tracking

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, autocar.co.uk website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Old But not yet Dead 10 June 2020

Suspension Engineer Required - Apply within

So an extra 37mm of ride height to play with and still a poor ride. Well done, an incredible level of incompetence. I reckon a week  with a competent specialist could have given the shocks and correct spring rates to Honda .  Surely luring an engineer from Ford would not be beyond Hondas means, as they sure have run out of ideas themselves.

And so what actually 31 March 2021

Drive it and make your own mind up. They cant get the price right at the top so I wouldn't rate their opinion too highly

Sundym 10 June 2020

Honda where did it go wrong?

So late 80s being seriously talked of as the "Japanese BMW",with absolutely fantastic engines, great build quality, super ergonomics , your whole range civics,accords, preludes, crx ,NSX all looking fab . What happened ?
scrap 10 June 2020

BMW make ugly front drive

BMW make ugly front drive hatches these days, so maybe they became the German Honda?

wyaak2 9 June 2020

Jacked up superminis

Yes, MG Rover only lasted 5 years, but the legacy of the Streetwise continues after 17 years.

typos1 10 June 2020

wyaak2 wrote:

wyaak2 wrote:

Yes, MG Rover only lasted 5 years, but the legacy of the Streetwise continues after 17 years.

Whilst I m no fan of the SUV and fake SUV craze, MGRover actually did us a favour - jacked up hatches/fake SUVs are more a  bit more efficient than real SUVs so if they hadnt invented the jacked up hatch/fake SUV people would have bought loads of real SUVs instead and therefore caused a whole lot more pollution