Marginal drop in performance worth living with for cheaper price tag

What is it?

This is the entry-level Honda Jazz 1.2 SE. So while you get the same spectacularly efficient packaging, well laid out cabin, you only get 89bhp instead of the 99bhp offered by 1.4-litre versions.

You also only get base S, or the mid-spec SE trim as tested here. With this you still get air conditioning and a CD player, but the steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach, and the useful wheel-mounted stereo controls that come with higher-spec models are also absent.

What’s it like?

Much as you’d expect. The 10bhp that the 1.2 gives away over the 1.4 doesn’t make that much practical difference.

It takes only a second longer to reach 62mph from rest, hitting the target in 12.5 seconds, though the 1.2 can sound a little more strained under hard acceleration than its larger-engined sibling. In reality, unless you drive both versions back to back it’s difficult to spot any significant differences between the two.

The dynamic aspects remain broadly unchanged, too. The Jazz 1.2 SE is still extremely refined (to the point of near-silence at idle), the gearchange is just as sweet and the driving experience is, well, just as devoid of fizz and fun.

Should I buy one?

Absolutely. If you value the Jazz’s space and refinement and don’t plan to undertake many motorway journeys, then the Jazz 1.2 SE could be the pick of the range.

But as with the 1.4, if you have any enthusiasm for driving, a Ford Fiesta would be ultimately much more rewarding.

Matt Rigby

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theonlydt 6 November 2008

Re: Honda Jazz 1.2 SE

If only it was £1000 cheaper and came with VSA. Infact, scrub that; it should come with VSA as standard like the 1.4 does. Shame on Honda.