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Meet the new Jazz. Same as the old Jazz, but better

Our Verdict

Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz is a super-practical supermini that’s a doddle to drive and own, but lacking in excitement

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Matt Prior
25 August 2008

What is it?

It’s a Jazz, the latest version of Honda’s versatile and extremely practical hatchback. Behind its familiar looks this is an almost entirely new car, although there are a few non-crucial carry-over components.

The original Jazz had an older buyer demographic than most superminis, with buyers drawn to its combination of versatility and reliability. Honda hopes that the new car will have broader appeal.

What’s it like?

It’s very good, but there’s little to see that will suck a younger generation of buyers in, because largely it’s more of the same.

The new Jazz does what the old Jazz does, only better. Dimensionally it’s similar to before: the same height, just 55mm longer, and 20mm wider.

Better packaging, however, means the doors open wider and rear passenger space has increased (the wheelbase is 50mm longer and the windscreen is further forward). There’s plenty of room for four normal-sized adults; five at a push.

There's also loads of storage space, including 10 cupholders. Interior feel isn’t up to the best European standards, with more hard plastics than soft ones in the cabin. But there are some neat design touches and the innovation and practicality are second-to-none in the supermini class.

You can fold the rear seats down, or the seat bases up, and there’s a fabulously clever boot floor that can be removed and stowed, adjusted to become a partition, an extra luggage net, an extra shelf… Or just be a boot floor. At 399 litres, no other B-sector’s boot is as big.

And to drive? We tested the 1.4-litre petrol which proved that the new Jazz is fine, little more, no less. All the major controls are light and progressive and the ride is more compliant than the original car’s slightly bouncy springing.

There isn’t the sort of dynamism that will necessarily attract younger buyers either, but it steers, grips and stops adequately enough. Honda’s Japanese engineers say they’d like to make a fast one; though whether the marketing bods will let them is another matter.

With a useful 99bhp and 93lb ft of torque, the 1.4 is sprightly enough, refined and smooth, and the manual gearbox has a lovely shift too.

Should I buy one?

If you’re tempted by it, you’ll probably like it a lot. The latest Jazz still isn’t the most dynamic or exciting supermini, but to the sort of people drawn to its all-round talents, that won’t matter a jot.

It’s not the sort of car you might necessarily want, but could well be precisely the car you need, and exactly the sort you end up buying and recommending to other people.

Join the debate

Comments
17

25 August 2008

I hope they have improved the seats. I liked the original with its versatility, but found the seats too uncomfortable to consider buying one.

25 August 2008

Funny. I've had a Jazz for over a year and I find the seats very comfortable.

25 August 2008

I agree with Autocar in that there is very little on this car that will tempt younger buyers, despite Honda's aim to widen the Jazz's appeal.

Sure, the new Jazz is the latest model in Honda's current-generation line up, which first started with the Civic, and it features Honda's latest design theme that also began with the Civic, but surely a bit more influence could have been picked up from its big brother. Even the Accord, which is in a traditionally more conservative class, has more of the radical styling cues from the Civic, in and out.

The Jazz is neat looking, but that's about it.

25 August 2008

[quote TonyCraig]Funny. I've had a Jazz for over a year and I find the seats very comfortable.[/quote] Do you also enjoy Saga holidays, have a slight but unmistakeable whiff of urine about you and remember when "this was all fields" ?

25 August 2008

I am one that is thankful it does not look like a Civic, though I find the comment the current Jazz seats are uncomfortable a worry.

Driving an Aygo, am almost certain the seat is dreadful on purpose to make a Yaris look more attractive, the base is a steal pressing with a foam cushion like the Toyota forklift at work. Surely Honda do better than that? The other thing does the Jazz come with a spare wheel? Thanks.

26 August 2008

The dash board is a mess and the car lacks a decent engine. Older people will love it though because they think it looks cool and funky. Mind you they probably cant see the dash anyway because thier cateracts are so bad.

This is rapidly becoming the modern day Austin Maestro or Rover 400 for the wrinklies.

26 August 2008

[quote ecokarter]

This is rapidly becoming the modern day Austin Maestro or Rover 400 for the wrinklies.

[/quote]

The Americans love it, though presumably because there are 0 alternatives to it.

26 August 2008

Few comments on here by people who probably drive citroen saxo's and still get pocket money.

Small cars fall into 2 catergories. Main car replacements where it is the only car and needs to cover all bases. (Fiesta, 206, Mini, etc). These all try to be all things to all people and are normally selected on looks and carry one person most of the time. They need to say something about the driver and are heavily marketted as they are likely to be the only car the owner has.

The Jazz is that second type of small cars, the runabout. Its got loads of space for a few people, the dog fits in the boot, it wont break down, cheap to run and insure. I bet for most people its a second car so is not used on long trips. In this category I dont think there are many competitors except the Citroen Berllingo.

26 August 2008

I seem to remember that the old Jazz could fit a mountain bike standing up in the boot (with rear seats down) - something my Volvo estate can't do! That gave it a Berlingo-esque load capacity that most superminis don't have and a good reason to buy one if you're not massively bothered about image and the demographic of the typical Jazz driver.

26 August 2008

Honda want the car to have a more universal appeal. I am not going to dispute that the car does everything you say philm4000 its just the new one is not going to appeal to a younger audience either.

Besides whats wrong with my saxo.

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