From £12,9357
Spacious supermini sticks to its core values but introduces a new hybrid powertrain

What is it?

So much in life has changed over the past few months, but one thing that hasn’t is the Honda Jazz – even if during that time the old third-generation car has gone out of production to be replaced by this new, fourth-generation model

Jazz owners will be pleased to know that this all-new car is still very much a Jazz. You can tell as much by looking at it; there’s no mistaking it for anything other than the spacious, safe and sturdy supermini-cum-mini-MPV it always has been. We don’t like change and all that. 

What change there has been all comes under the ‘added value’ mantra used to describe the ethos behind the new car. So in Jazz land, the new, comfier seat design and improved visibility is as big news as the fact that it’s now hybrid-only, with the sole powertrain comprising a 1.5-litre petrol engine, two electric motors and a fixed-gear transmission driving the front wheels. Or that the body has been made stiffer with the aim of improving the handling. 

What's it like?

While it might take more than a passing glance to tell the old Jazz from the new outside, there’s a much bigger change inside. The horizontal look of the dashboard adopted on the Honda E electric city car has also provided inspiration for the Jazz, and the result is a much less cluttered design that’s clearly laid out, with the major controls all nicely to hand. There’s the ubiquitous touchscreen to control the slick infotainment system but enough shortcuts retained, too. 

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You’ll also be impressed by the feeling of spaciousness in the Jazz; that’s one big windscreen, and the redesigned A-pillars really do help improve your field of vision. Your back and bum don’t have any cause for complaint on the comfier seat, either, even after a couple of hours on the road. So far, so added value. 

The same can’t be said of the way the Jazz rides. It can be quite crashy at low speeds, as opposed to the more impressive body control it exhibits at higher speeds. Given the amount of around-town pottering that most Jazz drivers are likely to do, that’s a shame. 

While ‘engaging’ is a word used by Honda to describe the improvements to the dynamics, ‘predictable’ is a better one – which is what most Jazz owners would want to hear anyway. 

Unusually for a car of its size and type, the Jazz adopts variable-ratio steering, and its weighting and feel are among the car’s more pleasing dynamic traits for anyone looking for a bit of sparkle and verve. 

Honda’s new e:HEV powertrain is a mixed bag. We’re pleased to see the back of the old Jazz’s CVT and its drone under acceleration, yet aurally you’d be hard pressed to tell much difference in this new fixed-gear ’box. Never press beyond about 40% of the accelerator pedal’s travel and you’ll be left in peace, but do so and it becomes rather noisy rather quickly. 

Still, the noise is at least backed up by the Jazz being a surprisingly brisk car, both off the line and for ‘in-gear’ acceleration, where the torque of the motors combines with the engine for a decent turn of pace. 

Real-world economy is also pleasing, as is the Jazz’s overall feeling of nippiness around town. 

Kudos to Honda, too, for packaging the more complex hybrid powertrain without robbing the Jazz of any of its famed interior space and flexibility. Back are the Magic Seats, which can be quickly folded flat to create a large, flat loadbay or have their bases lifted up to create a considerable load area in place of the rear seats. And there are plenty of other useful storage areas in the car, including under the boot floor and not one but two gloveboxes. It’s features like this that really define the Jazz.

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Should I buy one?

So, there are few if any surprises in this new Jazz, just a series of mostly pleasing improvements. The car won’t win many new customers, it being a stickler for said improvements rather than innovation, but Jazz buyers – and there remain plenty of them – wouldn’t want it any other way.

Honda Jazz specification

Where Berkshire Price £21,385 On sale Now Engine 4 cyls in line, 1498cc, petrol, plus two electric motors  Power 107bhp combined Torque 187lb ft combined Gearbox eCVT Kerb weight 1228kg Top speed 108mph 0-62mph 9.5sec Fuel economy 61.4mpg CO2 104g/km Rivals Toyota Yaris, Skoda Fabia

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Comments
37

6 June 2020

... if you live in town you don't really need anything else. Naturally its got no excitement. 

6 June 2020

Looks average now, but in 20 years it will somehow look right.  That's Japanese styling for you.

6 June 2020

If i am a new driver and in market for a new car.  This is definitely on top of my list.  The interior is so classy.  Unfortunately it's not in for sale in North America anymore.

6 June 2020

I must admit that I've just got used to the styling of the Mk3 Jazz, which now appears quite modern and attractive. By comparison this new one seems dull and uninteresting.But the drivetrain is anything but and the combination of a large normally aspirated Atkinson cycle engine with a series hybrid, fixed gear lock-up  arrangement certainly seems to deliver. It is mechanically simple (and probably quite light and cheap to make) yet the performance and economy look very decent. It's just such an eminently sensible and efficient small car that I'm sure it'll do well, globally at least. 

6 June 2020
Disagree with you Mark, the facelift is quite obvious and easy to see, in my opinion, as it is a far less attractive design to the previous, which I thought looked quite nice, this is a bit of a minter, maybe white doesn't suit it.

The rest, as you say, is more of the same but improved which is a good thing for jazz owners, it's always been a great practical little car that could be all the car you need space wise. I had a facelifted mk1 which made a great family car.

6 June 2020

I may also be tempted by this new Jazz but I really, really hoped Honda would have sorted the crashing hard ride by now.This is the fourth generation Jazz and they all appear to have been made without springs or dampers....

 

...probably the only flaw in these excellent big small cars.

But it is a major flaw.

6 June 2020
Thekrankis wrote:

I may also be tempted by this new Jazz but I really, really hoped Honda would have sorted the crashing hard ride by now.This is the fourth generation Jazz and they all appear to have been made without springs or dampers....

 

...probably the only flaw in these excellent big small cars.

But it is a major flaw.

I like the styling of your generation model, this new one is a backwards step to my eyes. As for ride, I never found my 2005 model to be bad.

6 June 2020

Ah, again a car where the ride is criticised. This might be because the Marketing Department have decided that if the customer wants niceties like Heated seats and steering wheel they must buy the top model. And if you do that you must have the bigger wheels. Time after time this happens. The motoring press mention it, suggesting because of the ride you're better of with a lower spec model. The Marketing department obviously don't deign to take any notice. Probably too drunk on expense account jollies to be able to read the criticism.

 

6 June 2020

No manual at all in the range?

7 June 2020
Old people can't drive um anyway mate!!!! and there the ones who drive these

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