Even with the inclusion of torque vectoring by braking, and the improvements that Honda has made to the new Jazz’s chassis and structural rigidity, this is still no athlete. Unlike a Ford Fiesta or, to a lesser extent, the new Yaris, it offers little in the way of driver engagement or satisfaction, placing simplicity of operation, ease of use and outright handling security at the forefront of its dynamic repertoire.

There’s plenty of room for small cars with those dynamic priorities in today’s car market, of course, and this one does at least change direction in an accurate but laid-back fashion, with steering that’s medium-paced and reassuringly hefty feeling. Any heavier and it would detract from the Jazz’s easy-going nature; any lighter and it might not instil quite the same levels of assured-feeling solidity.

Stable, predictable handling is the Jazz’s approach to cornering, with ease of driving prioritised over engagement. Its body can lean a bit under load but balance is neutral.

The car’s chassis balance at speed is neutral enough and it deals with faster corners without much in the way of fuss, although this is a softly sprung car for the supermini class, and one given to a bit of lateral body roll when leant on. The Yokohama tyres conjure a grip level that’s adequate but doesn’t advance much further than that. Even allowing for the underlying sense of predictability that its steering instils, the Jazz clearly isn’t a car intended to be thrown down a road with any feeling, but rather to reassure its driver at all speeds and in all environments with its pervasive sense of calm.

Such a mature, reserved philosophy does complement the car’s wider pragmatic streak rather nicely. It might not do much to win over the enthusiast, but for those buyers who don’t place an alert, engaging driving experience at the top of their priority list – nor indeed even at the bottom of it – such a positioning should serve the car well.

The Jazz is one of those rare cars that allows you to effectively drive the entire length of Millbrook’s challenging Hill Route with the throttle pinned to the floor. Its incredibly modest power reserves become readily apparent over the course’s various elevation changes, but that’s not entirely a bad thing.

In fact, it serves to showcase just how stable and sure-footed the Jazz remains even when it’s being thrashed. Through tighter bends, it usually seems to generate more than enough grip to stay on track, and when understeer does arrive, it’s very easily corrected with a brief lift of your right foot.

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There is some pronounced body roll through quicker directional changes but it’s mostly well controlled, and even with the outside tyres loaded up, the car doesn’t seem to struggle too greatly with mid-corner impacts.

Comfort and isolation

Although it’s largely comfortable, the Jazz isn’t without its ride-related quirks. At low speeds, there’s a tautness about its set-up that can at times bring a bit of fussy, highfrequency pitter-patter into the car’s town ride on coarser stretches of urban Tarmac. However, it generally deals with sharper edges and bumps in the road rather well.

The car can feel a little over-sprung at low speeds, yet it can also puzzle you with loose-feeling vertical body control on faster, rolling stretches of road. In such environments, the Jazz certainly likes to heave and float a bit, often using all of its suspension travel over long-wave inputs. These movements aren’t so unchecked as to be unsettling because they don’t disturb the levelness of the car’s body for too long, but they are nevertheless prominent enough to have prompted one tester to compare the Jazz – perhaps a touch brutally – to an old office chair.

‘Comfortable over distance’ would be a more charitable way to describe the car. There’s excellent adjustability in the driving position and the seats themselves are soft and cushioning but reasonably supportive, too. Visibility is excellent and cabin isolation isn’t bad, either. At motorway speeds, the engine fades away into the background, while wind and road noise aren’t intrusive.

At 70mph, our microphone recorded ambient noise at 68dB, which is considerably quieter than the 71dB reading produced in the Yaris.

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