The charismatic looks, bold interior design, effortlessly agile handling and zesty performance on which so many superminis trade have barely if ever figured as constituent parts of the appeal of the Jazz. And by giving us a new version that might be even more functional, mature and flavourless than before, Honda would appear to have embraced the reputation this car has won for itself over nearly two decades. It’s a car whose qualities we can certainly applaud, but it remains hard to really like or to want.
Its hybrid powertrain affords sizeable gains on fuel economy and drivability and its highly configurable and voluminous interior brings unrivalled practicality for a car of this size. If there were a touch more sophistication about the car’s low-speed ride, the Jazz might have nabbed an additional half a star. For this jury, it would need at least some dynamic charm, kerbside allure or driver appeal to progress further.
But however dry and sensible its character may be, the Jazz deserves credit for its persistent pragmatism and utility value, and it will continue to stand out in a class dominated by cars of much less rational qualities.