Honda Jazz gets funky

CarsBy Paul Keown
Honda Jazz
Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz 1.3 i-VTEC ES

Bigger is better, right? It is if you’re talking about my salary and not my waistline. But in the motoring world, especially during the Celtic crash, we saw a downsizing trend and the return of the supermini.

Times have changed with the economy on the rise and the mighty SUV – be it in crossover form – becoming the car of choice. But what if you still wanted to keep your budget to supermini prices but needed something bigger? Honda has you covered.

The Jazz has been a favourite for car buyers who want something small, practical with rock-solid reliability. It was never the best-looking of the bunch but it delivered more than most. This third-generation model has been revamped and the results are quite impressive.
By far, the Jazz is the most practical supermini around and boasts interior space for occupants and luggage that would put some family cars to shame. It has a bigger boot than a Ford Focus, and with the ‘magic seats’ folded you get a very useable 884-litres of space. They really should have called it the Honda Tardis.

The Jazz was always a car that went about its business without much fuss. It has been given an injection of style and it looks a lot sharper. The brand’s new face across the grille and lights gives it a fresh look and the line that runs from the front wheel arch to the rear bumper give it a nice flow.
The cabin is really light and airy and a huge windscreen gives excellent visibility. The dash is dominated by a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It looks high-end and is easy to use.

The space inside is ridiculous. If Dr Who is looking for a new time machine, he’d be doing himself a favour by getting a Jazz. I’m six foot and even giving myself a generous amount of room in the driver’s seat, I still had more than an inch of legroom to spare when getting into the rear. It really is feat of genius.
The Jazz feel quite sturdy on the road, giving you the impression of driving something much bigger, and in and around town it’s a breeze to park. I would have liked a little more torque from the 1.3 petrol, it felt a little sluggish down low and only really felt strong when at motorway speeds. Given the glut of smaller engines, especially one-litres, Honda’s 1.3 i-VTEC lacks a little punch.

It has very good handling qualities and the steering is nice and sharp. It’s never going to match its older brother, the Civic, for driver engagement, but for a supermini it has plenty of quality for those looking for a rewarding drive.

With so many plus points, there has to be a negative. In the Jazz there are very few, if any, although it is one of the more expensive options in the supermini segment. Cars like the Hyundai i10 at €12,495 and Opel’s Karl at €11,995 are two of the better options – the Jazz starts at €17,395, putting it into a different category on price alone.
The new Jazz is bigger, better and right among the class leaders. If you don’t mind stretching your budget, you’ll have the best all-rounder in the supermini segment.

Tech Spec

Model: Honda Jazz 1.3 i-VTEC ES
Price: From €17,395 (test car €19,345)
Road tax: Band A4 €200
0-100kph: 12.0s Max speed: 183kph
Fuel economy: 5.0l/100km
Luggage space: 354 litres
(884 litres/magic seats folded)