Honda Jazz Review
Looking for a small but practical and easy-to-drive hatchback? The Honda Jazz is a good option, offering plenty of comfort and efficiency
Strengths & weaknesses
The Honda Jazz is a small hybrid car about the same size as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Toyota Yaris. It’s designed to be practical and efficient, so it will be appealing to a lot of different people.
The Jazz isn’t the most exciting small hatchback but it’s really comfortable, should be reliable and is good value for money. It’s smart inside and out, plus the inclusion of an electric motor alongside the petrol engine means that it’s really quiet inside.
The Jazz uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine working alongside an electric motor and a small battery. It never needs to be plugged in, as the engine charges the battery, though the battery pack is smaller than those with equivalent plug-in hybrid models.
Since it’s all designed for high fuel economy, it’s very efficient and as well as ultra-quiet low-speed driving you also benefit from the assistance of the electric motor at low speeds where the engine isn’t offering full power.
It’s really easy to drive and all models are automatic. In fact there’s no need to worry about which version you choose as all have the same engine and gearbox. You just need to consider which trim level you want - we’ll help with that below - and whether you want the more rugged-looking ‘Crosstar’ model.
This version is a more SUV-like model similar to the Ford Fiesta Active, and it has all the same engines and equipment as the normal Jazz - it’s mostly just a cosmetic change.
The Jazz is really roomy inside, has a big boot and also gets Honda’s 'Magic' rear seats, which can fold upwards to create extra storage space in front of the rear seats. It’s very useful for carrying things like tall plants that need to stand up.
The rest of the interior is smart and modern too, so the Jazz is an excellent choice if you are looking for an economical new small car. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Should I get a Honda Jazz?
✔ Very practical for a small car
✔ Efficient engine
✔ Easy to drive and comfortable
✘ Rather dull to drive
✘ Crosstar version is a bit expensive
✘ Unusual - and controversial - looks
The Honda Jazz isn’t for everyone, as it’s nowhere near as fun to drive as the Ford Focus or even the Toyota Yaris, but if you don't care about that and want something that’s easy to drive, comfortable and practical then it’s ideal. It’s also fitted with an efficient and quiet petrol-electric hybrid setup that brings good fuel economy.
It’s likely to be reliable and affordable to run, and although it’s on the expensive side for a small car, it’s still well equipped and the interior is pleasant and modern. The slightly odd looks might put you off, but look deeper and the Jazz is a great car.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Best Jazz for...
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
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There’s only one engine and gearbox in the Honda Jazz. It’s a 1.5-litre petrol unit with an electric motor and a 'Continuously Variable Transmission', or CVT. This is a type of automatic gearbox commonly used in hybrid cars, and mostly it drives like a normal automatic - just put it in D for drive and go.
The electric motor means that at low speeds, the Jazz is very quiet as the engine can turn off. Even when you’re driving with the engine on, it’s a quiet motor and the car is comfortable. The normal Jazz is a supermini, so it’s a similar size and shape to a Ford Fiesta.
Honda Jazz Crosstar
There is another version of the Jazz to consider - it’s a raised-up model called the Crosstar that’s designed to appeal to fans of SUVs.
Like the Ford Fiesta Active, it’s not a proper SUV and has no off-road ability. It's just a version of the Jazz with some 4x4-style trim added and slightly higher suspension. It’s not worth choosing this model unless you love the way it looks, as it’s more expensive and doesn’t drive much differently.
|From £9,995: The entry-level SE version comes with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), LED lights, fabric upholstery, automatic windscreen wipers, heated door mirrors, a digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
|From £17,000: This version is great value because it’s not much more than the SE but gets a nine-inch media system with a touchscreen interface, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. It also has part-leather upholstery, alloy wheels and parking sensors.
|From £8,995: EX comes with everything found on SE and SR models plus sat-nav, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry, heated seats, a heated leather steering wheel, a reversing camera and 16-inch alloy wheels.
|Limited stock: The EX Style model adds some sporty-looking trim pieces and different alloy wheels but its changes are mostly cosmetic and it’s not really worth the extra cash.
|Limited stock: This is the SUV-like model. It’s based on the EX trim, although instead of heated steering wheel and blind spot monitoring you get waterproof upholstery and an upgraded stereo.
There’s only one engine in the Honda Jazz. It’s a 1.5-litre petrol with 109hp, helped along by a small electric motor. It runs with the engine off for short distances and when at low speed, so it’s really quiet in traffic. The electric motor also helps you to get going, so performance from low speed is good - it makes the Jazz very easy to drive as well as being quiet and smooth.
The petrol engine isn’t very powerful, though, so the Jazz isn’t fast, nor is it all that much fun to drive, but it’s a very sensible, efficient and - hopefully - reliable setup.
There aren’t many different versions of the 2020-on Honda Jazz to choose from, but your buying situation might influence which version is best for you. To help you decide, we’ve picked out some different situations and then a version of the Jazz that works best there.
|Honda Jazz SR: The mid-spec SR version is the best value - it’s well equipped and only costs a little more than the entry-level car. It’s well worth upgrading to this for a small amount extra to get the included media system alone.
|Honda Jazz Crosstar EX: The Crosstar EX comes with waterproof, wipe-down seats as standard. This could be very useful for families with young kids and dogs, although it might be better to get a cheaper model and simply add some aftermarket seat covers if value is your top priority.
|All versions of the Honda Jazz are the same in terms of performance. The SE model has the least amount of extra equipment, so it’s the lightest and therefore would be fastest - but we don’t recommend buying any Jazz for its performance! This isn't a quick car.
|Honda Jazz EX Style: The EX Style model is poor value for money. It has all the same equipment as the EX but costs quite a bit more, yet the only additions are cosmetic.
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The Honda Jazz is a supermini, which means it’s a similar size and shape (and price) as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Toyota Yaris. The Jazz is one of the most practical options, so it’s close in scope to the Skoda Fabia, for example, which is another really roomy small car.
The Yaris is one of the only other small hybrid cars, so that’s a particularly key rival. The Yaris is not as practical as the Jazz but it’s better to drive and very well engineered. The Jazz Crosstar has a couple of rivals including the Ford Fiesta Active, which is just like the Jazz Crosstar in that it’s a raised-up version of the normal supermini (with a slightly inflated price to match).
Honda Jazz practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Honda Jazz is 4m long, 1.7m wide and 1.5m tall, which is about the same as a Ford Fiesta; the difference is a matter of millimetres in each direction. However the Jazz is proportioned differently and this means there’s loads of interior space.
The rear seats have more headroom and legroom than the Fiesta’s, for example, plus they even fold upwards to create an extra storage area in front of the rear seats if you need it. The Jazz is one of the most practical small cars around as a result.
|Weight 1,228kg - 1,246kg
The Jazz has a spacious 304-litre boot, which is a bit bigger than the Fiesta’s 292-litre area. It’s the rear seats that make the Jazz so practical, though, as you can fold them forward or backwards depending what you need to carry. Tall items can go behind the front seats easily if you fold the rear seats up, while longer items can slot in with the rear seats folded down, for example.
In this configuration there’s 1,205 litres of space in the Jazz, which is more than in the Fiesta, which has 1,093 litres in total. You can read more about the Jazz’s dimensions and boot space in our dedicated article linked to below.
|Seats up 304 litres
|Seats down 1,205 litres
The Honda Jazz has a reputation for being a very reliable car, although this new version has only been on sale since 2020, so there’s no data for long-term use just yet.
However there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t be reliable - especially as the car came 33rd in the 2021 Driver Power survey for customer satisfaction, and Honda as a car maker came 6th overall in the poll. Those results are excellent and we’d have no qualms about buying a Jazz second-hand.
The Honda Jazz comes with a three-year warranty, which is pretty standard - most cars come with this level of cover. You do get up to 90,000 miles of cover within those three years, which is 30,000 more than most get, though.
However it’s not as good as the 10-year cover you get with the Toyota Yaris, or the five-year cover that comes with the Hyundai i20. The battery in this hybrid model is covered for five years, though, and you’re protected against structural rust for 12 years.
AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £535
The Honda Jazz is an excellent second-hand car. It’s likely to be reliable and its older customer base means that most will have been very well looked after and serviced according to schedule, plus it’s practical, comfortable and easy to drive.
The Jazz is good value too, and comes with all the equipment you need including modern safety tech, has a pleasant interior and it’s efficient so it should be cheap to run. The only question mark is its rather dull driving experience - if you love driving, a Ford Fiesta is a much better choice.
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We’d skip the entry-level Jazz SE and go straight for the mid-spec SR. This version comes with all the kit you really need including a media screen with smartphone connectivity, yet it doesn’t cost much more. It’s just as good to drive as any other version.
The EX Crosstar version has jacked-up suspension and a more SUV-style look to it, but is not different in terms of how it drives. It does get waterproof seats, a nice touch, but if you want value for money it’s not the best option because the changes are mostly cosmetic.
The Honda Jazz EX is the best version if you want all the best equipment, however, because the top-spec EX Style version only adds equipment that has little substance, like flashier alloy wheels. The EX has everything you could really want at a lower price.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example
|APR rates available
|Cash price £12,000
|Value of loan
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12
|Annual mileage of 8,000pa
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55
|Term 48 months
|Optional final payment £4,285.79
|Loan value £12,000
|Total amount payable £14,755.55
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.