Twenty-one adults in a Honda Jazz! Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed it.
That was on the first Jazz launch to the press in Lisbon. The Honda Jazz has, since then, evolved into a bigger car. Not big, but bigger. Maybe 25 could now squash in…
Of course, not only has size increased, but so has pretty much every other advancement the car industry has achieved. Honda has not been left behind in the slightest. With the Honda Jazz Crosstar, you get a sophisticated family SUV that provides valuable interior space. Able to accommodate three adults in the rear (two USB points for them), all very nicely fabric-furnished, with design features pleasing on the eye.
As a load carrier, the Crosstar also excels; the rear seats could not be easier to fold forward and back again, and the boot floor had a very useful hard-wearing mat on top of the carpet.
My drive along a variety of motorways, town roads and narrow country lanes was easy and comfortable.
The exhaust note was pleasantly purposeful under acceleration and could still be detected at around 70 mph, along with slight wind noise.
The onset of car industry autonomy comes with a plethora of alert/alarm warning sounds; there needs to be a way of allowing the driver to take back control autonomously! The Honda Jazz Crosstar has its fair share of these; they operate and then the visuals stay in the instrument display for a while. I found this unnecessarily distracting. It’s not just Honda — many manufacturers’ cars are just the same.
Overall, the Crosstar was really good to travel in. However, one other thing that slightly marred this was my attempt at voice command for satellite navigation. It simply could not understand the postcode I wanted in order to get back to base (a hotel in Berkshire; firstly, it offered a location in Yorkshire; second attempt: a village in Devon; then I tried just saying “Wokingham!”: more confusion. Then, under ‘favourites’ was the hotel address, so I selected that and carried on. As the journey headed towards its end, the satnav voice directed me to turn next left at what sounded like “Old Wodghingham Road”, which turned out to be “Old Wokingham Road”. So that was it…I simply wasn’t pronouncing ‘Wokingham’ correctly! Of course, I then tried asking for ‘Wodgingham’… it didn’t work.
Satnavs — brilliant most of the time. To be absolutely fair, once again, this is an industry-wide issue: comparing notes with fellow journalists and owners in general, plenty of car drivers find voice command systems problematic.
Therefore, let’s judge Honda’s Jazz for what it is: a very competitive, stylish, versatile and enjoyable family car.
Important bottom lines: 74.8 mpg indicated on my drive. Wow! As it happens, apart from solely city driving, that’s for me the best return ever, since another Honda twenty years ago, the little two-seater Honda Insight. And the price of the Crosstar? £24,595. Outstanding value.
So, finally: 21 in a Jazz: true…all lithe young students from Lisbon’s ballet school. Out they came, one-by-one and two-by-two, until no-one could believe it…and then one more.
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
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