800 miles in the Honda Jazz Crosstar
Yes, you read that right, 800 miles in a week, in the Jazz Crosstar. Admittedly, that was one of my busiest weeks to date as a freelancer, but it’s safe to say I had a comprehensive understanding of the Honda Jazz Crosstar by the end of it, after spending many hours sat in the driver’s seat.
Now, let’s get one thing out the way first – this is by no means a Gran Tourer or ‘GT’ car. Nor is it particularly well-suited to long-distance travel (compared to other vehicles from Honda’s fleet, such as the Civic or CR-V) however, it coped remarkably well all things considered, and I had a strange admiration for the adaptability of the Jazz by the end of my week with it.
Thinking about it, both times I’ve had the new Jazz on test (I the standard version earlier in 2020) I’ve covered some serious mileage with them, and they both did very well indeed, which is testament to the usability of these cars.
Since the Jazz Crosstar is based on the same underpinnings as the standard version (and has the same engine/transmission combination) I won’t repeat myself going through those details; however, there are several features and quirks of the Crosstar that mean I actually preferred it to the standard variant, as I’ll now explain.
For one, there’s the styling. While there’s no doubt the standard new Jazz looks ‘fresher’ in terms of design, the exterior styling just doesn’t do it for me – the front grille being recessed reminds me of the Emu puppet that was part of children’s TV back in the last century, yet the Jazz looks surprisingly normal elsewhere.
The ride also felt better in the Crosstar than that of the standard version, though admittedly this may just be down to the sheer number of motorway miles I covered, rather than the 30mm raise in the ride height.
Read my recent review of the Honda Jazz
Speaking of the number of miles I spent in the Crosstar, there was one vital upgrade it had over the standard variant – the upgraded 8-speaker premium stereo system. While it certainly won’t make the most stringent audiophiles leap with joy, it significantly improved the standard Jazz’s offering. It made a marked difference to the enjoyment of my journeys.
The driving position and interior are also much the same as the regular Jazz, save for the wipe-clean seating material in the Crosstar – perfect if you’re the outdoorsy type that loves plugging away in rivers/marshes/bogs in your waders, and of course the slightly higher driving position thanks to the raised ride height.
Sadly, the overly loud CVT gearbox does pierce the aforementioned quality audio. At the same time, the lacklustre performance made itself known on steep hills. Still, without the benefit of the excellent fuel economy figures seen in the standard Jazz, with the Crosstar returning closer to the 50mpg mark – very good by any standards, but some way off the excellent figures I enjoyed in the regular Jazz.
So, overall, is the Crosstar worth the premium over the standard Jazz? Well, if its sheer practicality, wallet-friendly running costs and excellent safety systems you’re after, I’d say no. However, if you’re the sort of person that regularly gets their cars muddy, likes a higher driving position, or wants better audio quality on long journeys, the additional £1250 over the standard EX Jazz (including metallic paint) seems very worth it indeed.
The Honda Jazz Crosstar was never meant to be a GT car, but, in a pinch, it works surprisingly well as one – a true testament to the versatility of Honda’s engineering.
Car reviewed: Honda Jazz Crosstar EX, on the road price £22,635 with options as tested £23,585 0-62mph 9.9secs Top speed 107mph Engine 1.5-litre i-VTEC 4 cylinder unleaded Fuel Economy Combined 58.9mpg CO2 emissions Combined 110g/km Max Power 97PS@5500-6400rpm Motor 109PS Torque 131Nm@4500-5000rpm Motor 253Nm Transmission (CVT) Continuous variable transmission
Kieran Bicknell offers his fresh take on car reviews by making the most of his dynamic, yet detailed approach to writing. Having graduated from university with a BA (Hons) in Photography and spending a number of years as a freelance automotive photographer. Kieran is now putting his knowledge and writing skills to use, with the ability to supply both written articles and imagery. Kieran feels at home in anything from small superminis to the latest SUVs, and relishes the opportunity to drive, photograph and write about anything with four wheels.
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