The Honda Jazz e:HEV, a lot more car than you bargained for.
It continues to deliver unmatched utility and versatility two decades after the first model went on sale in the UK.
The Jazz is like a transport Tardis, thanks to its nifty Magic Seats, which can hold three passengers in the back and fold entirely flat to transform the vehicle into a van-type carrier. Any competitors can’t do that in this segment.
From about £19,000 to £24,600, the new Mk4 version is available in five trim levels, three body styles, and a regular or slightly higher Crosstar body.
Because it’s built on the most recent platform and uses Honda’s very advanced petrol-electric self-charging powertrain, Honda wisely chose to build on the Mk3’s strengths rather than start from scratch.
Only the taller Jazz Crosstar model deviates from the original design; otherwise, they are identical.
With the most up-to-date safety features, such as those that warn drivers about dangers around them and monitor speed limits and driver fatigue, they’re also equipped with entertainment technologies like Bluetooth, so the driver and passengers can unwind while driving.
As an example, our Jazz EX model came equipped with features like keyless entry, a rearview camera with reverse sensing, a heated leather steering wheel cover, 16-inch alloy wheels, and Garmin navigation with a 9-inch touchscreen in the centre console.
There is a self-charging electric motor for urban use and a 4-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine to assist when needed; the car’s movement recharges the traction battery, so no cables are required.
Combining these two features can result in a vehicle with a remarkable range, and drivers can increase the charging speed by selecting an additional Boost button on the CVT in addition to the eco-mode button. When using largely mixed-road driving with frequent recuperative power, we saw an overall fuel average of the mid-50s.
Electric parking brakes come equipped with a hill-hold function, so the Jazz immediately slowed under complete control even with light pressure on the foot.
There was little feedback from the power steering, but it had good turn-in, and there were no unwanted vibrations. We also enjoyed the wheel’s reach and rake adjustments, which are helpful if multiple people drive the car.
In addition to being well-marked and easy to use, the secondary controls located on the two-wheel spokes also performed well and were backed up by the twin column stalks for lights and wipers. Fortunately, Honda decided to arrange the climate settings such that they are all conveniently located below the central touchscreen. This makes making changes quick and easy.
There was good output, distribution, and temperature range with the system, and we appreciated the front seat and wheel rim heating incorporated on the climate control controls.
There were separate buttons for phone, navigation, and other features on the Apple and Android compatible infotainment system’s large 9-inch touchscreen, making it simple to select them. Distractions have been minimised, and this should serve as a lesson to other automakers that try to cram all they can into a single touchscreen that requires a lot of manual labour to use.
There was plenty of space for a family’s belongings in the trunk with plenty of storage areas, including under the load bed floor. Those Magic Seats would come in handy for gardeners who’ve had to transport plants from nurseries to their homes, and there would be room left over if the load bed floor could be extended to accommodate bags of compost or wood chips.
The electric motor assists the Jazz’s tiny engine size and tuning, and it provides adequate acceleration that isn’t jaw-dropping, but it nevertheless manages to keep up with traffic on the highway. There’s a lot of road noise and suspension bump-thump, but you can also hear an enthusiastic engine sound, as well as a whirling transmission when it’s under stress.
But the Jazz’s handling was surefooted and safe, despite the fact that pitching and dipping occurred during hard braking or rapid acceleration, just a minor degree of body roll was present. In most cases, the suspension absorbed the bumps without jarring the occupants.
When driving on the highway or in town, the tight turning circle, reverse camera, and sensors allow for precise parking. When it came to the outside, the roof pillars were thin and the windows large.
When it comes to utility, the Honda Jazz excels in all areas. Its seating and cargo room versatility is unmatched, its performance is adequate, and the vehicle’s sitting comfort is superior in every way.
The interior’s plastic finish may have been justified by its practicality, which I believe lets it down but also explains why it’s such good value.
For: Immensely practical interior, excellent seats and controls, comfortable, economical, excellent visibility, easy driving, self-charging hybrid
Against: Modest performance, noisy when stretched with background road rumbles, lots of plastic trim.
Robin contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.
Robin is the longest serving chairman of The Western Group of Motoring Writers. He specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes WheelsWithinWales.uk which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.
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