Honda Jazz Review

Find out more about the Honda Jazz in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Strong build quality
  • Excellent levels of reliability
  • High residual value on used car market


  • Compact size does mean limited practicality levels
  • Early cars can offer a firm ride
  • Some drivers may not like car’s light steering

The Honda Jazz was first released in 2001, offering buyers a compact but well-built mode of transport. Even early cars were introduced with an economical range of engines, ensuring that the Jazz wasn’t just useful, but cheap to run too.

However, because it was marketed as a simple but fun to drive hatchback, entry-level Jazz cars – especially early examples – aren’t laden with equipment, instead offering a no-frills way of getting around.

The original car was updated in 2008, building on the previous-generation’s success with enhanced looks, as well as two economical petrol engines. Added to the package were a host of additional features, which means that if you’re a keen button-presser, then this generation is a better used purchase over the earlier model.

That generation was heavily refreshed in 2011, with a redesigned exterior and suspension tweaks bringing the Jazz up-to-date. A hybrid model was also introduced, giving an incredibly efficient option to buyers.

An all-new model was introduced in 2015, bringing with it better efficiency as well as increased interior space.

Latest model

As mentioned, the latest Jazz was introduced in 2015. With it came just one engine choice – a 1.3-litre VTEC petrol, available with either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox. It’s a very efficient unit, able to offer up to 56.5mpg combined, and emissions of 116g/km CO2.

Even base ‘S’ specification cars get cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and Honda’s clever ‘Magic Seats’ – this system allows the rear seats to fold down, allowing taller items to fit in the back easily. Top-spec cars get touches such as Honda’s connect infotainment system, as well as practical features like a rear view camera and front and rear parking sensors.

Moving forward from the original Jazz’s hard-wearing interior, the new car’s cockpit features more high-end materials designed to bring the compact car into line with rivals. However, an aspect from the original Jazz that does remain is its user-friendliness.

All of the interior switches and dials are within easy reach of the driver, making it simple to adjust the car’s settings. They’re also sturdily designed, and should hold up to all manner of daily abuse.

In all, the new Jazz is a well-rounded and smartly finished small car – albeit one that can’t entirely keep up with rivals in terms of dynamics.

Value for money


Prices for the new Honda Jazz start at £13,645, and for this you get a car in ‘S’ specification. Fitted with a 1.3-litre engine coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox, it comes with cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity a DAB digital radio. However, there are some attractive examples of the Jazz on the used market too.

For instance, a 2010 model Jazz, in ES trim with just under 23,500 miles on the clock costs around £5,850. It still comes with air conditioning, front electric windows and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

It’s a well-specced example for sure, but there are plenty others like it currently on the market. Ensuring that they are well-maintained is paramount, as well looked after examples will do better both in terms of longevity and also re-sale values.



Looks and image

There’s something that everyone knows but few people mention, and that is regarding the Jazz’s popularity with those people of an older generation. It’s understandable, the Jazz is easy to drive, easy to access and, because they’ve always been available with an automatic gearbox, easy to change gear in too. It could be why it’s not had as much success with a younger audience as other cars in the segment, too.

However, the Jazz remains a well-styled small car. As mentioned earlier, the latest model was introduced in 2015, meaning that used examples still remain limited in number. Quality remains the car’s trademark, as does reliability. It’s the latter that rings true of almost all current Honda cars.

Very early cars struggled with an overly firm ride, making it uncomfortable drive on longer journeys. However, this was address in 2003, so if you’re after a small car with a lot of ride comfort, then it’s best opting for a Jazz built after this date.

Video review

Space and practicality

Despite being a relatively small car, the Jazz is able to offer a huge amount of practicality. Space in the back is excellent, with passengers treated to plenty of head and knee room. In fact, the latest car can offer 115mm more legroom than the version it replaces.

Boot space is also impressive at 354 litres, though this can of course be extended thanks to rear seats which fold perfectly flat. It’s ideal if you usually carry around larger items, but don’t want the manoeuvrability issues that accompany larger cars.

The latest Jazz was also awarded five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, proving its impressively high levels of safety. It scored 93 per cent adult occupant safety, alongside 85 per cent for child occupant safety and 73 per cent for pedestrian safety. In short, the Jazz is a very safe little car, and therefore ideal for families.


Currently, the Honda Jazz is available with just a 1.3-litre engine that produces 101bhp and 123Nm. The latter figure is the most telling, with the low torque figure meaning that the Jazz doesn’t have quite as much punch as rivals. However, it is able to return excellent economy figures from as high as 61.4mpg, and emissions as low as 116g/km CO2.

A hybrid featured in the previous-generation line-up, and boasted fuel economy of up to 62mpg. However, only used examples of these are available now and they do command a premium. A 2014 model, with nearly 45,000 miles on the clock, retails for around £9,500 – not far off the price of a new Jazz. However, if you’re looking for a used car that’ll be low to tax, then this isn’t a bad choice.

Running costs

The Honda Jazz, through its series of incarnations, has remained very cheap to run and impressively good on fuel. New cars will achieve up to 61.4mpg, meaning that trips to the pump should be few and far between. You will see some differences in these figures according to varying wheel sizes and gearbox choices, but they all remain efficient. Every Jazz sits within insurance group 13, regardless of trim, too – this should mean that it isn’t too expensive for the average driver to get coverage for.

Things to look out for

Though the Honda Jazz is famed for its reliability, there have been a few hiccups throughout its life. The biggest issue came in 2011, when a recall was issued to rectify a problem that could cause the headlights to not illuminate correctly.

Another key recall was sent out in 2013, which addressed an issue that would see the passenger side airbag fail to deploy correctly. Ensure that any used car has had these problems fixed. A full service history is also preferable with the Jazz, as this will ensure that the car keeps running fault-free for many more years to come.


The Jazz has a fair amount of competition – and decent competition at that. There’s the popular Ford Fiesta, which certainly drives more keenly than the Honda. Also muscling in to this segment is the Mazda 2, offering a great drive and equally good economy. There’s also the Seat Ibiza and Nissan Note, to name two more. There’s a good variety of cars to choose form in this area, though the Jazz certainly makes itself a worthy contender given its high levels of reliability and quality.

Depreciation warning


The Jazz is a popular car, and as such it does well in terms of depreciation. When well maintained and serviced, these little cars tend to hold their value better than far more premium vehicles – especially higher-specification examples.

Owing to its all-around usability, the Jazz is a car that becomes a no less attractive purchase when a few miles are on the clock than when it’s just rolled out of the factory. Of course, Honda’s excellent reliability record plays a huge part in this, with used buyers confident that any car bought second hand is going to last for a while.

Trims explained

Thankfully, the Jazz specification list includes just five individual trim levels. We’ll take a look at them in detail to see just how they differ. All of the Jazz specifications give users a good amount of standard equipment, turning the compact Honda into a far more well-rounded car than you’d expect. It also represents a great purchase on the used market, and offers a low-cost but reliable way of getting around.


The first and base trim level is S. Priced from £13,645, it brings with it Bluetooth hands free connectivity, as well as cruise control and the previously mentioned ‘Magic Seats’. You also get a four-speaker sound system, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Manual air conditioning is also fitted as standard, as are front and rear electric windows.

It’s a good specification for a base-model car.


Up next is SE. This adds usable features such as front and rear parking sensors, as well as electrically adjustable door mirrors. In terms of safety systems, forward collision warning is now included, as is traffic sign recognition and lane departure warning. Rather than the 15-inch steel wheels fitted to the base car, you get 15-inch alloy wheels that help give the exterior of the car a more premium look. It also comes with Honda’s seven-inch touchscreen, though if you want satellite navigation you’ll have to upgrade to the higher-specification SE Navi.

The SE starts from £15,145, while the SE Navi is priced from £15,755.


Priced from £16,145, this is one of the highest trim levels available on the Jazz. Rather than four speakers, you now get six, providing a far more comprehensive sound. A leather steering wheel and gear stick are now included, along with automatic air conditioning and a rear view camera, making reversing the Jazz a little easier.

Some of the biggest changes have been applied to the exterior of the car, however, with privacy glass applied to the rear windows and 16-inch alloy wheels fitted. You also get front fog lights.

EX Navi

This benefits from all of the features fitted to the EX, but with the addition of Garmin satellite navigation.

It’s priced from £16,755, so does command a slight premium over the standard EX, but if you’re planning on doing frequent journeys in unfamiliar locations, then it’s a worthwhile expenditure.


  1. Excellent levels of reliability throughout range
  2. Used examples have a few niggles, but nothing too major
  3. Current line-up only has one petrol engine, used cars offer diesel and hybrid powertrains
  4. Even base-spec cars get air conditioning and power windows
  5. Clear range of specifications make it easy to pick the right car for you
  6. Premium edition cars get larger wheels, but this affects economy
  7. Cabin is hard-wearing, but uses some harder plastics as a result
  8. ‘Magic Seats’ make short work of larger items
  9. New model offer exceptionally good levels of interior space
  10. Early models suffered with a rather harsh ride

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