Honda Jazz (2015 -) Driving & Performance

Review by Adam Binnie on
Last Updated: 10 May 2016
4.5
The Honda Jazz has been around since 2002 during which time it has shifted more than 300,000 of them in the UK and won 70 European awards. It is quite a big deal, and one of Honda’s most important cars.

4 out of 5

Performance

From launch the Jazz has one engine, a 1.3-litre, naturally aspirated petrol. With 101bhp and 61.4mpg on offer, it has the power of the old 1.4-litre with the economy figures of the 1.2-litre.

It achieves this by using a mixture of Atkinson and Otto cycles – a fancy way of saying it sips fuel when not being taxed and boosts performance when you need it.

It has decent pulling power with 123Nm of torque on offer, and 0-62mph comes in 11.2 seconds with a manual box. In the real world this means Honda Jazz performance is strong and never feels underpowered. High revs are accompanied by a growling note from under the bonnet but when up to speed it’s very quiet.

Two gearboxes

The five-speed manual gearbox has been replaced by a six speed and acceleration has been improved by making the first five ratios closer together. A shorter and lighter throw on the gearshift makes it easier to use and in this format the Jazz promises 116 g/km of CO2 and 56.4mpg.

The optional CVT automatic has been retuned for better fuel economy and driveability – in short, making it feel more like a manual box. It is the more efficient choice, offering 106g/km of CO2 and 61.4mpg.

Planting your foot into the carpet results in an increase in revs but not much else, as this box reacts better to more measured inputs. As long as you’re not in a rush, it’s an easy thing to use. You can also select a manual mode and choose between simulated ratios with steering wheel mounted paddles.

Parkers recommends

If you need the automatic then the CVT is not a bad one, but we’d pick the manual due to its superb gearshift action, ease of use, and improved acceleration.

4 out of 5

Handling

Changes to the suspension, dampers and power steering have resulted in a car that is both composed and cosseting. A lighter and stiffer body means Honda has been able to tune it more specifically for European roads.

As a result the Jazz is more fun to drive than its tall sides would suggest. It’s no Ford Fiesta but offers plenty of grip and controls body roll well in a series of corners, while a faster steering ratio results in a more agile and responsive feel.

To help keep things pointed in the right direction Honda has employed an Agile Handling Assist system which can apply the brakes to the inner wheel in order to improve stability and cornering response in a bend too.