The Honda Jazz has been with us for more than 20 years now and the current, fourth-generation car ushered in the most comprehensive update the model has ever had. On top of a hefty interior overhaul, new, eye-catching styling and a host of premium safety equipment, it also received the de rigueur compact SUV treatment.
This was for the Crosstar variant, which sits alongside the standard hatchback. The Honda Jazz Crosstar is 31mm wider and 46mm longer and its ride height has been raised by 37mm. It also has off-road styling details, such as black wheel arches, roof rails, body cladding and a bespoke front grille design.
The Jazz hatchback and Crosstar share one drivetrain option. It’s an economical hybrid unit, consisting of a 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, two electric motors, a lithium ion battery and a continuously variable transmission. Total outputs are 97bhp and 187lb ft, for a 0-62mph time of 9.6sec.
It’s a decent system, with inspiration claimed to have been drawn from Honda’s Formula 1 hybrid power unit programme. Although you won’t quite be hitting the same speeds as Verstappen & Co, the Jazz’s use of electric motors is effective, helping to provide a sharp throttle response and strong initial acceleration, with a smartly calibrated system to automatically adjust between petrol and electric driving modes. It’s ideal for low-key electric motoring in city environments.
Economy is also up there at the top of the class. The hatchback is able to achieve a claimed combined economy of 62.8mpg and the Crosstar is rated at 58.9mpg.
Meanwhile, standard equipment is equally impressive in the four specifications offered from the model’s 2020 launch. SE opens the range with a level of equipment that puts some larger, more premium cars to shame. Standard kit includes automatic lights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, climate control and electric door mirrors.
All cars come with a suite of safety features as standard, too, including forward collision warning, lane keeping assistance and cross-traffic monitoring.
SR spec is our pick of the range, thanks to its modest price and the added creature comforts you will make use of every day. These include a better infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay, leather-embellished seats as part of the plusher interior trim, front and rear parking sensors and 15in alloy wheels.
To up the ante further, look to the EX model. This adds keyless entry, a heated leather steering wheel, blindspot monitoring, heated seats, a reversing camera and a premium 9.0in Honda Connect infotainment system with sat-nav. Crosstar models have similar kit to EX but gain a premium 376W audio system, water repellent upholstery (for the lifestyle, obviously…) and an optional two-tone roof.
Later, an EX Style model arrived with a contrasting black roof, 16in alloy wheels, a rear-view camera and blindspot monitoring, but it’s not a spec we would seriously consider due to its expense. You could get a well-specced Volkswagen Golf for similar money. But an SR Jazz really does add up as a practical, well-equipped and frugal urbanite.
Need to know
Prices started from £18,890 when it was new in 2020, a figure that has now risen to £19,910 for the hatch and £24,170 for the Crosstar. Used, entry-level cars can be picked up from £14,000. We even found an EX model for £16,250. Expect to pay a significant premium for a Crosstar.
The Jazz achieved an excellent five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. It netted good scores across the board – including 87% for adult occupancy, 83% for child occupancy and 80% for pedestrian safety – thanks to its suite of standard-fit safety systems.
The model has long been a reliable car. This latest iteration has not yet featured in a What Car? Reliability Survey, but the previous model finished consistently in the upper quartile. Honda itself came 14th out of 30 brands in the 2021 survey with a score of 94.2%.
Urban decay: Because the Jazz is typically used mainly in the city or other urban environments, look out for body scuffs and scrapes, along with kerb damage on the wheels.
Pull out all the stops: Its braking performance in damp conditions isn’t quite as good as some rivals’, our road testers found, possibly due to the low resistance Yokohama BluEarth tyres fitted from new for improved economy. It’s something to bear in mind rather than worry about.
Jazz: The standard hatch is slightly more frugal than the Crosstar and premium kit is available at a more reasonable price.
Jazz Crosstar: The Crosstar is pricier, but it’s also stylish, exclusive and the more adventurous-looking option. Just don’t expect any sort of off-road competency.
Our top spec
SR: SR is abundant on the used market and it has all the kit you need, plus some equipment you would not expect at such a competitive price.
Ones we found
2021 Honda Jazz SE, 225 miles, £14,500
2021 Honda Jazz SR, 2500 miles, £16,490
2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar EX, 7000 miles, £22,500