Motoring and Property Editor
7:54 PM 17th May 2021
Honda Jazz – Lifestyle Crosstar Model On Test
Inexplicably, the Honda Jazz has tended to appeal to a more mature driver in the UK. It is not so in other countries where the model’s considerable virtues are appreciated by buyers of all ages.
Launched earlier this year is an all-new Jazz, with an intriguing Crosstar variant on offer for the first time. It is geared towards those with active lifestyles adding increased ride height, unique body styling and wheel designs, water resistant upholstery and integrated roof rails for the easy addition of accessories.
So, does this baby SUV have what it takes to compete? After a week behind the wheel, I now feel able to comment.
As we move towards greener forms of transport, Honda has chosen to fit just one hybrid powertrain to all new Jazz models.
Two electric motors are coupled to a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine. This is mated to a CVT (continuously variable transmission), which for the most part drives like a conventional automatic.
The system is stepped to try and replicate an automatic’s feel. All is well until full power is needed for say, a quick overtaking manoeuvre and then the engine makes its presence felt rather too vocally until the gearbox catches up.
Around town and at lower speeds, the Crosstar can run on electric power alone, assuming there is some juice in the lithium-ion battery. Regenerative braking helps to replenish that particular power source.
At faster speeds, the engine will turn on and off as it sees fit. It is quite imperceptible, with just an EV light turning on and off, the only indication of what is happening.
In everyday driving, the Jazz feels reasonably brisk, and this is undoubted aided by the 253Nm of torque produced by the electric motors.
Economy will impress. Even heavy-footed Harris recorded over 55mpg in mixed driving, close to the official 58.9mpg Honda quotes for the combined cycle. CO2 emissions are commendably low too at just 87g/km.
All this is achieved without having to plug the car in to a power source, ideal then for those without off-street parking.
The Jazz is quite softly sprung, the suspension soaking up most road imperfections quite well. Should you be in the mood to press on a little, the Jazz can be hustled along quite nicely. There is a tad more body roll than is ideal, but safe and secure is the order of the day.
There is a raft of safety equipment fitted to all Jazz models. It is active all the time. I found the ‘Lane Keeping’ systems far too aggressive in their operation, especially on the narrow country lanes that make up much of my everyday driving. I had to scroll through the menus to deactivate them every time I started the car.
The Honda Jazz interior has always been a packaging marvel, and this continues with the latest model. With the front seat set for my six foot plus frame, there was ample room for me to sit comfortably behind. Head room is generous too.
Honda’s ‘magic seats’ allows for the interior to be cleverly configured depending on the load to be carried and with all the seats folded away, the space on offer is around 1,200 litres.
The Crosstar is only available in top EX trim, priced at £23,445. The equipment count is suitably high, the only option fitted to the test car being the ‘Surf Blue’ paint finish at an additional £1,200.
If you are not convinced that the 30mm of raised height and body addenda of the Crosstar are worth the extra cost, a conventional Jazz can be on your driveway for £19,045 in SE trim or £22,245 for an EX.
Whichever Jazz model you do decide upon, Honda’s reputation for engineering excellence and reliability comes as standard.
An easy and undemanding car to live with, the new Jazz is set fair to please existing owners when they come to upgrade. Will the conquest sales follow too? Time will tell, but if you are in the market for a roomy, frugal and well-equipped small car, check out the Jazz before committing elsewhere. You will undoubtedly be glad you did.
Honda Jazz Crosstar EX
Price £23,445 (add £1,200 for metallic paint)
Jazz range from £19,045
0-62mph in 9.9 seconds
Top speed 107mph
Combined economy 58.9mpg
Emissions 87g/km CO2