This is the latest version of the fourth generation Honda Jazz supermini. They've worked hard to make the Jazz look nicer (especially on the inside) and improve the efficiency while making sure it still appeals to its existing customers. Overall, we think they've done a rather splendid job.
This quarter the Honda Jazz range consists of just the ‘Advance’ trim at £1899, down from £2099 (section updated October 2023).
This Jazz supermini was the first car in Honda's current line-up to go hybrid-only - now almost the entire line-up has. The brand's i-MMD full-hybrid system, first seen on the CR-V, has been more compactly packaged for this installation - and usefully improved as part of this mid-term update. The designers have worked hard to ensure that this clever drivetrain doesn't impinge upon the flexibility of the equally clever 'Magic seat' interior design package; the thing that has given previous generation versions of this model a supermini-sized car with much of the greater practicality of a larger family hatchback.
Honda's challenge is to shift the Jazz buying demographic away from its usual typically older clientele; hence the addition of a slightly more dynamic 'Advance Sport' variant to the improved line-up. Let's take a closer look at what this MK4 Jazz can offer.
The Jazz comes only with one engine - the brand's e:HEV powertrain. This is a full-Hybrid unit - so properly electrified like a Toyota Yaris Hybrid, rather than being only mildly electrified like the MHEV unit you can have in a Ford Fiesta. The difference is important because a full-Hybrid can have far more reliance on battery power, especially in urban conditions. In this case, it's a revised 1.5-litre petrol unit now putting out 107PS which uses two electric motors and a compact lithium-ion battery pack.
That combustion engine sends drive through a clever fixed-gear auto transmission which Honda says has been revised to improve smoothness and driveability; it's certainly better than the belt-driven CVT set-up that Toyota uses in its Hybrids. Recent revisions to other parts of the car's clever e:HEV powertrain have seen efficiency, driveability and output increased. The electric drive motor has seen a 14PS increase, taking its total output to 122PS, while the generator motor has also seen an increase in power (8kW), taking it to a peak of 106PS.
Basically, as before, the whole system is a downsized version of the 2.0-litre electrified engine used in the CR-V Hybrid and as there, you get various drive settings. Most of the time at the wheel of this Honda you'll be in 'Hybrid Drive', which combines the engine and the battery pack in the most efficient way possible while recovering electricity from deceleration and storing it for future use. 'EV Drive' forces the Jazz to run in electric-only mode (though it can only do that for very short distances). And the 'Engine Drive' setting combines the petrol engine and the electric motor output for maximum performance. In this mode, the e:HEV powertrain gives the Jazz a 0-62mph time of 9.4 seconds and a maximum speed of 108mph. If you're interested in those figures, you'll probably be interested in the top 'Advance Sport' grade, which Honda has tried to make a little more dynamic. To that end on that variant, there are changes to the suspension set-up and stiffer dampers for a more focused drive. Across the range, you can now tow in your Jazz - up to half a tonne.
This facelift sees the Jazz looking a bit more confident thanks to a revised front grille design, a darker headlight inset and more sculpted bumpers. Otherwise, it's as you were, which means the shape is still distinctively Jazz - and still pretty compact, measuring in at about 4-metres in length. At the front, the split A-pillars are designed to improve forward visibility and there are horizontal tail light units.
Fewer updates feature in the clean, minimalist cabin, apart from revisions to colour, material and finish choices. As before, it certainly still feels very spacious when you take a seat behind the wheel, with plenty of head and elbow room. A mini-MPV feel is much in evidence here - the high seating position, the panoramic windscreen and the A-pillar quarter lights, which give an exceptionally wide front three-quarter view. That's also aided by the slim, low-set instrument panel, which features a thin-rimmed two-spoke steering wheel borrowed from the smaller Honda e. Through this, you view a somewhat low-resolution 7-inch TFT screen offering a wide range of information that can initially look somewhat randomly displayed until you figure out what everything is and why it's there.
Everything else you'll need to know can be found on the centre-stack display, which will be a 9-inch 'Honda CONNECT' touchscreen provided you've avoided entry-level trim. This includes 'Apple CarPlay'/'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring and voice control via a 'Honda Personal Assistant', which offers the potential for instruction-based conversations. The seat design is supportive thanks to 30mm of extra padding. And there's plenty of space to store things thanks to neat touches like this double glovebox design.
Perhaps the best news though, is that Honda's clever 'Magic Seat' design remains in the rear, giving owners the option of either folding the rear bench flat or flipping up the seat bases to create a taller load space. Boot capacity is 298-litres with the rear seat in place - or 1,203-litres with it folded.
Across the Jazz range, standard features include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and automatic headlights, plus there's 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. Black paint will be the default cost-free option while six other paint shades are also available. The SUV-themed Crosstar version is exclusively available in two-tone combinations with a gloss-black roof.
Infotainment and connectivity benefit from a much improved voice command system, the Honda 'Personal Assistant', first seen on the little Honda e. This is basically a next-generation voice control system in that it can respond to multiple commands: for instance "OK Honda, find me an Indian restaurant with WiFi and free parking". The set-up would then display suitable options on the fascia's central touchscreen before plotting a route to the chosen destination. With this car, Honda is also offering the latest version of its Honda+ smartphone app, which includes remote vehicle locking and unlocking, plus 'intelligent geofencing', which alerts an owner if the vehicle breaches a pre-set 'geofence' zone. Plus there's the ability to send journey information from the app to the car's navigation system.
You'd hope that with all that hybrid technology on board, this Jazz would be a frugal thing and, by and large, it is. The standard model has claimed WLTP-rated combined cycle economy and emissions figures of 62.8mpg and 102g/km.
Honda does things differently - and we can't help liking that. Whether the model in question is a standard Civic or a Type R hot hatch, you'll find that it's been uniquely engineered and packaged - as is the case with this Jazz. This always used to be the supermini that motoring experts would recommend as the small car they'd buy with their own money. For many, it still will be.
Despite this MK4 model's fresh hybrid tech, the packaging of this design remains difficult to beat. Yes, rivals have become classier, more dynamic and more up-market. Whether they're also better where it really matters though, is quite another question. For its loyal, dedicated band of Motability drivers, this Jazz always will be. Try one and you'll understand.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new Honda Jazz through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local Honda dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.
This month, these Honda Jazz models can be ordered through the Motability Scheme: