Recommended — Honda Jazz
"Recommended. The revamped Jazz is spacious, practical and now it's better to drive as well. The lack of a diesel option is disappointing though.
The previous Jazz was renowned for its spaciousness and practicality and this second-generation version is even better. It retains much of what made the previous version so popular, with its excellent folding seats and high roofline to provide the optimum use of space. There are a few subtle but useful modifications on this new car, the most obvious being an exterior restyle which has been designed to give the car a sportier look in the hope of attracting younger buyers.
It's got a slightly wider track and longer wheelbase which provides a bit more space in the roomy interior and the dash has been given a refresh to bring it up to date along with more upmarket instruments and a trip computer. However, although the interior is improved, it doesn't have quite the quality feel or style of, say, the Ford Fiesta.
In the rear Honda has kept the innovative rear seating arrangement from the previous model, although it's now easier to fold them down and the headrests no longer need to be removed. The boot features a clever double-trunk function in the 1.4-litre Jazz which allows it to be split into two compartments and, instead of a spare wheel, Honda has supplied a re-inflating gel canister which also saves on space.
Engines available on the Jazz are the 1.2 and 1.4 petrol units — there is no diesel option sadly — which have both had power upgrades to offer 90bhp and 100bhp respectively. Neither engine is particularly brisk — the 1.2 would perhaps feel sluggish with a full load — and both need to be revved to get the best out of them. You can expect decent fuel economy of over 50mpg on the combined cycle though.
Everything about the Jazz is easy to use and well thought out, both statically and on the road. It is an effortless car to drive, but now, thanks to some significant tweaks to the car's suspension, it is far more competent when cornering and feels solid at speed too. Ultimately though, this isn't a car that has been designed to throw around, and it shows; it is lacking the dynamism of others in its class.
It's a different breed of supermini to the Fiesta, Corsa and Seat Ibiza, being closer to a mini MPV design instead. So if you're after a car that offers lots of versatility and refinement, the Jazz will certainly please. The only small niggles against the new Jazz are that it is a little pricy compared to conventional superminis and it really could benefit from the option of a diesel engine."