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Magic seats and all that jazz: Honda's supermini is best package yet

 

The Honda Jazz is as a versatile supermini as you'll find, and the latest versions are the best-equipped to date.

What is it?

It's Honda's supermini, is what it is. It's the smallest car in Honda's UK range but that doesn't mean it's a citycar. The Jazz has five doors and its cabin is roomy, versatile and practical.

It's also one of the best superminis when it comes to interior space. Plus, the much-loved Magic Seats feature has been retained from the previous generation. More on that later.

The Jazz stands up well in all departments against rivals like the Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia, Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio and Toyota Yaris.

It's got a decent pedigree, having been around on these shores since 2001 (it's known as the Honda Fit in some markets).

The second generation came along in 2007, with third iteration landing in forecourts in 2013. The latest car arrived in the UK last year so it's got all of Honda's modern features.

It's likely that Honda will unveil a new Jazz at the Toyko Motor Show later this year, however it could be up to a year or more before the full range makes it to the UK.

What does it look like?

The Jazz has the latest Honda family style, incorporating the 'Solid Wing Face' headlight signature and grille. The front bumper is sharply sculpted, with more aggressive contours around the air vents.

At the rear, shallower grille sections are linked by a gloss black trim strip above a trapezoid lower section. Updates to the exterior over the previous model are rounded off by the addition of metallic Skyride Blue as a new colour option.

New to the latest-generation line-up is the Jazz Sport which is based on the SE grade and features a thinner front splitter beneath the lower grille, and triple-strake diffuser to the rear bumper - both finished with a sporty red accent line similar to the Civic Type R.

There's also LED headlights, front fog lamps, side sill skirts, a tailgate spoiler and gloss-black 16" alloy wheels.

What's it like inside?

The cabin is a nice place to be, with a contemporary layout and good levels of comfort.

One of the key features of the Jazz is its versatility. This includes of storage and practical bits and pieces like lots of cubbyholes and cup/water bottle holders.

Boot space very good at 354 litres (up to 897 litres with the rear seats folded down) and passenger space amongst the best in the class.

The highly practical and much admired 60:40-split Magic Seat system has been carried over from the previous generation car. This allows for numerous cargo configurations, with a maximum interior loading length of 2,480mm in long mode and maximum loading height of 1,280mm in tall mode.

Tall mode, brilliant for carrying things like garden plants upright, is accessed by folding up parts of the rear seats. Magic!

The interior of the Jazz Sport gets a bit snazzier, featuring a unique pinstripe pattern on the upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, all of which are enhanced by orange stitching.

What's under the bonnet?

Most trims have one engine, a 1.3 i-VTEC petrol unit with 102PS. It's no show-stopper, but it does offer low fuel consumption, and complies with stringent Euro 6 emissions standards.

Official fuel economy is up to 52.3mpg and CO2 emissions are from 116g/km. Transmission comes in two forms, six-speed manual and auto CVT.

CVT is a form of shiftless automatic transmission which can be very efficient but isn't everyone's cup of tea. If it's not yours, go for the perfectly good manual gearbox.

As well as being sharper looking, the Sport trim model is quicker out of the blocks, too, thanks to its 1.5-litre powerplant. Whilst faster and prettier than the other models, Sport is a trim level, not a hot hatch in its own right.

Safety, tech and trim levels

Standard equipment in entry-level S trim (priced from £14,760) includes cruise control, automatic dusk-sensing headlights and the City-Brake Active safety system.

The mid-grade SE trim (from £16,260), adds front and rear parking sensors, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors and 15" alloy wheels.

Top-grade EX trim (from £17,760) gains extras like smart entry and start, automatic climate control and reversing camera. Styling is enhanced with 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps, while LED headlights are now standard addition on the EX.

Other goodies available at higher grades include a 7-inch Honda Connect infotainment system, keyless entry and start, as well as advanced safety technologies such as Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Who would want one?

Thanks to its practicality, versatility and roomy supermini cabin, the Jazz should be a popular choice amongst singles, couples and smaller families. Honda's reputation for reliability is a big plus factor, too.

Thanks to these qualities, the Jazz has grown a loyal following, and each revision had left behind a better car each time. If you're shopping in the supermini segment, it's definitely worth a try.

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