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First Drive

First Drive: Honda Jazz

The story:
Honda has given a mid-life revision to its Jazz supermini, with a new 1.5-litre engine option, exterior updates and a new trim level.
Key rival:Ford Fiesta
Honda Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC 130 Sport Nav
On sale:Now

The Honda Jazz has a degree of popularity with public sector fleets in particular.

Indeed, it placed fifth overall in terms of recorded fleet purchases in the supermini sector last year, behind only the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Vauxhall Corsa and Citroen C3, and ahead of the likes of the Renault Clio, Mini hatch and Skoda Fabia. Honda Jazz - 2018 - Image 1So the mid-life revamp, which comprises a smarter new look and new engine, is an interesting one for the company car sector.

The new engine is a 1.5-litre 130hp petrol, complimenting the 102hp 1.3 that was previously the only option, and coming with a manual gearbox or an automatic.

Honda Jazz - 2018 - Image 23

Emissions aren’t particularly impressive at 133g/km for the manual and 124g/km for the CVT automatic, which compares with just 98g/km for a 125hp 1.0-litre Ford Fiesta or 107g/km for a 115hp VW Polo, both in manual form. But the flip-side is that the Jazz is cheaper than either, and also offers a residual value percentage into the 40s, something neither rival can offer.

The new engine only comes with Sport trim, which gets styling adornments including gloss black 16-inch alloy wheels, spoilers and front foglamps, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The revised styling gives a more appealing look to a car that’s not renowned for its cutting-edge appearance; the Jazz has always majored on its practicality and comfort, both of which remain intact. Refinement isn’t though the Jazz’s strongest suit, not helped by some high gearing that makes the car feel like it runs out of gears too quickly.

paul barker

The verdict

The new trim level gives the Jazz more visual appeal, but most rivals are still more efficient and more rewarding to drive. The Honda does though score for P11D value, practicality and the slightly higher driving position.