By Patrick James on 2017-04-21 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Honda Jazz 1.3
i-VTEC EX Navi
HONDA'S top selling mini-MPV has more than a just a nod to the entertainment industry.
Not only music with the name Jazz, but the silver screen, with it's cinema stalls-like folding rear seats. You could also write a book about its practicality.
The latest version may be a supermini, but it does have all the practicality and space of an MPV.
Now in its third incarnation it looks better and more modern than ever, with bold angular lines, high beltline, raked windscreen and smart slim light clusters which form part of the the grille. This is in part to attract younger buyers. It is not cheap, but this is balanced by a more than decent package of kit.
For what appears to such a small car there is acres of space inside the comprehensively equipped interior, which also features Honda's cinema-like Magic Seats.
There are a number of trim options available with even the entry level offering plenty of kit, including digital radio, aircon, Bluetooth, start-stop system, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers.
You won't have to fret over engine options though, diesel lovers look away now, as the Jazz comes with a hard-working 1.3-litre non-turbo petrol engine, mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox tested here, or an automatic CVT gearshift.
The interior is the best yet with quality soft-touch materials with sturdy, logically placed controls and switchgears. It feels huge with plenty of head and legroom, large glass area to allow light to flood in and the large doors offer easy access and egress, which is a boon for older people or parents putting children into the car.
The centrepiece is a a seven-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash, featuring, depending on model, Honda's new app-driven in-car infotainment system, Honda Connect.
Honda says the Magic Seats system ensures the interior offers unmatched versatility as well as class-leading space, with a range of configurations for carrying cargo and passengers - a claim hard to argue with.
The system allows all sorts of various slide, fold and tumble combinations of the rears seats, including the cinema stall-like configuration where the rear squabs fold back to allow taller items to be stored behind the driver and front passenger seats.
This also opens up plenty of stowage space in the boot, with 354 litres with seats in situ, expanding to a huge 1,314 litres with seats folded.
The 102ps of power in the i-VTEC engine sounds like plenty for the type of car, but the engine has to be worked really hard. It revs sweetly enough and six-speed manual gearbox shifts smoothly and efficiently, but the revs have to kept high otherwise it can run out of steam on inclines, especially with a full complement of passengers and a load in the boot.
However it is more than capable of sitting comfortably at higher speeds on the motorway or just nipping around city street while delivering claimed economy of around 55mpg. It did seem thirstier. The ride is pleasant and handling surprisingly good. Honda says this is thanks to a more rigid and lighter chassis and re-engineered suspension specifically tuned for Europe.
It seems to work well enough and the car offers a pleasant drive.
Honda Jazz 1.3 i-VTEC EX Navi
Mechanical: 102ps, 1,318cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 11.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 55.4
Insurance Group: 13
C02 emissions: 120g/km
Bik rating: 21%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles
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