Honda Jazz EX

Honda Jazz, front
Honda Jazz, front
Honda Jazz, side
Honda Jazz, rear
Honda Jazz, interior
Honda Jazz, boot
Honda Jazz, rear
Honda Jazz, interior
Honda Jazz, front

FOR prospective new car buyers still not sure whether all-electric is the way forward for them Honda now offers a tempting alternative which has impressive green credentials.

And better still it's perfect for the budget conscious motorist because its economy is hard to beat.

The latest Honda Jazz is a hybrid, powered by a combination of a 1.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors in a self-charging system so never any need to plug in.

And while the Japanese car maker claims an average of just over 61 miles per gallon I was regularly getting more than 80mpg during many miles of motoring - peaking at a massive 86mpg with some very careful driving.

Such economy is only possible because the latest Jazz has been cleverly engineered to run on electric for such long periods of time, a factor easy to monitor thanks to the illuminating EV (electric vehicle) symbol which flashes on the dashboard.

In fact for most town and city work I found this trendy little car was in electric mode more often than not .

Get it on to the motorway or fast dual carriageway and everything changes as you feel the 1.5-litre petrol engine cut in far more often as you head towards the speed limit. The same thing applies when you put your right foot down hard and need full power.

But under normal 30-50 miles per hour driving petrol power is infrequent to say the least.

The first model in the current Jazz series took to the streets back in 2001 and proved to be one of Honda's best sellers with customers staying loyal and often going back for more as the little car evolved.

The current model is the fourth generation and is instantly recognisable as a Jazz but for the first time in the UK is available as a hybrid only.

But while some things have changed the numerous plus points of the first Jazz have thankfully been retained, like the "magic seats" in the rear.

These allow you to fold down or lift up various sections so you have multiple permutations, and if you fold everything completely flat you have the carrying capacity of a small van.

You can even fold up the rear seat squabs like a cinema seat allowing you to transport bulky items like furniture or a mountain bike across the width of the car.

And if the new model is spacious for luggage it's equally generous - for a compact city car - when it comes to leg room for rear seat passengers.

It's available in three trim levels - plus an SUV version - but if you splash out for the top-of-the-range EX spec model, as driven here, you get upmarket features like Honda Connect with Garmin Navigation on a nine-inch touch screen, a rear view camera, keyless entry and start, a blind spot monitor, cross traffic monitor and heated steering wheel and front seats. All of which help to make this an easy car to live with.

On the road this little hybrid is comfortably lively off the mark, has nicely weighted, positive steering and corners well thanks to a slightly more firm bias to its suspension.

It's one of those cars that's very easy to drive with no complications. In the cabin what you see is what you get. And that combined with very quiet motoring even when the engine cuts in makes for relaxed motoring.

FAST FACTS

Honda Jazz EX

Price: £21,385

Mechanical: 108bhp, 1,500cc, 4cyl petrol engine plus two electric motors driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 108mph

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 61.4

Insurance Group: 13

C02 emissions: 104g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles

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