SOME cars you buy with your heart and some you buy with your head - and the Honda Jazz definitely falls into the latter category.
For nearly 20 years it has been a solid, sensible choice for those looking for a supermini that offers impressive space and practicality in a small car - boosted by the maker's reputation for reliability.
These characteristics remain at the heart of the Jazz's enduring appeal with the recently-launched fourth generation - but it now has another string to its bow which is likely to endear it further to those who take a more pragmatic view to motoring.
It is available in hybrid form only as Honda aims to ensure that all of its European mainstream models will feature electrified powertrains by 2022.
SE, SR and EX trim grades are available with the range-topper also offered for the first time in a higher-riding Crosstar variant with body cladding and roof rails aimed, Honda hopes, at a younger, more active audience who crave such fashionable SUV-style trappings.
Using knowledge gained from the development of the Japanese brand's Formula 1 Hybrid Power Unit, used by the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso teams in 2019, the hybrid system uses two compact electric motors connected to a 1.5-litre petrol engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The total output of 109ps can propel the Jazz from standstill to 62mph in 9.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 108mph.
Progress is smooth and relaxed rather than overly punchy due to the CVT but the extra boost from the electric motors ensures that there's enough grunt for short bursts of fast acceleration.
The result is a car that is straightforward to drive, despite the advanced technology being employed, and impressively comfortable and refined for the most part. There is some engine noise under sharp acceleration as the CVT does its work, but this is the case with all such transmissions and this one is far from the worst offender.
The hybrid switches seamlessly between electric and hybrid drive around town with the engine taking on more of the load at motorway speeds, enabling the Jazz to register fuel economy of more than 60 miles per gallon with carbon emissions from as low as 102g/km.
In common with most Hondas these days, you can also see just how economically and environmentally responsibly you're driving via dedicated displays in the driver instrument panel.
Interior space has always been the Jazz's real forte, with a design more reminiscent of a compact SUV than the usual hatchback style of the supermini class, and the fourth generation is no exception.
Despite being slightly lower than its predecessor, it is also a little longer and all the familiar clever packaging details are included, making this a hugely practical and family-friendly car for its relatively diminutive size.
Head and leg room is good throughout while an expansive glasshouse ensures the cabin has a light and spacious feel with plenty of storage cubbies for passengers' phones, wallets, purses, drinks, etc. - including an extra glovebox on top of the dashboard.
The boot offers 298 litres of capacity, while Honda's ‘magic seat' system means the rear seats can fold-flat, raising capacity to 1,199 litres, or flip-up, creating the flexibility and versatility to accommodate cargo of various shapes and sizes.
Equipment is good across the range and features alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, climate control, digital radio, cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist.
You have to step up to SR trim to get the user-friendly 9-inch touchscreen infotainment interface though, featuring Apple and Android smartphone connectivity, while the flagship EX car we drove also gets keyless entry and ignition, blind spot monitoring, navigation, a rearview camera and heated front seats and steering wheel.