By Mike Torpey on 2023-09-04 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Honda Jazz 1.5
WHEN it comes to seriously smart thinking in a small car package the Honda Jazz has set the bar pretty much since its UK arrival more than two decades ago.
But for fans of the popular supermini who hanker for something a little more rugged, or SUV-like, then the Crosstar variant of the Jazz brings some appealing design touches.
Now into its fourth generation the Jazz line-up was refreshed earlier this year, all models being treated to a more premium interior with extra kit, and the Crosstar gaining extra features like water-resistant fabrics, redesigned side skirts, a honeycomb grille and roof rails.
The Crosstar is fractionally longer, wider and taller than the standard Jazz and also comes in an exclusive and rather attractive pale blue Fjord Mist paint colour on the Advance trim grade featured on our tested model.
And when it comes to practicality there's nothing out there to beat it. Passenger space, both front and back, is exceptional for car of this size.
For instance there's a genuine airy feeling in the back where two adults can really stretch out, with head and shoulder room to spare.
And while things get a bit tighter for a centre rear passenger, whose perch is slightly raised, there is nonetheless a clear, flat floor - meaning somewhere open to put your feet.
Best of all though are what Honda calls its ‘magic seats', which are hinged and fold fully flat to provide a vast load area. And while those seats split/fold 60-40 like in most cars they add extra versatility by also flipping up cinema-style to create a handy vertical space.
Otherwise, buyers are treated to a clean, uncluttered cabin with simple, straightforward dials and switches plus a nine-inch horizontal touchscreen incorporating features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Useful stowage spots include five cup or bottle holders up front plus two more in rear, a deep central container, a traditional glovebox with a second flip-up lidded box above it, a tray ahead of the auto gearshift, while a pair of dash-mounted cup holders - one at each end - can double as oddment wells.
All Jazz variants are now hybrids and the e-HEV system comprises two lightweight electric motors connected to a 1.5-litre petrol engine.
The e-HEV set-up features three drive modes - EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive - the system switching between EV and Hybrid in most urban areas and Engine Drive for fast roads and motorways.
It may not be the swiftest small car on the road, as its pick-up time of 0-60mph in 9.7 seconds underlines, but the Jazz is engaging and smooth to drive though the engine can feel a bit revvy under strong acceleration.
And tap that leafy ECON button for maximum efficiency and you should get very close to the official fuel consumption figure of 58.9 miles per gallon, a target we matched exactly over 200 miles of mixed urban and motorway driving.
While the standard specification of the Jazz is comprehensive anyway with the likes of automatic lights and wipers, a four-speaker sound system, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors and a full suite of safety kit included, the Advance trim of our tested Crosstar model added stuff like a start/stop button, keyless entry, roof rails, sat nav, water-resistant fabrics and plastic wheel arches.
Honda Jazz 1.5 Crosstar Advance
Mechanical:122ps, 1,498cc four-cylinder petrol engine plus two electric motors driving ffront wheels via eCVT auto transmission
0-62mph: 9.7 seconds
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