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07 Oct 2022

UK Drive: The Honda Jazz EX Style adds more flair to this hybrid hatchback

UK Drive: The Honda Jazz EX Style adds more flair to this hybrid hatchback

What is it?

Honda’s Jazz is best known for three things; its practicality, reliability and (if we’re being honest), its appeal to those with plenty of years of wisdom. That’s right, Jazz buyers are a loyal bunch, and this latest fourth-generation model, even with its hybrid powertrain setup and more modern interior, has gone down a treat.

What it perhaps isn’t best known for is its style. Nevertheless, the firm is looking to change that with a new ‘EX Style’ model. But is this a design-savvy choice or are there better alternatives out there?

What’s new?

Honda’s latest generation Jazz arrived in 2020 and was notably the brand’s first model to be purely offered as a hybrid, ahead of the CR-V and new Civic.

But there are no changes under the bonnet here, rather just alterations to the way the Jazz looks. Based on the high-spec Jazz EX, this Style version brings a number of design differences, not least the painted black roof, extended black styling kit and bespoke set of 16-inch alloy wheels.

What’s under the bonnet?

All of the current-generation Jazz versions come with a new hybrid powertrain. Known as ‘e:HEV’, it uses a 1.5-litre VTEC petrol engine, two small electric motors and a battery. Combined, the setup produces 108bhp and a healthy 253Nm of torque, with a single-speed CVT automatic gearbox sending power to the front wheels.

Getting up to 60mph takes 9.3 seconds, with the Jazz able to hit a top speed of 109mph. However, it’s the Jazz’s efficiency that will likely be of greater interest, and it fares rather well in this department. Honda claims 61.4mpg – a figure we saw quite regularly on our mixed test drive – with low CO2 emissions of 105g/km.

What’s it like to drive?

The Jazz’s powertrain setup impresses with just how much time it spends running on electricity, particularly around town where it can run the majority of time on battery power. The battery also quickly replenishes its charge on the move, particularly with the ‘B’ regenerative braking mode selected in the gearbox. It can be quite noisy if you want to get your foot down, though, with the gearbox seemingly struggling to know what to do with the power.

But driven more sedately, it really shines, being largely refined (even at higher speeds), while the soft suspension makes the Jazz a very comfortable way of getting around. That said, we were still impressed with how it handled if driven more enthusiastically. Visibility is also superb, with plenty of glass and slim A-pillars giving you a great view of the road ahead.

How does it look?

Though Honda injected some extra flair into this latest Jazz, with funky new LED lights and an almost smoothed-off look, it’s not the most dynamic-looking choice in this class.

This EX Style trim does help to address that, however, and certainly makes it look sportier than you’d expect a Honda Jazz to. Our car’s Crystal Red Metallic paint combined with the standard black roof looked particularly good, while the black spoiler at the rear gives it a more purposeful look.

Gloss black side mouldings at the bottom of the doors and a new set of 16-inch alloy wheels help to set it off nicely from the rest of the Jazz range, though make no mistake, nobody will mistake it for a hot hatch.

What’s it like inside?

The latest Jazz interior is a real step up compared to its predecessor, and though not exactly premium, everything has a particularly solid feel. The new nine-inch touchscreen is a vast improvement over the old Garmin-sourced system that Honda previously used, and is easy to use and has plenty of features in it too.

But where the Jazz really impresses is when it comes to spaciousness. This is a supermini with an almost MPV-like feel inside, particularly in the rear seats, where adults can sit comfortably behind taller adults in the front. The rear seats also have a party trick, as they flip up like theatre chairs, meaning taller items can travel safely in the rear footwell. It also allows the back seats to fold completely flat, freeing up 1,205 litres of space.

What’s the spec like?

All Jazz models get a decent level of equipment, particularly on the safety side of things as LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist are all included, with the entry-level SE trim costing from £20,860.

EX Style, however, sits right at the top of the range and is brimmed with features. Using the EX as its base – which is priced from £24,015 – it features include keyless entry, a reversing camera and nine-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Prices rise by £2,835 if you want this EX Style trim, though, and that’s a lot of money for very little extra. Ferrari might be able to charge that sort of money for some different alloys and a black roof, but it feels rather steep on a Honda supermini.

Verdict

The Honda Jazz is one of the most well-rounded ‘sensible’ small cars on the market. It’s easily the most practical model in its segment, while its mixture of comfort and impressive hybrid efficiency makes it easy to see the appeal.

But this EX Style is not the version to go for, primarily because of how much Honda charges for only a few more cosmetic changes. Stick with a regular Honda Jazz EX, or if looks are important, there are more design-savvy choices like the Mini or Peugeot 208.

  • Model: Honda Jazz
  • Price: £20,860
  • Model as tested: Honda Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid EX Style
  • Price as tested: £26,850
  • Engine: 1.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid
  • Power: 106bhp
  • Torque: 253Nm
  • 0-60mph: 9.3 seconds
  • Top speed: 109mph
  • Economy: 61.4mpg
  • Emissions: 105g/km CO2

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