The Honda Jazz is best known for three things; its practicality, its reliability and (if we are being honest), its appeal to those with many years of wisdom. It’s true, Jazz buyers are a loyal bunch, and this latest fourth-generation model, even with its hybrid powertrain setup and more modern interior, has been a treat.
What he may not be best known for is his style. Nevertheless, the firm is looking to change that with a new “EX Style” model. But is this a wise design choice or are there better alternatives?
Honda’s latest generation Jazz arrived in 2020 and was notably the brand’s first model to be offered purely as a hybrid, ahead of the CR-V and the new Civic.
But there are no under-the-hood changes here, rather changes to the Jazz’s appearance. Based on the range-topping Jazz EX, this Style version brings a number of design differences including the black painted roof, extended black styling kit and bespoke set of 16-inch alloy wheels.
All current-generation Jazz trims come with a new hybrid powertrain. Known as the “e:HEV”, it uses a 1.5-liter VTEC gasoline 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 transmission sending power to the front wheels.
Climbing to 60 mph takes 9.3 seconds, with the Jazz able to reach a top speed of 109 mph. However, it’s the Jazz’s efficiency that’s likely to be more appealing, and it does pretty well in that department. Honda claims 61.4mpg – a figure we saw fairly consistently on our mixed road test – with low CO2 emissions of 105g/km.
The Jazz’s powertrain setup impresses with the amount of time it runs on electricity, especially around town where it can run the majority of the time on battery power. The battery also recharges quickly while driving, especially with regenerative braking mode “B” selected in the gearbox. It can be quite noisy if you want to put your foot down, however, with the gearbox apparently struggling to know what to do with the power.
But driven more calmly, it really shines, being vastly refined (even at higher speeds), while the supple suspension makes the Jazz a very comfortable way to get around. That said, we were still impressed with how it handled if driven more enthusiastically. Visibility is also superb, with lots of glass and slim A-pillars giving you a clear view of the road ahead.
Although Honda has injected a little more flair into this latest Jazz, with funky new LED lights and an almost slicked-back look, it’s not the most dynamic choice in this class.
However, this EX Style trim helps solve that problem and certainly gives it a sportier look than you would expect from a Honda Jazz. 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 moldings on the bottom of the doors and a new set of 16-inch alloy wheels help set it apart from the rest of the Jazz lineup, but make no mistake, no one will mistake it for a hot hatch.
The latest Jazz interior is a real step up from its predecessor, and while it’s not exactly premium, everything has a particularly solid feel. The new nine-inch touchscreen is a big improvement over the old Garmin system that Honda used before. It is easy to use and also contains many features.
But where the Jazz really impresses is when it comes to space. It’s a supermini with an almost MPV-like feel inside, especially in the rear seats, where adults can sit comfortably behind taller adults up front. The rear seats also have a party trick, as they fold down like theater chairs, meaning taller items can travel safely in the rear floor. It also allows the rear seats to fold completely flat, freeing up 1,205 liters of space.
All Jazz models get a decent level of equipment, particularly on the safety side, as LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist are all included, the SE trim of entry-level costing from £20,860.
EX Style, however, sits right at the top of the line and is packed with features. Using the EX as its base – which is priced at £24,015 – it features keyless entry, a reversing camera and a nine-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Prices go up by £2,835 if you want that EX Style trim, and that’s a lot of money for very little extra. Ferrari might be able to charge that kind of money for some different alloys and a black roof, but that seems pretty steep on a Honda supermini.
The Honda Jazz is one of the most complete “sensitive” small cars on the market. It’s easily the most practical model in its segment, while its blend of comfort and impressive hybrid efficiency makes it easy to see the appeal.
But that EX styling isn’t the go-to version, mostly because of how much Honda charges for just 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.