THE words Jazz and Sport are not natural bedfellows.

Honda’s sub-compact hatchback is renowned for its practicality and reliability, but sporty it ain’t.

Introduced in 2001, it was targeted fairly and squarely at young families, but quickly became a favourite among senior drivers impressed by its price tag, robustness, ease of access and egress and those “magic” rear seats that could be dropped with ease to provide a comparatively large load space.

For 2018, the Jazz has had a makeover. It retains the classic Jazz silhouette but exhibits sporty styling upgrades, including a bold new “family face” and the addition of a new Sport grade.

The four-metre long Jazz still has an interior that offers unmatched versatility, with a range of configurations for carrying cargo and passengers, but there’s a touch more refinement and the addition of safety and infotainment technologies

The new Sport grade adds a thinner front splitter beneath the lower grille, and a triple-strake diffuser to the rear bumper – both finished with a sporty red accent line. Sport grade also includes LED headlights, front fog lamps, side sill skirts, a tailgate spoiler and gloss-black alloy wheels.

It's certainly the prettiest star in the Jazz line-up – particularly in the new Skyride Blue colour - but is it really sporty?

In short, the answer is no, despite it being mated to a 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol engine available for the first time. This engine produces 130PS and achieves fuel economy of 52.3mpg and CO2 emissions from 124g/km but accelerates at only a moderately fast pace from 0 to 62mph in 8.7 seconds (manual) and 10.0 seconds (CVT).

Higher-quality soft-touch materials are complemented by a seven-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash, featuring Honda’s infotainment system, Honda Connect.

The new Jazz is also available with the familiar 102 PS 1.3 litre i-VTEC unit, but at least customers now have the option of a more powerful engine.

With its long wheelbase, the Jazz is endowed with class-leading interior passenger space that is unrivalled in the segment.

Boot capacity is 354 litres with the rear seats in use and 897 litres with these seats down. Furthermore, those rear magic seats – which split 60/40 – can adopt numerous configurations across four modes.

Inside, the cabin gives all occupants a sense of airy spaciousness thanks to a large windscreen that meets the roof panel a long way rearward.

On Sport grade vehicles, the interior features a unique pinstripe pattern on the upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, all of which are enhanced by orange stitching.

Steering wheel-mounted controls enable the driver to switch between various information views on an LCD multi-information.

Standard equipment on the Jazz includes cruise control, automatic LED headlights and the city-brake active safety system. A standard five-inch LCD audio display in the centre of the dash helps occupants control radio, CD or music from personal devices through the 180-watt four-speaker audio system.

Upper grade models such as the Sport feature a rear-view safety camera, which offers three modes: normal view, wide view and top down view, with the image shown on the dashboard centre screen. The camera projects ‘dynamic guidelines’ that indicate the path that the car will take with the current steering angle.

The Sport also comes with Honda’s suite of active-safety technologies available as an option on the base model and fitted as standard on mid and upper grades. These include forward collision warning, traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed limiter, lane departure warning and automatic high beam.

In the final analysis, the Jazz Sport, is sprightly rather than sporty, pleasing rather than exhilarating. And that’s probably what Honda set out for it to be.


Honda Jazz Sport Navi

Price: £17,765

Engine: 1.5-litre petrol, producing 130PS

Transmission: Six-speed manual, driving front wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 8.7 seconds; top speed 118mph

Economy: 47.9mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 133g/km


Performance: ***

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ***

Space/Practicality: *****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****