Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Crosstar EX CVT
cats have always been drawn
to Jazz. So, are you enough of a
hepcat to drive one of Hondas
The word 'jazz' dates back to 1860's slang meaning, among other things,
vitality, energy, spirit, and possessing panache. So, a zingy name for a supermini.
Honda's Jazz has been around in various forms since the Millennium and is now
in its fourth generation but in that time has built up a strong fanbase who
love it for its impressively versatile space and practicality but equally for
its total ease of driving. In tune with the times, it now comes powered by a
Before diving into its hybrid system we should mention that there's a choice
of two Jazz body styles alongside the SUV-esque Jazz Crosstar reviewed
here, and which is oriented toward those enjoying an active lifestyle, there's
also the standard Jazz Hatchback. Both now only come with Honda's hybrid powertrain
which consists of a 1.5-litre petrol engine partnered with two electric motors.
Crosstar gains a ride height raised by 30mm, 144mm of ground clearance (a hike
up on the standard Jazz's 105mm), black cladding around the wheel arches and
lower sill mouldings, water-resistant upholstery, and roof rails for the easy
addition of lifestyle accessories. It's also only available in top EX trim and
includes Crosstar-specific 16-inch alloy wheels and striking two-tone paintwork.
a choice of two
Jazz body styles
alongside the SUV-esque
Jazz Crosstar reviewed
here, and which is
oriented toward those
enjoying an active
lifestyle, theres also
the standard Jazz
Both now only come
with Hondas hybrid
powertrain: a 1.5-litre
petrol engine partnered
with two electric
The headline feature of the hybrid powertrain is that it's totally self-charging
No Plugging-in Required! It also runs in any of three interchangeable
driving modes. Of the three the first is Electric Drive, for pull-aways and
low speed motoring the Crosstar starts off using pure battery energy
(it powers the motor which drives the front wheels) so every trip sees you whisked
quietly on your way. Next there's Hybrid Drive: in this mode the petrol engine
and electric motor work in concert to deliver optimum power, especially when
accelerating or overtaking.
Third up is Engine Drive. To increase efficiency this activates during sustained
high-speed cruising when a clutch locks up the engine to the front wheels. Should
you need some extra oomph then the electric motor will join in with a 'boost'.
All very clever stuff and you don't even need to lift a finger the Jazz's
Intelligent Multi Mode Drive system manages it all for you, always engaging
the best mode for the circumstances.
For much of the time the petrol engine powers the combined electric motor/generator
that, in addition to providing the electricity to drive the Jazz also charges
the battery pack. Good too that the Jazz's ECO mode can be used without a performance
penalty. EV Drive is also engaged whenever the car is decelerating, harvesting
more energy through regenerative braking to top up the battery. All-in-all not
just smart but seamless in operation. The result is punchy in-town acceleration
and smooth stop-start motoring in traffic. On the open road the hybrid powertrain
rows you along seamlessly while eking out the fuel besting the official
Combined Cycle figure of 58.6mpg, our hard driven week's test average came out
One of the great benefits of driving a supermini on today's cluttered roads
is the compact footprint. The Crosstar scores well in this respect: its four-metre
length is fronted by a short bonnet and very slim, twin A-pillars with quarterlights
at the front doors' leading edges. Combined with the sweptback widescreen this
makes for brilliant forward vision from behind the wheel so placing and parking
is a real breeze.
these attributes, combined with a long flowing roofline and raising waistline,
camouflage its generous glasshouse while the well-considered crossover styling
cues further underscore the Crosstar's planted stance. For the record the Crosstar
ships in slightly larger than the standard hatchback version: by 46mm in length,
31mm side-to-side, and 30mm taller. The finishing touch is the two-tone paintwork
worn by Crosstar models our test model looked especially fit in it's
metallic Surf Blue and Crystal Black livery.
in and out is
quick n slick courtesy
of the Crosstar's
wide-opening doors and
If you have small
children youll also find
putting them into their
child seats to be far
easier than in most
And the waterproof
upholstery comes into
its own not just when
carrying your four-legged
best friend but also
Getting in and out is quick 'n' slick, courtesy of the Crosstar's increased
ride-height, wide-opening doors and higher-mounted seats. If you have small
children you'll also find putting them into their child seats to be far easier
than in most other cars. And the waterproof upholstery comes into its own not
just when carrying your four-legged best friend but also protecting against
Enjoying a fist-and-a-half of headroom, you sit commandingly tall in the shapely
front seats. Smartly upholstered in a two-tone waterproofed fabric, they add
a dash of pizzazz to the classy cabin; the backrests are nicely supportive and
there's plenty of personal space around each front seat, plus you get three-stage
seat heating as standard.
The upscale minimalist feel is further enhanced by high quality trim and finishings
including the tactile material cladding the dash. A free-standing nine-inch
central touchscreen proves to be the prefect size in an age of display overkill
and fronts Honda's Connect infotainment and navigation system.
There's also a first-rate TFT instrument cluster seen through the two-spoke
steering wheel that along with a large digital roadspeed figure (the posted
speed limit is shown where you'd expect it on the main screen's active mapping)
and the usual range info, all in perfectly legible white on blue, also shows
helpful navigation prompts. For many drivers the set of conventional climate
controls and non-slip knurled rotary knobs mounted just beneath the infotainment
display will be a welcome change from screen-tapping systems. A multifunction
wheel offers more remote controls to minimise distractions and keep you safely
'hands-on' while driving.
Being a hybrid there are graphics and feedback covering charging and battery
levels but all blend in with the more traditional driver information data such
as a large digitised roadspeed readout and relevant traffic sign information.
Display graphics are crisp and clear and the SatNav's spoken directions foolproof
and delivered in good time. Full postcode destination entry is appreciated as
too is the nice to use on-screen keyboard. All well-considered touches that
make the Jazz so easy to live with.
integration is handled adeptly by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
You'll also find decent real-life in-cabin storage along with the mandatory
cupholders in the Crosstar's case these are built into both ends of the
dash and are immensely practical and especially handy.
find Honda has doubled down on gloveboxes for the Jazz there are two.
Plus there's an armrest-capped deep bin between the front seats along with a
third cupholder, a tray ahead of the selector lever served by twin USB ports
(one fast charging), and bottle-holding door pockets.
confirm the Jazzs
nippiness: 62mph from
standstill flashes up in
a crisp 9.9 seconds;
flat out is beyond the
ton, at 107mph.
Certainly better that you
might be expecting from
a total system output
of 107bhp. Nevertheless,
the instant availability
of peak torque (a very
likeable characteristic of electric motors) means
its 186lb ft can
effortlessly be deployed
to maximum effect.
And it is the Jazz
simply zips along and is
equally happy dodging
around town as it is
Crosstar version is very well equipped, particularly when it comes to safety.
All versions come with no less than 10 airbags (including one that deploys between
the driver and front passenger in the event of a side impact to keep them apart
as well as one for the driver's knee), whiplash-minimising headrests, forward
collision warning and collision mitigation braking (now also cyclist and pedestrian
aware), blind spot and cross traffic monitors, intelligent speed limiter, lane
departure warning and lane keep assist (as well as white line road markings
it very usefully recognises grass verges), road departure mitigation, vehicle
stability assist, traffic sign recognition, auto lights and wipes, LED daytime
running lights, auto dip/main beam switching, tyre pressure deflation warning,
and an SOS facility.
Other desirable standard-fit kit includes smart entry and start, a heated steering
wheel, climate control, heated front seats, Honda Connect with a 9-inch touchscreen
and Garmin SatNav, premium 376W sound system, DAB radio, Bluetooth hands-free,
Apple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto, rearview camera with front and rear
parking sensors, powerfolding door mirrors, and the intriguing-sounding Magic
The rear cab is a restful place to relax thanks to supportive and well-cushioned
seats. While three adults across the back is doable, most owners will likely
be travelling light or carrying youngsters or even some four-legged friends.
Adults using the rear seats enjoy a fist of headroom, backrests set at comfortable
angles, plenty of foot- and knee-room and, for a city car, legroom that's particularly
generous. As with the front doors, the rears open to ninety degrees, making
exiting as hassle-free as getting aboard.
views out, both ahead between the front seats and to the sides through long,
deep side windows, add to the pleasure of being a Crosstar back seat passenger.
Other nice touches include the neat 'patch pockets' at the upper edges of the
front seatbacks that are perfect for smartphones and large seatback pouches.
The bottle-holding door bins and pair of fast charge USBs slots will be equally
When it comes to secrets you can forget Victoria's the Jazz has a better
one: its rear seats. These so-called 'magic' seats are part of the reason Jazz
models deliver best-in-class versatility. Split base and seatback 50:50, they
can be folded in two ways: the seat bases can be flipped up cinema seat-style
and locked upright against their backrests; or the backrests folded down completely
into the footwells. Either way you can use the rear passenger compartment to
transport quite tall, cabin-width items. And even when the seats are occupied
the space beneath them is fully usable and forms a perfect cubbyhole for squashy
luggage or kids' backpacks.
recently driven the Jazz Hatchback it was informative to drive its higher-riding
Crosstar sister, which in spite of being heavier and a tad larger serves up
a ride that feels softer sprung and consequently more compliant. The 'comfort'
profile sidewalls of its 185/60 tyres no doubt help some and overall those consigned
to the back seats are in for some easy ridin'.
it comes to
secrets you can forget
Victorias the Jazz has
a better one: its rear
seats. These so-called
magic seats are part of
the reason Jazz models
Split base and seatback
50:50, they can be folded
in two ways: the seat
bases can be flipped up
cinema seat-style and
locked upright against
or the backrests folded
down completely into
Either way you can use
the rear passenger
transport quite tall,
The stopwatch figures confirm the Jazz's nippiness: 62mph from standstill flashes
up in a crisp 9.9 seconds; flat out is beyond the 'ton', at 107mph. Certainly
better than you might be expecting from a total system output of 107bhp. Nevertheless
the instant availability of peak torque (a very likeable characteristic of electric
motors) means its 186lb ft can effortlessly be deployed to maximum effect. And
it is the Jazz simply zips along and is equally happy dodging around
town as it is cruising motorways.
Also useful is the 'engine braking' that's on call at any time: flick the selector
lever back from Drive to the 'B' position and the effect whenever you then lift
off is the same as dropping down a gear or two in a conventional car with a
manual 'box; it's strong enough to slow the car down a steep hill (and at the
same time it gives the battery pack a boost). It's also great when you're flying
along country roads where it gives you more dynamic control when easing back
on the accelerator through the twisties.
the average Jazz buyer isn't expecting (or even wants) a car you'd spear through
slaloms for the sheer hell of it, it drives confidently when you want to get
a move on. The steering is typically Honda-precise and the Crosstar feels assured
in spite of its raised ride height with predictable cornering behaviour. And
the brakes (all-round discs) often 'snatchy' in hybrid cars with regenerative
braking are strong with a nicely progressive pedal feel even at low speeds.
Press on? Yes, you can. In fact, this Crosstar is unexpectedly chuckable.
The tallish bodyshape is not just good for people but also their luggage
with the rear seats in use it will swallow a practical 298 litres; fold both
seatbacks down and this opens up a cavernous-like 1,199-litre loadbay that benefits
from a seamless floor. A clever twist is that when the backrests are dropped
forward and down the seat bases also sink fully into the footwells to maximise
the height available for cargo. Yet another thoughtful touch is the 'fitted'
protective rubber boot liner so after your four-legged friend returns from a
trip to the woods or a muddy adventurous weekend away it can quickly be pulled
out and hosed down.
The Crosstar scores highly not just with its oh-so-practical packaging, roomy
interior and class-leading load space but also for its easy driveability, easy-to-live-with
character and miserly fuel consumption. It will suit a range of users from young
family units and active lifestyle players as well as those who need to carry
grandchildren or equally-loved furry family members; and for each and every
one of them it's got all the 'jazz' they could wish for! ~ MotorBar
Honda Jazz Crosstar EX 1.5 i-MMD CVT
Maximum speed: 107mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Test Average: 60.9mpg
Power: 107bhp | Torque: 186lb ft | CO2: 110g/km