2021 Honda Jazz e:HEV Crosstar
It would be easy to dismiss the news of an all-new Honda Jazz as being about as interesting as stamp collecting, but in truth it has a lot going for it. It’s packed with tech, offers plenty of practicality and feels far more premium than it has any right to. Starting at £18,985 and with our top of the range Crosstar model coming in at over £23,500, the Jazz certainly isn’t the cheapest car in its class. But then it wouldn’t be, given every new Jazz sold in the UK now comes with a trick hybrid set up as standard.
Consisting of two electric motors, a lithium ion battery and a 1.5-litre petrol engine, this powertrain has a maximum output of 107hp and 187lb ft. Seamlessly switching between EV and Hybrid modes, the Jazz is seriously impressive around town and at slower speeds. The experience was quiet and refined in a way I was not expecting.
It also settles into a pleasant cruise on the motorway. Predictably, at 70mph the car makes use of the petrol engine and this means fuel economy drops from an easy 65mpg around town, down to the high 50s on longer stretches of road. With a 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds acceleration is modest and it also highlights the car’s biggest flaw, the gearbox!
I know a motoring journo moaning about a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) is extremely predictable, but the inclusion of it in the Jazz is a shame. The car sets such a high bar for itself at lower speeds which it just can’t match when you ask for a bit more. Hitting the throttle results in a waiting time akin to supermarkets during a pandemic, and when the powertrain does respond it just sounds unnatural and harsh.
On a more positive note, the interior is superb. It’s comfortable, airy, and the switch gear feels premium. All but bottom spec cars come with a 9-inch infotainment screen which is quick to respond and intuitive to use. The driver also benefits from a digital instrument cluster, which strikes the perfect balance between being futuristic and clearly showing the information you need. There is storage aplenty up front whilst in the back this generation Jazz has kept the fancy magic seats. They easily fold up to provide a usefully wide and tall space, but also fold flat should you need to make use of all 1,199 litres of luggage capacity. Curiously, at 298 litres, the Crosstar has a slightly smaller boot compared to a normal Jazz which boasts 304 litres of space.
This is one of a few areas where the Crosstar model fails to make sense. I admire its rugged mini MPV look, but the fact it sits 30mm higher, and has roof rails and body cladding probably explains why this model is slightly slower and a tad less economical than its smaller sibling. Couple that with the fact it’s more expensive and marginally less practical than a normal Jazz, it makes the Crosstar model difficult to recommend.
Both EX and SR models come with the same powertrain and all the kit you would need, so it just seems logical to save a few quid. However, gearbox aside, I’m a big fan of the new Jazz and if you’re in the market for a hybrid supermini or small MPV, you will be too.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS 2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar
- ENGINE: 1.5 litre petrol-hybrid
- MAX POWER: 107bhp @ 5,500rpm
- MAX TORQUE: 187lb ft @ 4,500rpm
- 0-62MPH: 9.9 seconds
- VMAX: 107mph
- WEIGHT: 1,325kg
- ECONOMY: 65mpg
- PRICE: £22,635
- RATING: 7/10