Honda Jazz Hybrid
Third time a charm for Honda hybrid?
Honda quotes a combined fuel economy figure for the Jazz of 62.8mpg. That’s slightly lower than the Insight’s 64.2mpg but an big improvement on the 1.2 litre Jazz’s 53.3mpg, to date the most economical model in the range. Honda doesn’t make an oil-burning Jazz so direct hybrid/diesel economy comparisons are out of the question.
Familiar profile since 2002
Driving the Jazz for a week, I managed an average of 53mpg with the Econ button engaged to smooth throttle movement and to optimise the transmission for economy rather than performance. With a little more care and a little less right foot I don’t doubt I could have upped that figure to nearer 60mpg.
Like the engine, the Jazz's CVT transmission is also shared with the Insight. But the Jazz being 31kg lighter, you can make the 0-62 dash in 12.1 rather than 12.5 seconds. Point four of a second may sound like next to nothing but the Jazz does feel the more sprightly of the two cars. Top speed, for those interested, is 109mph.
Clearly the Jazz is no sports car, but for a tall vehicle roll is kept at bay surprisingly well and with the help of the steering-column mounted seven-speed flappy-paddle transmission override fun was not wholly out of the question during a spirited gallop over the Cat and Fiddle. The high driving position does rather leave you feeling that you are sitting on it rather than in it, though.
Oodles of places for phones
On the road, a decade of fettling and fiddling has resulted in a car with a decent ride, reasonable levels of grip and a general feeling of refinement up with the best small cars from Ford or Volkswagen. The extensive 2008 facelift did much to improve the dull steering of the original Jazz and in the Hybrid it feels even more responsive. My only quibble is with road noise, which is just a little too intrusive at motorway speeds on rough tarmac.