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Honda Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC 130hp Sport

Date: 20 March 2018   |   Author: Rachel Boagey

This supermini has had a facelift and a bigger engine. But is that enough to rival the best in the class?
Standard equipment:
Automatic LED headlights,
city-brake system, 5in touchscreen
Petrol: 100hp 1.3, 130hp 1.5.
Sport, Sport Navi
Six-speed manual,
six-speed automatic

The Honda Jazz has always been a favourite with a generation who can remember exactly where they were when John Lennon was shot but can't quite recall where they left their reading glasses. While there's nothing wrong with that, Honda is desperate to widen the Jazz's appeal to younger people and hopes this refreshed model will do just that.

Honda reckons the 2018 facelift gives the Jazz a more sporting design. However, the changes are fairly subtle, to say the least - even in the new Sport trim, known as the Design trim in Europe, which we tested on the roads of Rome. 

Powerful petrol engine 

Thankfully, bigger changes lie under the bonnet, courtesy of a new, more powerful 1.5-litre engine. This 130hp four-cylinder petrol engine is now the most powerful in the range, sitting above the 1.3-litre petrol, and its extra 28hp can certainly be felt, propelling the Jazz to 60mph in 8.7 seconds, which is a whole 2.5 seconds quicker than the 1.3-litre model. 


While this vast improvement is commendable, the engine is still pretty old school, relying on a high-revving, fizzy character, rather than the strong low-down turbocharged power that makes cars like the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta  so effortless to drive. The new engine is also quite raucous - far more so than its rivals - and even louder than its 1.3-litre sibling. 

The Jazz also struggles with its ride and handling characteristics. Though the steering is light and easy, making quick work of zipping in and out of city traffic at low speeds in particular, the suspension feels fidgety and crashy.

A practical genius 

Where the Jazz has always excelled is in practicality. The interior is remarkably spacious, with plenty of leg, head and elbow room and, at 354 litres, the large boot is a match for the best in its class. Undoubtedly, the Jazz's trump card is its magic rear seats, which can be folded up like cinema seats, to free additional luggage space. 

The Jazz gets plenty of safety systems as standard, such as automatic emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition and lane-departure warning, and all have city braking systems to help avoid low-speed accidents. 


The Sport trim has a thinner front splitter beneath the lower grille and a triple-strake diffuser to the rear bumper - both finished with a red accent. Additionally, LED headlights, front fog lamps, side-sill skirts, a tailgate spoiler and gloss black alloy wheels are also included. 

With a P11D of £16,900, the Jazz is reasonably priced compared with rivals and running costs are decent. However, it returns 47.9mpg and emits 133g/km of CO2, higher than rivals such as the Seat Ibiza, which, in the equivalent grade, only emits 112g/km. 

Overall, while the rework to the body of the Jazz hasn't changed things too much, the stronger engine is a welcome addition. Whether that will be enough to spread the Jazz's appeal is highly questionable, especially with so many excellent alternatives such as the Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza on offer. 

Honda Jazz 1.5 i-VTEC 130hp Sport Six-speed manual 

P11D £16,900 

On sale Now 

Residual value 40.3% 

Depreciation £9,875

Fuel £6,838

Service, maintenance and repair £1,516

Cost per mile £43.6

Fuel consumption 47.9mpg

CO2 (BIK band) 133g/km (27%) 

BIK 20/40% a month £76/£152

Boot space 354 litres 

Engine size/power 1,318cc/130hp