Publication date: 14 October 2008
Honda Jazz (2008 - 2015)

Honda Jazz (2008 - 2015)

Jazz it up

Review - Do you ever wake up with a song playing in your head? This morning I woke up with "Victor should have been a jazz musician"; a languid song from the '80s that first comes to mind when hearing the word "jazz". Because today I am going to test drive the new Honda Jazz. After every drive I got happier. Now I write this review with the swinging "I've got the music in me" in my head. Read why the Honda Jazz makes people happy.

A good piece of jazz music is not thanks to one individual musician or instrument. It owes its succes to playing together, making one harmonious piece of music.


The same goes for the Honda Jazz. The speed, the rhythm if you will, is set by the engine. Honda offers a choice of a 1.2 or 1.4 litre petrol engine. Both use Honda's "iVTEC"-technology to perform well while still being economic. "iVTEC" alters the characteristics of the engine to the driving style. This may lead some to misjudging the car, because "iVTEC" shows two very different faces.

Honda Jazz (2008 - 2015)

When revved up, the Jazz is an eager little car that performs well with either engine. Then the rev counter shows a quick 6,000 beats per minute and even speeds in exces of 120 km/h are realized with ease. In this test the smaller 1.2 engine even performs better than Honda promises. This four cylinder orchestra really goes for it!

Although the name leads to believe differently, the "jazz" is a remarkably quiet car once at a cruising speed. Only above 120 km/u the occupants have to raise their voices to be audible over the orchestra.

When the Jazz is playing a slower tune, the "iVTEC" power unit doesn't deliver well. On the other hand: fuel economy improves spectacularly. A calm driving style costs only 5.1 litres of gasoline per 100 km with the 1.2 litre engine. With the 1.4 litre engine it is harder to economise. During the test it used 6.1 litres of gasoline per 100 km at best. Because of the small difference in performance and the big difference in fuel consumption, the 1.2 comes highly recommend.

Honda Jazz (2008 - 2015)


The necessary dynamics come from the suspension. The chassis has been completely redesigned for the completely new Jazz. Strictly speaking the Jazz is a mono cab, which owes its generous interior space to its height. As a general rule this doesn't improve handling. The Jazz is higher than a normal car, which makes getting in easier and gives a good view over traffic.

But the driving characteristics are not those of an MPV. The Jazz drives like a dynamic hatchback. This is also thanks to the electric power steering. This makes steering not too heavy, and not too light, but just right. The Jazz feels right at home in city traffic and is very easy to manoeuvre.

Honda Jazz (2008 - 2015)

The excellent handling makes the car also very safe: if it is ever necessary to make an emergency manouvre the wheels stay firmly on the tarmac. The Jazz is fitted with an electronic stability system, which also ensures safety in slippery conditions.

The bonnet cannot be seen from the driver's seat, but other than that the Jazz is very easy to drive. The A-beam (the metal between the wind shield and the first side window) is much smaller than in the previous Jazz, improving visibility. Also thanks to the rather large outside mirrors the Jazz is easy to park.


The dynamic jazz has a greatness that is normally only associated to the classics. It is the classical MPV that is shaped like a box to deliver maximum space. But this Jazz offers much more interior space than the compact size will lead to believe.

This is thanks to the clever design. The passenger compartment has been moved to the front as much as possible ("cab-forward design"). What makes the Jazz truely unique is the petrol tank which has been moved to the front as well, lowering the cargo floor and creating lots of space in the back.

Honda Jazz (2008 - 2015)

The space in the front is fine, even for tall drivers. A real problem is the short sitting of the front seats, hardly supporting the upper legs.

Thanks to the low cargo floor the rear passangers sit more upright while still offering plenty of head- and leg room. During this review four large man of around 6 foot 2 transported with ease by the Jazz!

The luggage space is shaped regularly, so that it can be utilised to the extreme corners. The Jazz offers some smart extras. Below the cargo floor and extra compartment can be found that is big enough to hold a small suitcase. If necessary the cargo floor can be raised to create a two story loading space.

Honda Jazz (2008 - 2015)
Honda Jazz (2008 - 2015)

The back seat can be folded. First only the sitting of the back seat is folded, so that a deep yet high (128 cm) space becomes available. In this way a bicycle or contra bass can be transported standing behind the front seats.

Thanks to the low floor the entire back seat can easily be folded as well, creating a perfectly flat (172 cm long) loading area. In the "long modus" the front passanger seat can be folded flat as well, allowing for objects up to 2 meters 40 to be transported. Also very handy: the doors open up to an 80 degree angle, making all that space easily accessable.


A great, quick and dynamic song still needs one more ingredient to become a real success: it must swing. The necessary flair comes from the modern design. The interior has a funky design, altough logic leaves something to be desired. During this first test it took some time to find all the knobs and functions right away.

The new Jazz can be fitted with all modern gadgets like rain and light sensors, Bluetooth, removable sat nav and an MP3-player. It goes without saying that this musical talent also has an iPod connection. The large glass panoramic roof is highly recommendable, because it makes the Jazz feel even roomier.

On the outside the Jazz looks best in a light, bright colour. Then this third generation of the Honda Jazz really swings!


Honda completely redesigned the Jazz making it even more practical. Just as with a highly experienced Jazz combo, everything on the Honda Jazz works perfectly together creating one harmonious result. Therefore the car isn't better than the rest because of one thing, but because everything about the Honda Jazz is right.

The engines are economic and, when making a lot of revs, perform well. Road handling is excellent, making this new Jazz safe and fun to drive. Thanks to a smart concept the Jazz offers more space than most competitors. So the new Jazz really sets the tone!

  • Quiet and comfortable
  • Exceptionally spacious
  • Excellent driving characteristics
  • Firm price
  • Front seats too small