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Honda Jazz Hybrid review (2011 onwards)
The Tardis-like Honda Jazz now gets hybrid tech and is one of the lowest priced petrol-electric car on sale in the UK.
We like - roomy, versatile, excellent fuel economy
We don't like - emissions of 104g/km behind rivals, fidgety ride
The Jazz is Honda's best-selling car so it was only a matter of time before it was blessed with the company's hybrid technology. In this case, that's the 1.3-litre petrol and electric engine found in the Insight.
With carbon emissions of 104g/km, it doesn't fall below the magic 100g/km threshold. So, VED, or road tax as it was formerly known, is free for the first year and £10 a year after that.
Planning on driving one in London? If so you'll be paying £10 a day as the Jazz Hybrid is not exempt under the new congestion charge rules.
A spokesman for Honda said that the company wasn't prepared to sacrifice the car's quality in order to drop the 4g/km needed to escape the London congestion charge, especially for only a small minority of people who will need to drive in London.
As a city car, though, the Jazz is superb. The 1.3 engine is zesty and energetic, pulling away swiftly from a standstill. Allied to a CVT automatic gearbox, it is effortless to drive and the high seating position and excellent all-round visibility makes it easy to cut in and out of heavy traffic.
On faster roads and noticeably on hills it does take a while to get up to speed and, with five people on board, progress will hardly be scintillating.
Ride and handling
Few will venture far enough in the realms of dynamics to detect the noticeably body lean but there is plenty of grip at least. Of more concern is the firm, fidgety ride which means the suspension rarely feels settled on most UK surfaces.
However, it steers with precision and is the wheel is light, a bonus for maneuvering around town, but it can feel vague at higher speeds.
Refinement isn't a Jazz strong point and especially with the CVT gearbox which sounds thrashy when you floor the throttle while the high body picks up a lot of wind noise around the A-pillars.
Inside the Jazz feels like a much bigger car than it actually is. The rear seats are wide and will fit three adults, while there's enough headroom for six-footers to avoid a cramped neck. Up front, you sit upright and high allowing a great view out through the windscreen.
The rear seats recline and fold flat to provide a large load area, while if you're lugging around a bike or a couple of sets of golf clubs you can flip up the seat base to open up 1,280mm of floor-to-ceiling space.
The boot also features a flexible 'Double-Trunk' system, comprising a flexible folding floor with under-floor storage.
Cabin quality is generally robust but the plastics are on the hard side. However, you shouldn't have too many concerns about running one; the Jazz is one of the most reliable cars on sale judged by independent owner surveys.
Economy and safety
The Jazz Hybrid should average 62.8mpg making this the most efficient of the range. There is an 'Econ' button below the steering wheel that reduces the amount of torque generated by the engine, a smoother gearshift pattern and increased regenerative braking.
A series of dashboard lights tell you if you're driving economically or not, ranging from 'I'm a saint' green to 'boy-racer' blue.
The MSN Cars verdict
The Honda Jazz remains one of the most versatile and practical small cars on sale. As for justifying the hybrid, it doesn't offer anything above a small diesel engine. And the fact it neither escapes the new road tax or the London congestion charge means it is slightly hamstrung.
|Need to know|
|Engine (petrol)||1.3 with electric motor|
|Power (bhp)||88 @ 5,800 (elec + 14)|
|Torque (lb/ft)||89 @4,500rpm|
|Top speed (mph)||109|
|Rating||Honda Jazz Hybrid|
|Ride & handling||**|
|MSN Cars verdict||***|
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