Honda Jazz Si

August 2012

picture of car from the front

Subtle exterior details mark out the Jazz Si model

Ratings

Overall Rating 7Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 7Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 9Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 7Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Discreet exterior enhancements increase visual appeal
  • Retuned suspension offers improved driving response
  • Highly practical and spacious cabin
  • Relatively cheap to run for a petrol car

Gripes

  • Image may still be a problem for some buyers
  • A little extra performance would be welcome
  • No diesel version
  • One of the more expensive contenders in the sector

Honda's ever-popular Jazz has found plenty of willing buyers looking for a highly practical supermini with solid build quality and reliability, but it has lagged behind some of its rivals when attracting youthful buyers after something a little sporty. To redress that it has introduced the Si edition, with unique interior and exterior details and enhanced driving dynamics.

The Jazz in standard form is well made, spacious on the inside, refined, comfortable, affordable, easy on the eye, reliable and classy. That it's been Honda's best selling car speaks volumes for its broad appeal. Whether it's your first car, the family's second car or just something for the commute into work, the Jazz oozes quality and performs admirably.

Where the Jazz has lagged behind mainstream rivals is attracting the younger buyer, who appreciates low running costs just as much as the next owner but wants a car with a sporty edge - even if this is centred around looks and handling rather than extra performance.

The Jazz Si follows this template to the letter, and is based on the manual 1.4 ES model. On the outside the Si is distinguished by deeper front and rear bumpers with pronounced spoilers with additional front fog lights. 16-inch wheels are standard, as is privacy glass and a prominent Si badge on the boot. The Si is also limited to four of the bolder colours in the palette, including red, white, black and blue.

In terms of pure performance the Si remains the same as the 1.4 ES model, but for a sportier drive the suspension has been revised solely for this version. The changes comprise of new dampers all round with a stiffer overall setting as well as a larger front anti-roll bar. The electric power steering system has also been revised for improved response.

Our verdict on the Honda Jazz Si

The Jazz Si neatly fills an obvious gap in the range. It provides a modestly improved driving experience and sharper looks but in doing so does not sacrifice any of the traits that make the Jazz such an attractive car in the first place: easy to live with, easy to drive, practical and reliable.

Costs
Costs rating 7

While the Jazz isn't the cheapest option in the supermini market, the combination of its solid performance, durability, versatility and above average levels of kit and refinement should count for something. Factor in the improved engine range boasting increased efficiencies and your wallet can be spared some of the usual horrors.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 9

Although pitched as a small car, you'll be surprised by how big the Jazz is on the inside. Sit in the front and you will be impressed with the space allocated to each passenger - it's a similar feeling when sat in the rear. The car's 'magic' rear seats boast an impressive level of flexibility, and can be positioned to accommodate cycles and other awkward objects, resulting in a flat load bay.

picture of car from the rear

Discreet Si badge appears on the tailgate

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

The Si model's layout remains identical to that of the standard car. All controls and dials are chunky and have a solid, connected feel to them. The layout of the stereo controls on the dash is straightforward and simple to fathom, while the main instrument binnacle is backlit.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 7

Even with the stiffer suspension the Jazz remains a comfortable car. At motorway speeds the Jazz's interior is a relaxing place to be despite the hard work being done by the engine. Supportive seats and light-action controls complete the picture.

Car security
Security Rating 7

At this end of the scale there isn't much to talk about. Apart from the usual remote central locking and imobilisor package that's pretty much your lot. The car's sturdy rear load cover does ensure prying eyes are warned away, though.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

The Jazz is a solidly constructed car and comes with a good range of safety kit. Airbags aren't in short supply and the electronic stability control is also present for added peace of mind.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 7

With an easy driving nature the Jazz is a stress-free experience from behind the wheel. All the controls are light, the gearbox is very slick and the engine is smooth and refined. The changes to the steering and suspension on the Si model are marginal but effective: body roll is reduced and the Jazz is keener to turn into bends. Overall it is mildly sporting drive rather than a hugely exciting one, but keener drivers will find it significantly preferable to the standard car.

picture of car interior

Seats trim aside the cabin is as with a standard Jazz

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 9

Most superminis fail at this hurdle but, thanks in part to the Jazz's spacious cabin, flexible seating and modest running costs it's a capable alternative to something larger. Hardwearing fittings dominate the cabin - another reason to make it onto your shopping list.

First car appeal
First car Rating 7

There's no question that the Jazz would make an ideal first car. It's easy to drive and hardly a performance fireball, making it a great low risk option. With its lofty driving position and low running costs it's a solid choice for anyone seeking a practical car that's one step above the traditional novice runabout.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 6

Europeans still regard Japanese cars as passion-less white goods designed for getting people from A to B, but the Jazz Si offers a little extra welcome sparkle in the way it looks and drives over and above the standard car. The cabin is built to a high standard, which also helps.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

With its elevated seating positions and generous door apertures, access to the cabin is easy. In reality, only those rear adult passengers over six feet tall will struggle for headroom but that's not uncommon in cars like this. At the rear, the wide opening tailgate allows for equally easy access to the boot.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The standard fit system delivers a good standard of sound quality, while the steering wheel-mounted audio controls are a welcome inclusion and the unit's position in the fascia makes the display easy to read at a glance.

picture of car in detail

Magic' folding seats remain a huge practicality boon

Colours and trim

The reduced colour range on the Si focuses on bolder shades which suit the car's enhanced appearance, particularly the strong red and icy blue shades. On the inside the Si is largely as standard although the seats are tastefully trimmed in black and silver and the leather steering wheel help to set it apart from the standard car.

Parking

The car's assisted steering is feather light and makes parking a piece of cake. A generous amount of glass and a nicely elevated seating position make the Jazz a delight to park.

Spare wheel

A tyre inflation kit is fitted as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.2-litre (90bhp); 1.4-litre (100bhp); 1.2-litre petrol-electric hybrid (88bhp). Transmission options: 5-speed manual transmission, CVT auto (hybrid and optional for 1.4 variants). Trim levels: S, ES, EX. Hybrid trim levels: HE, HS, HX, Si.

 

Alternative cars

Ford Fiesta Sporty appeal, great fun to drive

Volkswagen Polo Good all-rounder with a solid reputation

Seat Ibiza Good looking and sporty dynamics, good value too

Renault Clio An engaging drive with good engines



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August 2012