Honda Jazz Crosstar drive by Steve Rogers
As a supermini the Jazz made its mark as a super practical, super versatile small hatchback.
because it beat everyone on space, versatile because of its clever back seats
which flip up, just like in the flicks, leaving enough room to walk through or
carry something awkward. Strange that no one
has copied that brilliantly simple idea.
we wanted more, envious of the new breed of high riding, roomy SUVs taking over
from the family hatchback and the car companies duly obliged. Well the majority
did, but not Honda ... until now.
late to the party than not turning up at all so bring on the Jazz Crosstar. Can
it cut a dash like it did two decades ago? Time to find out.
curious thing about Jazz is that was never a conventional baby hatch in the
same vein as Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa, in fact the tall boxy body made it
more of a trailblazer back in 2001 when the name crossover didn't even exist.
the Crosstar's only significant difference over Jazz is a 30mm increase in ride
height, roof rails and off road style body armour, not that Crosstar is
designed to go off the straight and narrow.
it still has a cabin the size of a tardis with bags of room for four tall
adults and a substantial boot although it holds six litres less than the
'smaller' Jazz. How weird is that?
said the black plastic facings around the wheel arches, black side sills, roof
rails and black roof add a bit of pizzazz to a shape that is not everyone's cup
of tea. The slight downside is that those extra bits push up emissions and put
a small dent in fuel efficiency not that that's anything to worry about as you
will find out later on.
first thing to notice with the new shape is the large glass area around the
front of the car. Vision from behind the wheel is as good as it gets thanks to
a huge windscreen and wafer thin front pillars which house what we used to call
a quarter light but this is obviously now fixed glass. Between that and the
raised driving position provides for a panoramic view that has no equal.
modern dashboard looks good with a nine inch touchscreen housing all manner
information and superbly clear heating controls with chunky tactile buttons.
There is an upmarket feel to the soft touch trim and I particularly like the
fabric facings on the dash and doors. And check out the 8-speaker stereo, you
could be in a concert hall with this sound.
have been waiting for Honda to get to grips with the Jazz's suspension and
although it has improved down the years there is still work to do to match the
best of its rivals. Even though the longer suspension travel makes for a
slightly softer ride on Crosstar you still feel a severe thud hitting potholes
and the like.
complaints about performance thanks to the one and only 1.5 litre self charging
hybrid engine. It is a new powertrain with two electric motors and is both
quick off the mark and a smooth cruiser through the automatic CVT gearbox.
There is not an awful lot of electric only driving but the system is clever
enough to pick the right times which is generally in low speed urban
brings us to economy. This is a real strong point and while Crosstar is around
4mpg down on Jazz (blame the extra body bits) we easily beat the official
figure of 58.9 hovering in the low sixties most of the week.
has always been an expensive car partly down to generous equipment right across
the range along with an enviable safety package that now includes lane assist,
automatic emergency braking, blind spot and cross traffic alert.
pushes the price up even more but it is packed with goodies like heated seats
and steering wheel, navigation, Apple Carplay and Mirrorlink connections,
keyless entry and waterproof fabric seats. They could come in useful I suppose.
it is worth the extra for Crosstar's body bling and increased ride height is
down to personal choice but you are not gaining a great deal over the standard
a pleasant car to drive, not as much fun as a Ford Puma or as comfortable as a
Citroen C3 Aircross but the majority probably wouldn't notice, or even care.
Crosstar EX eCVT
litre petrol hybrid; 108bhp
Road tax £145
Insurance group 19