Confession: I think I may have fallen for the new Honda Jazz. In a week when the great and the good of the motoring world have tripped over their travel bags and squabbled over frozen party food to bring us the latest news from Wolfsburg, I’ve been pondering the simple beauty of the Jazz.
It’s beautifully simple. Honda hasn’t lost sight of what makes the Jazz so appealing. Like it or not, this is the car you’d want your parents to drive when they retire. It’s as familiar as The Archers theme tune, as dependable as a Golden Retriever, and as practical as a Cub Scout leader.
We don’t want the Honda Jazz to be quick (unless we’re stuck behind one on a B-road). We don’t want the Honda Jazz to be snazzy. We don’t want the Honda Jazz to be exciting. Which is why Honda appears to have nailed the fourth-generation model.
What’s up, Doc?
Take the styling, which is almost exactly how you’d want the Mk4 Jazz to look. The front end is a bit goofy, with a hint of Bugs Bunny, but overall, it puts right the wrongs of the outgoing Jazz.
The Jazz has always felt like a supermini XL – like a pair of beige slacks with an elasticated waist. Honda is promising ‘class-leading’ levels of interior space, thanks to the position of the fuel tank below the front seats and the hybrid tech in the engine bay.
Oh yeah, did I mention that the new Jazz is powered by a two-motor hybrid system? Honda hasn’t released any figures, but has promised ‘impressive fuel economy’. Needless to say, Jazz drivers won’t be making regular trips to the petrol station, so that plastic loyalty card can be recycled.
The Magic Seats are retained, because removing them would be akin to chasing away the ravens from the Tower of London. The flexibility afforded by the rear seats is one of the joys of Honda Jazz ownership.
Yes, I just used the word ‘joy’ in the context of the Honda Jazz.
Which brings me on to the dashboard. I suspect the press photos show a top-spec interior with all the bells and whistles, but notice how all the switches and buttons are positioned in a neat and driver-focused manner.
Volkswagen reckons the world is ready for a Golf with virtually no physical buttons. I beg to differ. Such an approach would see Jazz loyalists voting to leave for the sanctuary of the Yaris, leaving the remainers to wonder what on earth just happened.
Note the two USB ports, the deep cupholder in front of the air vent, the positioning of the LCD touchscreen and the two-spoke steering wheel. Jazz, if I’m honest, you had me at the two-spoke steering wheel.
There’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for when the grandchildren come to visit, wireless smartphone charging, and even a wifi hotspot. Now, Jazz owners can browse the online version of the Daily Express as they enjoy tea from a Thermos on the East Sussex coast.
The unfortunately named Crosstar is a faux crossover I could do without, but no doubt Honda has done its homework. To be fair, the Jazz wears the two-tone paint job rather well. It’s like ‘man at C&A’ has wandered into H&M by mistake.
I’m fully aware that this declaration of love for the new Honda Jazz merely cements my reputation as the odd uncle who is always left off the guest list. The one who’s estranged from the extended family. I’m not concerned.
The world doesn’t need another compact SUV, million-dollar hypercar or ‘Ringmeister. What it needs is an efficient, sensible and clever supermini that’s easy to park, cheap to run and is unlikely to let you down. Jazz hands to that.