Why Honda is a reliably good choice
And value for money, which may amount to the same thing. But one major factor surely is reliability, It doesn’t matter how fancy your car is or how many so-called “surprise and delight” features it boasts, if it’s stood at the side of the road waiting for a recovery truck your love affair must surely take a nosedive.
Making cars reliable is easier said than done, especially now when they are essentially complicated computers on wheels and your trusted mechanic needs to be more of an IT specialist than a grease monkey but Honda seem to making a good go of it.
I had a friend who ditched a French model which let him down once too often and on the advice of a breakdown recovery guy he bought a Civic.
“All I can tell you is that we don’t get called to many Hondas,” said the tow-truck man.
So it’s no surprise that Honda has come out on top of a new report on car reliability. The Japanese firm – which produces cars like the Jazz, tested here, and Civic – came out in first place in Warrantywise’s Reliability Index, which compiled 131,000 active warranty plans.
So, here I am in a Jazz. But it’s not just a Jazz, it’s a Crosstar version which means it’s a little more rugged in style, which is no bad thing. Mainstream Jazz is fine but a little too tame, perhaps. This version adds a touch more interest without
It looks chunky and has what you might call an urban off-road feel about it. Don’t be fooled: it’s not a proper go-ahywhere car but it will appeal to many.
The fourth-generation Jazz was introduced in 2020, and was sold purely as a hybrid. Its 1.5-litre petrol-electric setup has now been updated, with the electric motor, generator motor and engine itself all producing more power, meaning it now has a total system output of 120bhp – 14bhp more than before.
The Jazz’s gearbox has also been revised, with Honda saying it offers ‘improved smoothness and driveability to deliver a more engaging driving experience’. No performance figures for the revised setup have been revealed, though Honda has said it offers CO2 emissions as low as 102g/km, or 111g/km for the tested version.
Key to this upgrade is the addition of a top-spec Advance Sport model, which benefits from styling changes such as a unique front bumper and 16-inch alloy wheels. Inside, it features a new three-spoke steering wheel (the Jazz usually has a two-spoke), suede and synthetic leather seats, along with contrasting yellow stitching. Small mechanical tweaks have also been made, including a stiffer suspension setup, and a revised throttle remap to deliver improved response from the powertrain.
The rest of the Jazz line-up has also adopted a bolder grille design and darker headlights, with the more rugged Crosstar model benefiting from revised side skirts and a grille with a honeycomb design. Fjord Mist Blue is also a new colour on offer.
Honda has also made the latest Jazz capable of towing for the first time, which is said to be done ‘following customer feedback’. Though only having a 500kg capacity, it will allow a small trailer to be towed or a bike carrier to be mounted on the tow bar.
Meanwhile, Honda has unveiled a trio of new electrified SUVs that signal the next step for the brand in Europe.
Shown at an event recently, the main highlight is the e:Ny1, a new compact electric SUV that will only be the brand’s second EV. Sharing similar looks to the hybrid HR-V, it sits on a different platform and it previews a design language that will be used across future electric Honda models.
Using a 68.8kWh battery, Honda claims a range of up to 256 miles for the SUV – almost double that of the Honda e city car – while packing a powerful 237bhp electric motor. However, it will only be able to charge at 100kW, meaning a 10 to 80 per cent charge will take 45 minutes.
Inside, it boasts a new interior layout, with the highlight being a huge 15.1-inch touchscreen, which is by far the largest ever fitted to a Honda.
Honda also showcased its ZR-V in Europe for the first time, a new SUV that will be positioned between the HR-V and CR-V. Using the well-praised powertrain from the latest Civic hatchback, the firm promises an engaging driving experience.
The ZR-V’s interior design mirrors that of the Civic too, while the exterior is more curved than its more angular SUV siblings.
Last to be shown is the new CR-V, which now enters its sixth generation. While already on sale in the USA, this is the first time we’ve seen the version for this SUV in Europe. It grows in size and aims to ‘elevate the CR-V more towards the premium segment,’ according to Honda.
It’s also the first Honda in Europe that will be available as a plug-in hybrid, and boasts a claimed electric range of up to 51 miles. Just like on the current car, a regular hybrid version will also be available.
With the exception of the limited-numbers Civic Type R, all of Honda’s European line-up is now either a hybrid or electric. This trio of new electrified SUVs are due to arrive before the end of the year.
Honda Jazz Crosstar EX
Price: £25,795. Extras on this model bring the price to £27,945. Jazz starts at £21,295
Engine: a 1.5 litre petrol engine and an electric motor with CVT (continuously variable transmission). The petrol engine emits 98ps and the electric motor emits 109ps
Performance: Top speed 107mph and 0 to 60mph in 9.9 seconds
Economy: 58.9mpg combined
Warranty: A three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, plus a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty