CAR REVIEW: Honda Jazz Crosstar is a little gem

There’s no question about the popularity of baby SUVs these days – so Honda’s attempt to woo small car buyers with the Jazz Crosstar makes perfect sense.

The Crosstar is a raised version of the normal Jazz, with the addition of body cladding and roof rails for a more determined look.

In my opinion, it’s a vehicle that really aesthetically takes advantage of the chunkier pseudo-4×4 vibe – although you’d be unwise to interpret its more rugged look as a sign of “go anywhere” off-road capability.

On the road, however, it is a very practical and pleasant machine to drive. There is an engine option – but it’s a good one!

A hybrid powertrain combines two electric motors with a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle gasoline engine.

The result of this combination is remarkable efficiency in the city and surprisingly lively performance on the most open roads.

In an urban setting, you will usually find sufficient charge in the lithium-ion battery to allow the vehicle to operate in pure electric mode for a reasonable distance.

At faster speeds, the motors work in tandem, switching from one power source to another depending on the ambient conditions and delivering 108 hp.

During a more urgent rural driving shift, I was impressed with how the gearbox responded to the throttle inputs. In an effort to make the Crosstar look more like a normal automatic than a CVT, the gearbox includes “steps” in the revs. It’s a system that works well and means the driving experience is more engaging.

In terms of looks, the Crosstar has a distinctive and likeable appearance.

This is made possible by features like the unique grille, the black plastic coating around the wheel arches, the two-tone paintwork and, as mentioned, those bolt-on roof rails.

Echo of the North: the Honda Jazz Crosstar

Enter and you will find a very well thought out cabin. For the Crosstar version of the Jazz, Honda added water-repellent fabric upholstery, emphasizing that the car is intended for people with an active lifestyle.

The elevated driving position provides an excellent outlook on the road, with a panoramic view enhanced by a high windshield and slim front pillars.

There is no shortage of adjustments to the driver’s seat and steering wheel, with each trim level also benefiting from height adjustment.

Meanwhile, the dashboard buttons are all placed within a good reach, while the central part of the dashboard is enriched with softer-touch materials, although there are cheaper plastics lower down.

A leather-covered steering wheel and shifter give the interior a slightly more upscale feel.

The nine-inch touchscreen is very clear and user-friendly, with the system including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, Bluetooth and DAB radio.

In terms of space, the somewhat boxy shape of the Jazz translates to oceans of interior space. A six-footer will have no problem with headroom and legroom up front, while the rear seats are also incredibly spacious for a car of this class.

Echo of the North: the Honda Jazz Crosstar

The large interior is even more practical when you consider Honda’s “magic seats”

These nifty seats can be configured in a number of ways to give you more cabin space, as the seat bases can be folded up to free up floor space. Alternatively, the rear seats can be folded flat to make room for larger items.

The trunk is also very spacious, offering 298 liters, amounting to 1199 with the rear seats folded down.

The car is also equipped with a wide range of safety technologies, including collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning and lane keeping assist.

The Jazz Crosstar is an attractive all-rounder that stands out on many fronts, especially its combined fuel economy and ample interior space.

Honda Jazz Crosstar EX

PRICE: £ 24,585 on the road

ENGINE: 1.5 liter petrol with electric motor

PERFORMANCE: 0-62 mph in 9.9 seconds and top speed of 109 mph

ECONOMY: 58.9 mpg combined and emissions of 109 g / km

TRANSMISSION: CVT, front wheel drive

INSURANCE GROUP: 19A

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