It has become a motoring cliché to describe the Honda Jazz as the perfect car for people who don’t like cars.
Yes, it prioritises practicality and usability over the last word in sexy design. Yes, it’s incredibly dependable – though why that should be a bad thing is beyond me. And yes, it’s generally bought by people of a certain age. But that’s because they have plenty of wisdom.
I’m someone who gets paid to like cars and I really like the Honda Jazz. So do other people who get paid to like cars – the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers (of which yours truly is currently president) voted the Jazz as its runner up Scottish Car of the Year, with the little Honda just missing out against the excellent Ford Puma.
I first drove the Jazz late last summer and have just spent a week with the Jazz Crosstar. This is the version Honda hopes will entice younger car buyers.
It’s not an SUV, but it does have a slightly raised ride height, styling that’s a little more rugged, and features aimed at people with an outdoors lifestyle (or with young kids) such as roof rails and water resistant upholstery.
The Jazz Crosstar costs a little over £23,000 and is available with a single engine option, a 1.5 litre petrol engine paired to a self-charging hybrid motor that can run the car in pure electric mode for short distances.
In practice the two units work seamlessly, so all you have to do is get in and drive. You’ll notice the hybrid system when it comes to economy – the Jazz returns almost 59mpg.
Interior space is excellent, with room for two adults or three children in the back. Leg room is good and head room is superb. A fantastic feature is Honda’s much vaunted ‘Magic Seats’ system, which tumbles the rear seats down and forward at the touch of a button, leaving a completely flat load space that’s bigger than any other car this size can match.
Standard equipment includes keyless entry and start, heated seats, adaptive cruise control and a rear view camera.
The Jazz is not marketed as being fun to drive but on some C-roads around Forfar I discovered that’s exactly what it is: agile and easy to sling through a few bends.
It might not be a car beloved by trendsetters and influencers, but the Honda Jazz Crosstar has an enormous breadth of talents.