I collected the Jazz Crosstar from the Wellington dealership 7 hours before we went into our first day of COVID lockdown 2021. The plan was that I would have it for a week, but it ended up gracing my driveway for just over five weeks. Much of that time was spent stationary of course, with just the occasional trip to the supermarket, and once we hit Level 3, for the much-anticipated takeaway coffees.

Fred recently tested the hybrid Jazz e:Hev and seemed to rather like it. How would I feel about the little Jazz “Crossover SUV” version after this extended time with it?

What We Like and Dislike About The 2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar

What we likeWhat we don’t like
Visibility
Practical
Drives well
Comfortable
Interior space
Magic Seats
Wireless Apple CarPlay
Some flimsy-feeling interior materials
Engine can be noisy

What’s In The 2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar Range?

There are three models in the Jazz range, the base model (Life), the Crosstar tested here, and then the top-spec e:HEV Luxe.

2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar Standard Equipment Highlights

The Life starts at $28,000 and is fitted with:

  • 16” alloy wheels
  • front and rear parking sensors
  • cloth seating
  • cruise control
  • electric park brake with auto-hold
  • hill start assist
  • climate aircon
  • power folding mirrors
  • keyless entry and start
  • Honda’s Magic Seats
  • tilt/telescoping steering wheel
  • 9” centre touchscreen
  • wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto capability
  • 3-angle reversing camera
  • LED headlights
  • LED DRLs
  • privacy glass

The Crosstar is $30,000, with both the Life and Crosstar running a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine, giving you 89kW of power and 145Nm of torque. Both have a CVT transmission.

In addition to the list of standard features on the Life, the Crosstar adds:

  • waterproof fabric upholstery
  • soft touch fabrics on the dash
  • door trims and centre console knee protectors
  • leather steering wheel
  • leather gear knob
  • roof rails
  • automatic headlights
  • Welcome Interior Lighting
  • LED fog lights
  • Crosstar tuned suspension and steering
  • increased ground clearance and ride height
  • Alarm
  • double horn
  • plated finish interior door handles, climate control and air vent controls.

The e:HEV Luxe has more goodies:

  • heated front seats
  • leather seating
  • Honda’s Sensing Safety Suite which includes:
    • adaptive cruise control
    • collision mitigation braking system
    • forward collision warning
    • lane departure warning
    • lane keep assist
    • road departure mitigation
    • automatic high beams.
  • Luxe exclusive platinum exterior trims
  • illuminated phone tray.

The e:HEV Luxe, still has a 1.5-litre engine, but it’s detuned a little to 72kW of power and 131Nm of torque, but has a hybrid system with an electric motor that manages 80kW of power and 253Nm of torque. 

Colours available are: Luna Silver, Midnight Blue Metallic, Meteoroid Grey Metallic, Crystal Black Metallic, Premium Opal Pearl, Wind Blue metallic, Premium Crystal Red Metallic, or Platinum White Pearl.

The Crosstar adds Surf Blue, or Surf Blue in two-tone with a black roof, but loses the option of Wind Blue Metallic.

You can read more about the Jazz on Honda’s website here.

How Does The 2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar Compare To Its Competition?

Though the Jazz has several competitors, the Crosstar is something a little different so sits in a smaller niche.

Make/ ModelEnginePower kW/NmSeatsFuel L/100kmBoot SpacePrice
Kia Picanto X-Line1.25-litre 4-cylinder62/12255.8255 $23,990
Suzuki Ignis LTD1.2-litre 4-cylindre66/12054.9264$24,990
Honda Jazz Crosstar1.5-litre 4-cylinder89/14555.8298$30,000
Toyota Yaris Cross GX1.5-litre 3-cylinder88/14555.4390$31,290
Peugeot 2008 Active1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo96/23056.4434$33,990
Citroen C3 Aircross1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo81/20556.6300$35.990

First Impressions Of The 2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar

I like the design of the new Jazz, it’s more rounded than the previous model, definitely has a more modern look, but still looks Jazz-like. Our review car came in Surf Blue with the optional two-tone paint, giving it a black roof. This with the black pillars gives it quite a different look to the standard hatch. Adding some chunky plastic side trims and a different bumper design definitely gives it a more rugged look. I’ll leave you to decide whether a 30mm-taller-than standard hatchback with some grey plastic trims is really a “crossover SUV”.

Overall it’s a bit different from the rest, and I like that about it.

What’s The Interior Like In The 2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar?

My first impression when I jumped into the Jazz Crosstar was “This car was built to a price” and it was hard to shake that impression. The interior is, let’s say, minimalist, especially the driver’s display which is a rectangular LCD screen with a temperature gauge on the left and a fuel gauge on the right. On the screen you get a rev counter across the top, a digital speedo in the top half and all other information such as fuel economy, odometer, clock etc in the bottom half. It tells you everything you need to know, but also feels very basic.

I really liked the cloth-wrapped upper dashboard as something a little different. There are big cup holders at each end of the dashboard as well as central ones, in fact the Jazz has seven cup holders in total. In front of the passenger is a pretty spacious double glovebox with doors that open upwards and downwards.

There’s a large 9” central touch screen sitting proud of the air vents like a chunky iPad, but it does have physical track skip buttons and a volume knob. These are good things. The screen is bright and clear, as is the image from the reversing camera (which has moving guide lines). The climate aircon is controlled with three simple knobs. Again points to Honda for proper physical controls.

The stereo has Wireless Apple CarPlay – something you don’t get yet in cars costing many times more than the Jazz – as well as Android Auto if that’s your phone flavour. The stereo is generally pretty good but when set to my usual settings it had a strange tone that sounded kind of unpleasant to my ear. I managed to get it more to my liking with some tweaking of the sliders but I’d describe it as average sound quality.

Whilst Honda have covered most of the touch points in nicer materials, the rest of the interior has a lot of hard scratchy plastics, which also tend to flex a bit when prodded. Everything has the feel that it was designed to be just thick enough and no more. For example if you push on the door cards, they flex quite a bit. I haven’t noticed this on any other car except maybe the Suzuki Swift. But the Swift has the excuse of being almost 400kg lighter than this Jazz.

The driver gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel with all of the buttons needed for controlling stereo and cruise control. All simply laid out and easy to use without needing to look down at what you’re pressing. The wheel adjusts for tilt and reach.

The seats are manually adjusted and look good in three shades of grey. Honda says they’re an anti-fatigue design but we didn’t get to test the Crosstar on a long journey to see how well they worked. They did seem generally very comfortable. The cloth material is waterproof, because this is the Crosstar and you might be doing adventurous and exciting things out in the wilds.

Talking of seats, one of the coolest features of the Jazz has always been its ingenious Magic Seat system, where the rear seats fold flat, but also can be folded upwards. This gives a lot of possibilities when you want to transport oddly-shaped cargo.

The rear seats are comfortable too, and have good legroom for a small hatchback. Boot capacity is a respectable-enough 298 litres, or 1,199 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

What’s The 2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar Like To Drive?

When you get into the Jazz it plays a friendly little welcome sound and an animation on the screen. The start button behind the steering wheel lights up in red. Little things that endear you more to the car.

Once you set off, it immediately becomes apparent what amazing front visibility the Jazz has. The dash is deep, with little triangular side windows in front of the doors. This enables the windscreen to be a very large, almost rectangular and flat piece of glass. The result of this is that you feel like you’re in a greenhouse, or maybe a bus. And that’s a good thing, definitely the most open and clear front view I’ve had in a car.

When the engine is cold the 1.5-litre VTEC sounds a bit rough. It settles down as it warms up but the CVT transmission means that you still get some harshness and flaring when accelerating or going up a steep Wellington hill, as it sits at constant higher revs. Generally though it copes well enough and doesn’t feel under-powered. The suspension is well-tuned for our roads, comfortable but not too soft, not too much body roll despite this being the taller version of the Jazz. nfact it handles surprisingly well. On the motorway, wind and road noise are well damped and the Jazz will cruise comfortably at the 100 limit.

Standard cruise control is fitted to the Crosstar and it works well and shows the set speed on the display. The only thing it struggles with is keeping to its set speed down hills. If left to its own devices on some of Wellington’s 50kph limit hills it will happily get up to 60 or more if you don’t take full control.

The Crosstar has LED lights all-round including full LED headlights. They are better than halogens, but not by a huge margin. Again it feels like they’re just good enough.

Because of the timing of my Crosstar experience, my driving was almost all shorter trips, so over the first few weeks my fuel usage was 8.6l/100km over 120km of driving. A fair bit over the quoted 5.8. Once lockdown moved to level 3, then 2, I was able to travel a bit farther, and got the average down to 7.9.

2021 Honda Jazz Crosstar Specifications

Vehicle TypeSmall Crossover SUV
Starting Price$30,000
Price as Tested$30,000
Engine1.5L, 4 Cylinder, 16 valve, i-VTEC, Chain Drive DOHC
Power, Torque
kW/Nm
89/145
TransmissionEarthDreams Automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with G-Design Shift, Next Generation G-Logic Control with G force detection
Spare WheelSpace-saver spare
Kerb Weight, Kg1,253
Length x Width x Height, mm4090 x 1725 x 1567
Cargo Capacity, litres298 seats up
1,199 seats down
Fuel tank capacity, litres40
Fuel Economy, L/100kmAdvertised Spec – Combined – 5.8
Real-World Test – Combined – 7.9
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Towing Capacity
Kg, unbraked/braked
Not rated
Turning circle, metres10.6
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
 Warranty5 Year Warranty, Unlimited Kilometre – Fully Transferable
5 Year 24/7 National Roadside Assistance
Safety informationANCAP Rating – Not yet rated
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – NJE815
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Economy
7
Handling
7
Infotainment
6
Performance
6
Ride
7
Safety
8
Styling
8
Value
7
Vehicle Technology
7
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I love everything about cars! Driving, looking at them, modifying. It's great to see what people do with cars, the different car cultures. If I was rich, my garage would be bigger than my house!

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