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If you want a city car with the interior space of a van – but you don’t want to always be driving a van – the Honda Jazz could be your best bet.
That’s because every version of this car – including our 2016 Honda Jazz VTi-S long-termer – has easily the best interior practicality of any light car on the planet. Big call? Here’s why...
The tiny little Honda has 'Magic Seats'. It’s a marketing term Honda uses to describe the seats, which can be configured 18 (!) different ways – whether you are loading in boxes, bags or bikes, there’s probably a way that the seats can work to help you load up your stuff.
The rear seats can be folded completely flat if you need to load large boxes through the boot or doors, and they are a 60:40 split-fold setup, meaning you can have one rear seat, two rear seats or all three in play, depending on what you’re loading.
“Split-fold rear seats?” I hear you murmur. “So what?!”
Well, there’s more: the Jazz’s seat bases can also be folded up and locked in place, meaning you can use the entire rear floor pan as a cargo area. This is handy if you’re loading in things like pot plants or pushbikes.
The beauty of the Jazz’s cabin design is that the car isn’t like most other hatchbacks – its squarer, boxier, with a higher roofline and with bigger doors that open wider than many others in this class.
The tailgate opening is huge too, making for easy loading when you’re putting in or taking out heavy items.
Jordie Bodlay, our lead solutions architect, used the Jazz to help move house during our time with the car.
“There’s a surprising amount of room for such a small car,” Jordie said. “I managed to fit a bunch of boxes, as well as the chunky trolley I was using, in it, thanks to the fact that it's a pretty flat large space with the back seats folded down.
“Loading in boxes was also pretty easy, the boot opening offers decent clearance,” Jordie added.
For those who aren’t aware, the Jazz is pretty small. It measures just 3996 millimetres long, but as mentioned, it sits 1524mm from tarmac to top, and is quite narrow, at 1694mm.
It doesn’t feel narrow inside, though, and the boot is almost the best in class, at 354 litres (the Suzuki Baleno claims just one litre more cargo space), and there’s a space-saver spare wheel under the floor.
How that boot measures up against the rest of the segment is great news for light car buyers, but for some additional context, the hugely popular Mazda 3 hatch has just 308L of cargo space, where a Corolla hatch has 360L.
But it’s the total volume metric – a huge 1492L – that means the most here. It is, without doubt, a car with practicality that massively outnumbers its physical size.
Add to that the fact the Jazz has clever storage elements, like a dash-top bottle holder for the driver, plus lots of loose item storage, decent door pockets all around, and a fine glovebox, and it really is a complete package for buyers after a light car that’s heavy on pragmatism.