SINGAPORE – People cannot seem to get enough of sport utility vehicles and crossovers. And manufacturers are obliging, with some even converting the unlikeliest of models into such cars, such as the Volkswagen Polo-based CrossPolo and the recently reviewed Toyota Corolla Altis-based Corolla Cross.

Now, there is the Jazz Crosstar, which is a slightly more rugged-looking variant of Honda’s popular Jazz, and introduced as a facelift of the current fourth-generation supermini.

For those who prefer a more familiar Jazz, there is the Jazz Luxe, available alongside the Crosstar.


Both the Luxe and Crosstar are slightly longer than the pre-facelift Jazz, owing to new and more pronounced bumpers. But the Crosstar gets a rear underside cladding, which makes it marginally longer than the Luxe.

The Crosstar is also taller because it is shod with higher-profile tyres and has roof rails. The tyres give it a ground clearance of 161mm, versus 150mm for the Jazz Luxe. At the same time, its wheel arch claddings – which every respectable crossover has to have – make the body slightly wider.

Although the cosmetic changes are not drastic, the end result is effective, especially for the two-tone version called Crosstar X. It looks rather sporty, with a hint of the stunning and slightly bigger Opel Mokka.

The Jazz facelift is not confined to cosmetic changes. Honda has tuned up the engine and hybrid system to produce more power. The car now has 122hp available, from 109hp previously. Torque remains unchanged at 253Nm.


But interestingly, the cars are not any quicker than before. The Luxe’s 0-100kmh remains unchanged at 9.4 seconds, while the Crosstar’s timing is 9.6 seconds. Honda says this is because the Crosstar is taller and therefore not as aerodynamic.

At the wheel, the Crosstar is sluggish compared with the similarly endowed Audi Q3 reviewed this week. It definitely does not feel like a car with 253Nm of instant torque. It moves like most hybrids, with a throttle response tuned more for economy than verve.



If you manage your expectations, you can have a fairly pleasant time driving it. Due to its size, the Jazz Crosstar is very manoeuvrable, even if its steering is a bit vague at times.

Its ride quality is admirable for a subcompact (thanks in part to those high-profile tyres) and there is hardly any dive or squat because of its relatively low 1,224kg kerb weight. This is a boon to both passengers and driver. The car handles competently, with a light-footedness which is rare these days among mainstream cars.

As before, its super wide windscreen with skinny A-pillars make driving more effortless.

And if you tire of stomping on the accelerator to get the car up to speed, just use your thumb to activate its adaptive cruise control and let the car cruise at a preset speed while keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

The system does not work in heavy rain or at low speeds. Strangely, the system in the pre-facelift car worked in heavy rain.

In terms of utility, the Honda is peachy because it has decent interior space despite its compactness, with an almost flat rear floor and, now, a marginally bigger boot. Its crisp reverse camera, electronic brake with auto-hold and self-locking doors are frills which offset its plasticky interior.



As a result of its cosmetic changes, the Crosstar weighs 4kg more than the Luxe and the pre-facelift Jazz. Hence its stated fuel economy is 4.5 litres/100km, from 3.8 litres/100km previously. But amazingly, the test car averages 4.5 litres/100km, compared with 5.2 litres clocked by the pre-facelift car here.

The biggest change, however, has to be its prices. The Crosstar X is $145,999, while the single-tone Crosstar is $144,999 and the Luxe is $146,999. These prices are about $40,000 higher than the pre-facelift car in mid-2021, with the difference attributable to the rise in certificate of entitlement prices.

But at least it is more attractive and has more character than the bigger and costlier Toyota Corolla Cross.


Credits: The Straits Times Author: Christopher Tan

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