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The Honda Jazz has been around our roads for a snip over twenty years now and with the success of small SUVs in recent years Honda decided to add some rugged appeal to its popular city car.

With an interior that is much more accommodating than the Jazz’s looks may make you believe, this ‘Crosstar’ model was introduced three years ago, and it features a fantastic hybrid powertrain. The SUV inspired styling of the new Jazz Crosstar e:HEV gives it a unique personality.

It’s everything you could ever want from a Jazz, including water-resistant upholstery and roof rails for an active lifestyle. The Crosstar wouldn’t look out of place at your local cold-water swimming meets, nor arriving by the riverside with a kayak strapped to the roof.

Priced from £28,550 the Jazz Crosstar features black mirror caps, heated front seats, GARMIN navigation, wireless Apple Carplay, My Honda+ compatible, water repellent upholstery, heated leather steering wheel, smart keyless entry and start, Honda CONNECT Infotainment system, ECON mode, stylish alloys, 16″ alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, rear view camera, parking sensors (front 4: rear 4), LED head/taillights, and Honda Sensing.

Paired to a 1.5-litre petrol engine is a two-motor e:HEV hybrid system, that intelligently switches between drive modes and delivers a maximum engine power output of 107 PS and 253 Nm of torque from its electric motors is the sole option for the Crosstar.

Around town (usually in EV mode) and on a normal commute this set-up is more than ideal, seeing 0-62 mph in 9.7 seconds. The electric motors give this car great mid-range support and being self-charging, this must be one of the most efficient non-plug-in hybrids on the market.

Things do get a little strained and vocal when in a rush along a B-road, which I found out when chasing this year’s Down Rally with a friend. That said, the Crosstar’s 30mm raised suspension made for a surprisingly comfortable day as this Jazz absorbed even the toughest of country roads to access the special stages.

Big Stevie summed it up, “She did alright. Was a real good going wee sewing machine.”

Small enough to manoeuvre around our lanes when you get to the road closed sign, assisted with a reversing camera, the Crosstar ride-height meant that parking in fields and on verges was not an issue. After a week’s mixed driving, mostly on country roads with a days spirited driving, the Jazz Crosstar returned circa 55 mpg.

The boot swallowed a substantial amount of camera and lens equipment, as well as coats, lunch bags and brollies, with ease. Rear stowable ‘magic seats’ create a vast cavern when you need a van, rather than rear passengers, with almost 1,200-litres of space on offer.

Quality around the cabin is better than utilitarian, but it’s still fairly durable in there. As the Crosstar comes with good spec as standard, buyers are treated to a subwoofer speaker in the boot, with eight other speakers providing a great soundtrack of your choice.

Infotainment wise, the system is very simple and of good size. I did struggle with Android Auto’s connectivity and ease of use, but I am on a very old phone which I feel is to blame rather than the system fitted in the car.

Overall, the Honda Jazz Crosstar would perfectly suit very active households, especially as a second car and a master of the school run. Winter field sports, and the gutters that come off pitch and into the car after, wont harm the durable Crosstar much, if it all. It’s a car that does what it says on the tin.

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Graham is a photojournalist and motoring writer with over 20 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and motoring events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers and Ulster Motor Writers Association.