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Toyota Yaris vs Honda Jazz – which is best?

Ignore the petrolheads – hybrid hatchbacks like the Toyota Yaris and Honda Jazz are great little cars.

They're smartly designed, well built and affordable to run. Plus, these automatic-only models take the strain off your clutch foot when crawling through the concrete jungle.

With both the Toyota Yaris and Honda Jazz returning such strong report cards, which deserves your hard-earned money?

Toyota Yaris vs Honda Jazz compared

Toyota YarisHonda Jazz


  • Slightly more fun to drive
  • A touch more affordable
  • Quirky exterior styling


  • Class-leading practicality
  • Cabin feels more modern
  • Slicker infotainment system


  • Tight back seats
  • Mediocre infotainment system
  • Trickier boot access


  • Very slightly more expensive
  • A little less involving to drive
  • Mini-MPV styling might not suit everyone

Styling and design

Toyota Yaris vs Honda Jazz front
Toyota Yaris (left) vs Honda Jazz (right)

The Yaris and Jazz both compete in the same small-hatchback class but have taken quite different approaches to their styling – especially if you compare them against their previous-generation cars.

Toyota has taken a more radical, clean-sheet approach with the latest Yaris. It's thrown out the anonymous styling of the old model and given the current car an all-new look. Distinctive features include the rounded, bubble-like roofline and the flared wheel arches that give the little hatchback a cute-yet-planted stance. The front end gets the brand's latest family face, with angry-looking headlights and a deep-chinned black grille.

Honda, on the other hand, has taken an evolutionary approach with the latest Jazz. The egg-shaped bodywork will feel familiar to previous Jazz owners, although many of its predecessor's fussy styling details have been trimmed, giving it a cleaner overall look. Try as it might, however, the Jazz can't totally hide its tall-roofed, mini-MPV proportions, which might put some style-conscious buyers off.

Interior and practicality

Toyota Yaris vs Honda Jazz interior
Toyota Yaris (left) vs Honda Jazz (right)

Both brands have worked wonders inside these two cars compared to their plasticky predecessors. The Yaris has a simple, clean dashboard with a handful of physical buttons and knobs for the climate and stereo controls. We also like the modern-looking 'binocular' dials fitted to mid-range models and up. The Jazz, however, is even more of a revelation, with contemporary cloth upholstery, a sharp infotainment screen and a nifty two-spoke steering wheel helping it feel bang-up-to-date.

The Toyota's infotainment screen isn't bad – it includes all the functions you'd expect such as Bluetooth and DAB radio, but the interface looks both a little dated and a bit fussy. Thankfully, all models include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to bypass the built-in software and use just the apps you want. The Jazz edges the infotainment win, however, with a more modern looking screen featuring clean, sharp graphics that are easier to read at a glance, along with faster responses to your touch when you prod an on-screen option.

As for practicality, the Jazz scores its most decisive win here. The Yaris offers as much space as you could reasonably expect in a small hatch – the back seats are a little tight and taller adults will quickly run out of head and legroom, with access also being compromised by the rounded roofline. The Jazz, on the other hand, is incredibly spacious for its size, with plentiful room for tall adults in the back, a competitive boot with a low load lip, and its signature 'magic' rear seats with flip-up bases allowing you to store bulky items in the vast footwell.

Engines and performance

Toyota Yaris vs Honda Jazz driver's dials
Toyota Yaris (left) vs Honda Jazz (right)

Enthusiasts will roll their eyes at the thought of driving an automatic-only hybrid hatchback. If they took either the Yaris or the Jazz out for a spin, however, they might be pleasantly surprised. Clearly, neither car is set up for hot hatch thrills – check out the Toyota GR Yaris if that's your cup of tea – but both are easy, effortless and, dare we say it, fairly fun to drive.

Starting with the Toyota, urban performance is impressive. The hybrid electric motor does most of the legwork when shuffling through traffic, giving the Yaris a zippy, responsive feeling, reminiscent of the punch you get in a full EV, all while returning excellent mpg figures. Merging onto the motorway means using more throttle and calls the Yaris' 1.5-litre petrol engine into life. With both power sources working together, total performance isn't exactly exciting, but it's more than enough to keep up with fast motorway traffic without feeling strained.

The Jazz also features a brawny hybrid motor working alongside a 1.5-litre petrol engine so its driving experience is broadly similar to the Yaris. Off-the-line performance is strong and responsive, which translates to a very easy driving experience through traffic, letting you cut into gaps at a moment's notice. Full throttle, like the Toyota, results in flare of engine noise as both power sources work together but does, at least, return enough acceleration to keep pace on faster roads.


Toyota Yaris vs Honda Jazz side driving
Toyota Yaris (left) vs Honda Jazz (right)

The most recent Yaris, in particular, has substantially upgraded its driving experience compared to its predecessors. It has fairly firm suspension so does get thumped about by the worst road ruts, but it also resists body roll like a champ through corners. Reasonably quick steering gives the front end an agile sensation that pairs well with the car's planted stance. It's not quite as playful as cars like the Ford Fiesta, but is composed on the move and far more fun to drive than any Yaris that's gone before it.

There's little to criticise about the way the Jazz goes down the road, but it places a greater focus on being easy to drive and can't quite match the Yaris' newfound athleticism. Like the Toyota, the Honda is a little on the firm side, but does feel fractionally more top heavy through corners resulting in a little more body roll. Overall composure is generally unflappable, however, unless you drive like a hooligan, and there's little guesswork required in terms of how much steering input or pedal pressure you'll need to use.

Value and reliability

Toyota Yaris vs Honda Jazz rear seats
Toyota Yaris (left) vs Honda Jazz (right)

Based purely on purchase price, the Yaris is like-for-like slightly more affordable than the Jazz. That said, prices are generally quite close, so a small compromise on the Jazz's age or mileage will easily bring it directly in line with the Yaris. Residual values are expected to be robust for both cars, too, thanks to their hard-earned reputations as dependable, efficient urban transport. Equipment levels are also very close, although the Yaris scores an extra half point for its standard reversing camera – a feature reserved for top-spec Jazz models only.

Both Toyota and Honda have strong reputations for reliability so the Yaris and Jazz should provide years of trouble-free motoring if you keep up with their regular service intervals. If you keep your Yaris serviced with Toyota, the brand will honour the car's warranty for up to 10 years after its initial purchase, giving it a very slight edge in this category. Consider picking up an extended warranty for either car to protect you from the risk of unexpected repair costs.

Which is best?

Toyota Yaris vs Honda Jazz rear three quarter
Toyota Yaris (left, in GR Sport trim) vs Honda Jazz (right, in Crosstar trim)

Considering how close the Yaris and Jazz are in many respects, there isn't really a weak choice between them. If you prefer the look or the technology of one model over the other, you're unlikely to get buyer's remorse if you put it in your parking space.

You might prefer the Yaris for its slightly lower purchase price or for its more traditional 'hatchback-like' styling. It's also a bit more fun to drive so, if you'll only be taking the occasional passenger, it might end up being the more entertaining choice for more of the time.

The Jazz is an outstanding car to live with, however. Its practicality shames many cars from the class above, let alone models it directly competes with, and it has a contemporary look and feel from behind the wheel. This is further aided by a slightly slicker infotainment system that's a little easier to use than the Toyota's.

Check out used Toyota Yaris and used Honda Jazz cars at Motorpoint. For more options, see our picks for the best small cars you can buy.