There’s no doubting the popularity of baby SUVs these days - so Honda’s attempt to appeal to small car buyers with the Jazz Crosstar is entirely logical.

The Crosstar is a jacked-up version of the normal Jazz, with the addition of body cladding and roof rails for a more purposeful look.

In my view, it’s a vehicle that really benefits aesthetically from the more chunky pseudo-4x4 vibe - although you’d be unwise to interpret its more rugged look as a sign of ‘go anywhere’ off road ability.

On the road, however, it’s a very practical and enjoyable machine to drive. There’s one engine option - but it’s a good one!

A hybrid powertrain marries two electric motors with a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine.

The upshot of that combination is remarkable efficiency around town and surprisingly sprightly performance on the more open roads.

Gazette & Herald: The Honda Jazz Crosstar

In the urban environment, you’ll generally find sufficient charge in the lithium-ion battery to mean the vehicle can run in pure electric mode for a reasonable distance.

At faster speeds, the motors work in tandem, flicking between one power source and another depending on the prevailing conditions and offering 108bhp.

During a more urgent stint of rural driving, I was impressed by the way the gearbox reacted to throttle inputs. In a bid to make the Crosstar feel more like a normal automatic than a CVT, the gearbox includes ‘steps’ in the revs. It’s a system that works well and means the driving experience is more engaging.

In terms of looks, the Crosstar has a distinctive and likeable appearance.

This is made possible by features such as the unique front grille, black plastic cladding around the wheel arches, two tone paint and, as mentioned, those bolt-on roof rails.

Gazette & Herald: The Honda Jazz Crosstar

Step inside and you’ll find a very well thought out cabin. For the Crosstar version of the Jazz, Honda has added water repellent fabric upholstery, underlining the fact the car is aimed at those with an active lifestyle.

The lofty driving position offers a great outlook on the road ahead, with the panoramic view enhanced by a tall windscreen and thin front pillars.

There’s no shortage of adjustment to the driver’s seat and steering wheel, with every trim level also benefitting from height adjustment.

Meanwhile, the buttons on the dashboard are all positioned within nice reach, while the middle section of the dash is enriched by some softer touch materials, although there are some cheaper-feeling plastics lower down.

A leather covered steering wheel and gear lever lend the interior a bit more of a premium feel.

The nine-inch touchscreen is very clear and user-friendly, with the system including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, Bluetooth and DAB radio.

In terms of room, the Jazz’s somewhat boxy shape translates into oceans of interior space. A six footer will have no problem with head and leg room up front, while the rear seats are also incredibly spacious for a car in this class.

Gazette & Herald: The Honda Jazz Crosstar

The large interior is even more practical when you take into consideration Honda’s ‘magic seats’

These clever seats can be configured in various ways to give you more cabin space because the seat bases can be folded upwards to free up floor space. Alternatively, the rear seats can be folded flat to make space for bigger objects.

The boot is also very spacious, offering 298 litres, rising to 1199 with the rear seats folded.

The car also comes equipped with a wide range of safety technology, including collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning and lane keep assist.

The Jazz Crosstar is an appealing all-round package that scores highly on many fronts, especially its combined fuel economy and great interior space.

Honda Jazz Crosstar EX

PRICE: £24,585 on the road

ENGINE: 1.5-litre petrol with electric motor

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds and max speed of 109mph

ECONOMY: 58.9mpg combined and emissions of 109g/km

TRANSMISSION: CVT, front wheel drive

INSURANCE GROUP: 19A