The new Honda Step WGN’s engine downgrade puts it at the top of the gasoline-engine minivan class for fuel efficiency. The engine has been downgraded from the previous models’ 2L naturally aspirated engine to a 1.5L direct-injection turbo. The new gas mileage it achieves through the change is 17.0km/L, a 13% improvement over the older one. The new Step WGN was unveiled on April 23.
Its fuel economy is still significantly below that of its main competitor, the Toyota Noah/Voxy hybrid model, which gets 23.8km/L.
Hitoshi Hakamada of Honda R&D, who was in charge of the new Step WGN’s development, says, “Speaking in terms of fuel economy only, they have an advantage.” However, he says he knows how a hybrid drives and he’s confident that the Step WGN offers a more exhilarating ride.
He further explained, “With the 2L naturally aspirated engine, unless you really crank up the RPM, you don’t get much torque. For example, if you’re driving up a hill with the car full of passengers, you really need to work the engine. With the new engine, even at low speed you can glide right up the hill. It also offers excellent acceleration on high-speed roadways.
“I’d say it offers the kind of power that makes you forget you’re driving a minivan. Customers make their purchases based on the whole package, so the Honda Step WGN won’t lose out.”
(Translated by Greg Scott)