Honda Stepwgn

Honda Stepwgn Review: “It has a quiet, smooth, and easy to use packaging” by Yoichi Moroboshi

The 5 number minivans lined up with kei cars have become very important products in the Japanese automobile market. Each automaker have been developing their own models with special features, Honda included. Honda downsized the turbo engine of the new Stepwgn and used a full blown concept for the backdoor to appeal to their customers.

First, let’s talk about the downsizing of the turbo engine. Its 1.5L turbo engine displacement and bore pitch are the same with the Fit, but other materials are all newly designed. Its maximum output is 150hp, and its maximum torque is 203Nm. It can mantain a stable maneuverability with a minimum of 1,600 rotations to 5,000 rotations. You can really feel a very easy, but powerful maneuverability with its combination with the CVT. Its engine doesn’t seem forced even when climbing in tight sloped areas. Even if the engine rotation is maintained at a low rate, it shows a powerful feeling. Needless to say, it is also equipped with an Idling Stop System. Usually, we use a starter motor when restarting the car. In this car, however trivial, the Idling Stop System holds the noise down a little bit. It does not have a turbo lag, so you can savor a smooth, ideal acceleration.

Its chassis is also finished with a smooth surface that reduces the amount of friction. Its front and rear suspensions can move smoothly, and you can feel that its tires have a certain grip on the road surface. Particularly, its rear suspension that has a vertically equipped shock absorber has a smooth maneuverability, and it also has a smooth, effective damping. You cannot feel any difficulty when passing through little bumps on the road. With an enhanced body rigidity and optimized soundproofing, the car interior is more silent; thus it would not be anymore difficult for passengers in the third row seat and the driver to communicate.

The new Stepwgn has a third row seat that can be rolled under the floor just like the previous model. At the same time, you can also expand its baggage compartment. Thus, its left and right interior parts totally vary from the previous model. Also, the Stepwgn is equipped with the best feature that is Waku Waku Gate. The Waku Waku Gate does not only let you open its tailgate upwards, but you can also open it sidewards, like a typical door.

You can enter through the Waku Waku Gate, fold the left side of the third row seat, and sit on the right side of the third row seat. If you use the standard type captain’s chairs for the second row (bench seat is just an option), you can also move towards the second row seat. If you bring only few luggages, you can use the Waku Waku Gate in storing your luggages even without fully opening its tailgate.

The height of the new Stepwgn’s interior was made higher by 30mm. Its engine room was reduced by 40mm, and since that part divides the front and third row seats, its side glasses are brought closer to the seats; it is designed that way so you may extensively utilize its interior space. Considering the second row seats are all captain’s chairs, all passengers have two drink holders each, thus you can keep a total of 16 drinks inside the car. It is also equipped with 10 convenient hooks.

Before I go out of the vehicle, I typically inspect the luggages I load in the car, and I can say that this vehicle certainly shows a high performance in terms of utility.

â–  5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★
Interior / Comfort: ★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★

Yoichi Moroboshi | Automotive Journalist
He became a freelance journalist at 23 years old after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He has competed in races like the Fuji Freshman series in his late 20s for seven years. He does motorsports photography and works as a photojournalist. His hobby is cooking.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)