Honda Stepwgn Spada

Honda Stepwgn Spada Review: “A riding feel that surpasses that of a minivan” by Takahito Nakamura

Since its first generation model, the Spada has been equipped with paddle shift, and recently, it has been developed to have a better maneuverability compared to the standard Stepwgn model. I was able to distinguish its big difference with the standard model.

I will have to write a detailed explanation about the Stepwgn’s Waku Waku Gate sometime, but in this article, I want to especially talk about the car’s maneuverability.

When I drove the Spada first, I thought that it really felt great. When I transferred to the Stepwgn, however, I noticed that it has a somewhat different riding feel. I’m not saying that the Stepwgn has a bad riding feel; it’s just that the Spada felt like it had more life and that it was more remarkable. After driving both, I talked to the engineer.

I asked the engineer, “Do the Spada and the Stepwgn have different wheels?” He said, “Yes, they are different. Particularly, the hub bearings of the Spada and the Stepwgn are different.” Overall, I have a firm impression towards the Spada. Its handling is also too excellent you can even say “it’s okay not to push it too much.” Having reached that point, this model is truly outstanding among the others in the minivan class.

The installation of its steering wheel was intially fixed into two points depending on its bush and band, but now it was fixed into four points and was made tighter. At first, I thought perhaps it would pick up excess vibrations, but then it actually gave me a very accurate straightforward answer–it does not have that kind of reaction. It does not only have a good handling but it also has a great riding feel.

It has a very flat riding if the road surface is good, and it has an excellent maneuverability. You might think that this is typical, but there are actually only few domestic cars that show flexibility and flatness in an even and good road surface; this vehicle attributes this to its damper and the fitting and rigidity of its wheels. I can say that the riding feel of the Stepwgn Spada was almost perfect.

One of the mechanisms it uses is a liquid bushing. I felt that the probability of having a crash on the road is reduced through this mechanism. The previous Stepwgn model had a large size but despite this, it has many open parts and we thoroughly revised the rigidity on those parts. Expanding the use of high tension materials, I think, changes a lot about its maneuverability.

As a result of increasing its overall height a little, one may call it a 3-number plate car. Am I the only one who thinks that it is somewhat sad because the width of this car has actually maintained? I feel that its tax rate will remain the same but I can’t help but think about the parking rules for 3-number plate cars in the Kansai area (do they still exist?). I strongly believe it would be greater if it was made into a 5-number plate car. But I forgot to ask if the 3-number plate is more excellent and why the chose it.

Whether to use the dive down style (to store under the floor) or the tip-up style depends on the automakers’ prerogative. According to Toyota, if the dive down style is applied to the cushion-made third row seats, it would be very poor, thus they are firm and particular about applying the tip-up style. That is according to Toyota; but this is about the third row seat of the Stepwgn.

It is clear that the third row is smaller than the first and second row seats, but above all, the structure of that seat is flat and the materials used in the Spada seats are slippery and not so good for your hips when you’re sitting. Also, when you embark through the Waku Waku Gate at the back, the seat on one side of it will probably remain stored under the floor when you start the car (if it’s not a full car model). If done that way, there won’t be a seat to accommodate passengers. Since this vehicle has a good handling, the driver might unconsciously enjoy the cornering, but the passengers on the third row might experience an “acrobatic” riding. If there are two passengers on the third row and the armrest is installed, it will be able to support their body.

Unfortunately, the minivan is not essential for an “empty nester” like me. I think I want to have this kind of minivan though.

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

Takahito Nakamura AJAJ Member
Born in 1952. He loves cars that adorned the pages of car magazines even at the young age of four. He started working part time at a Super Car shop. He also has an experience being an apprentice mechanic for Nova Engineering. After that, he went to Germany to study about cars. He entered the journalism industry in 1977 and has been a fixture in it for the last 36 years. He continues to be active as a freelance journalist.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)