The Stepwgn originally debuted as the FF1 box car in 1996. I was able to test drive its 5th generation model.
The new Stepwgn basically has a platform that’s carried over from the previous generations. Nonetheless, its various parts were refined, and through its rear shock parts layout perpendicularly, consequently affecting its maneuverability, they were able to reduce the friction.
It is newly equipped with a 1.5L 4-cylinder turbo engine. It generates 150hp with its so-called downsizing turbo. Even though its engine is equipped with a supercharger, it has a regular gasoline specification. Its combined transmission is set only with CVT.
The new Stepwgn also has two grades: the conventional standard grade, and the Spada grade. The Spada grade was the one set since the second generation model. It is created with an exterior that emphasizes the equipment of aeroparts. It previously had a wide type fender and was equipped with a 2.4L engine and a 3-number plate. However, the new model has an overall length of 4.7m registered with a 3-number plate, which is an unusual pattern. Compared to the standard type, the Spada is 45mm long. This 45mm long car, however, is equipped with aeroparts.
Aside from that, the tuning of its suspension was changed as well. Its tuning was basically made to have a sporty feel. Besides its shock absorbers and springs, the grade of its chassis including its bearings has been upgraded.
I was surprised at how comfortable the riding feel of this Spada, which was made to have a sporty tuning. Compared to the standard type, the movement of its rear suspension is better, and it has a calm feel to it. Since the standard and the Spada test drive cars were both equipped with the same tires of the same brand and size, this implies that the chassis, including its suspension, has indeed improved the Spada’s riding feel.
Its engine has a full torque that does not make you think it’s only 1.5L. Its 203Nm maximum torque can generate 1,600 rotations, and it can maintain a flat maneuverability up to 5,000 rotations. Its torque characteristics matches well with CVT, and you can climb harsh slopes with its full force and power. You won’t feel any turbo lag, and it is docile and manageable.
I can say that its cornering as a minivan has a sporty feel. When turning the car up and releasing its clip, the grip of its tires is transmitted to the steering wheel. Having a tight grip on its 4-wheels is definitely one characteristic of Honda cars. I enjoy driving it on winding roads, but if you drive it with this pace, you might be worried about your family on the back seat complaining about it.
Regarding its utility connection, you might want to try test driving the standard model so you can see for yourself.
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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)