New Honda Stepwgn

Honda Stepwgn Spada Review: “The Cool Spirit also has a pleasant feel and excellent user-friendliness” by Naoki Aoyama

The Cool Spirit grade has been set in the Spada, the flagship model of the new Stepwgn.

It is equipped with engine, CVT, big aero-type tailgate spoilers, and its exterior has LED lighting aligned at the front grille and an exclusive suspension (for FF type). Its chassis is the same as that of the Spada but the Cool Spirit grade is equipped with black combi car seats and an exclusive interior, paddle shift, and 17-inch tires.

The previous Spada Z Cool Spirit was popular for its maneuverability, like the M-Class minivan, but its riding feel was expectedly rough. In contrast with its low balanced footwork, it had less shock, noise and vibrations when I passed over manholes.

However, the new Cool Spirit is 1 inch bigger than the 17-inch tires for the Spada similar with the previous generation, and even though it shows a moderately tight riding feel, it has a distinctive footwork that is perfectly comfortable, which is not so different from a standard type Spada equipped with 16-inch tires. With this Cool Spirit grade, I can say that its riding feel has improved from the previous generation.

I want people to relish the comfortable riding feel of the Spada Cool Spirit. It will surely surprise you.

Its power steering is slightly heavier than the standard Spada. However, it has a stable maneuverability when you drive in town and park this model. If you’d like to drive on the mountain road in Hakone, this is a good one since it has the lowest rolling tendency, and it has the lowest balance among the series. Even if you drive fast, it will let you feel like you are driving a tall wagon.

Even though it only has a 1.5L turbo engine, its power performance is similar to the previous models with 2L engine. Particularly, when you drive on mountainous roads, you have a better room for full riding compared to other vehicles. Its torque does not make you feel the weight of the car as its light maneuverability is reliable and its comfortability is beyond expectations.

I experienced driving it in a test course before it was released in the market; its suspension has excellent balance both in the front and rear parts, it has a perfect road grip, and it is easy to turn. You can drive on a mountainous road with ease.

It is splendidly quiet like the standard Spada. The third row seat has become more practical because you can now embark and disembark using the subdoor of the Waku Waku Gate (disregarding, however, the feeling when you take the seat), and the silence due to soundproofing in the interior will make conversations of passengers sitting in the first to third row seats easier.

However, its fuel efficiency is slightly lower and the maximum output of the new Stepwgn is 17km/L, and even if it is set in FF layout, it is the same with the standard 4WD model with 15.4km/L. Its minimum turning radius is 5.4m/5.7m, thus I feel somewhat uneasy about turning and parking the vehicle (the previous model is 5.3/5.6m).

Even though the price of the Spada Cool Spirit is almost the same as the previous generation, its class level is constant with the Odyssey G at 2.9 million yen. If you want to have it equipped with Honda Sending safety technology when you order in advance, this model will cost 3 million yen in total. The new Stepwgn has a considerably good maneuverability even with the standard type (G costs 2.49 million yen). I tend to think if its aero-type bold interior and exterior parts as a family van and tires with huge diameters are really necessary.

But I think that the most fascinating points about the new Stepwagon are the possibility of embarking and disembarking in the subdoor of the Waku Waku Gate, the pleasant and good riding feel, its downsized turbo engine torque performance and its Honda Sensing option.

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

Naoki Aoyama| Motor Journalist/ Dock Life Journalist

He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer to specialist on automotive magazines, then general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publication of pet (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related television program as well as events. He is currently, expanding his career as a dog life producer.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)