Thursday, April 23, 2015

Honda StepWGN - Fifth Generation (RP3/RP4)

2016 Honda StepWGN

2016 Honda StepWGN Spada

There is no further explanation why the StepWGN reached its fifth-generation but there is a main reason why they've regenerated Honda's family-oriented minivan suitable for the typical Asian family. Well, this is more than just a preparation for the StepWGN's 20th birthday next year since the first one came in 1996, the same year when the world introduced us games where we catch monsters or survive from a zombie-infested mansion, but the main points of the new model is the introduction of a very clever rear door and the first for a Honda vehicle; a VTEC Turbo engine. More for that later on but first, the design.

In the previous version, the StepWGN looked a bit too dawdy and awful like wearing your tighty-whities on your face for awful reasons and when you take it on the road, people beginning to think you came from a home where you didn't remove the weeds in your garden, your room gets hoarded like grandma's house, and your bathroom has some poop all over the floor. For the brand new version, the design is becoming more promising than ever thanks to Honda's "EXCITING H DESIGN!!!" language. From the normal StepWGN to the rather rakish StepWGN Spada, taking them out from a drive to the school or to work have never felt so civilized because with this new look, people think you're more of a harried hard-worker rather than a hoarder.

2016 Honda StepWGN interior

2016 Honda StepWGN Spada interior

Inside, the new StepWGN looks more decent than ever, although it still comes with the typical new Honda interior like you get in most modern Hondas built from 2013 and present like for example, the Honda Fit, but because this is much bigger than your average Fit, it's more than enough to fit seven or eight people inside with ample legroom even the most pickiest of the passengers like me have no problem when someone asked them to sit at the back for some reasons.

Being a family-oriented Honda minivan ever made, the new StepWGN also comes with some available features such as a tray where you can place your meals and some other stuff, a rolled sunshade that you can roll it up or down in case of harsh sunlight hits you on traffic, climate control, a rear entertainment system where you can watch some movies while stuck at traffic, and many many others.

Here's the kicker because for this new model, the StepWGN features a new type of rear door that no other minivan will ever have in their own life. It's called the "Wakuwaku door" and although it names like that furball I once watched on TV, this works in both ways; it can be lifted up for cargo purposes or by opening the half door to access the third row seating when one of the seats is folded. That's a very clever door mechanism and how come no other carmaker has ever done it? This is the Honda way and this "wakuwaku door" is a StepWGN exclusive feature, you won't find this anywhere else.

2016 Honda StepWGN Spada

2016 Honda StepWGN

Another new kicker for the new StepWGN is the first ever VTEC Turbo engine from Honda. Yes, finally, what we have here is a VTEC engine unlike any other VTEC engine known to speedo boys of many and it's a turbocharged version of every speedo boys' favorite engine. It's a 1.5L engine, designated as L15B, and it produces 150PS of power output and 203Nm. Fuel economy, depending on the variant, could be from 15 to 17km/L by JC08 Mode standards.

Yes, we do get the joy of driving the first ever turbocharged VTEC engine from Honda so might expect this engine can kick in like every VTEC should but sadly in this new model, especially with the CVT gearbox, it can't. This VTEC will never kick in because this is a minivan carrying a turbocharged VTEC engine and being minivans just ruin your manhood and inverts you to fatherhood because you are married, you got kids, you got work, and that's it. All work, no play. You won't find this turbocharged minivan to be very rewarding even in the corners because of that size. Even though it's now more relaxing and more comfortable than the normal version, it's still not quite a fun car for your night out. Yes, they can make better cars to carry your mates for a shopping trip but because of so much seriousness, you can't find the fun in this people carrier, not much.

And while taking caution in case of the world's most imperfect drivers, the new StepWGN comes ready with the available Honda Sensing suite of safety features such as Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control.

The new StepWGN starts at 2,288,000 Japanese Yen and that sounds quite a lot when you compare it with the likes of the Nissan Serena, Toyota Noah, Voxy, and Esquire, and the Mazda Biante, but remember, it has everything that no other rivals had. It has a turbocharged engine, a clever rear door, and a much roomier interior.

With the Golden Week fast approaching, looks like this new model could be one of the most suitable vehicles you can buy if you're planning a Golden Week vacation but because of the pricing, it's going to be quite an issue for this one.

Available colors: Premium Spice Purple Pearl, Premium Sparkle Black Pearl, Milk Glass Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, White Orchid Pearl, Super Platinum Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, Cobalt Blue Pearl, and Premium Deep Rosso Pearl.

Photo: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

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