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Honda Stream 1.8L Auto
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Honda Stream Review
It’s often said that real genius is never appreciated until it’s gone. Take Honda’s Stream as an example. The original flopped in the UK, but just as the old model has been killed off, the market for car-like people carriers has gone through the roof with the launch of Ford’s S-MAX.
Where its predecessor looked awkward from some angles, the new Stream has a chiselled appearance inspired by the firm’s latest Civic and Accord.
Inside, the cabin layout is first-rate. Three rows of seats are mounted on a low, flat floor allowing adults to sit com-fortably in any of the Honda’s seven chairs. So impressive is the third row that even six-footers can travel long distances without feeling cramped.
The reason the newcomer is so much more spacious than its predecessor is that it’s bigger. It has gained 20mm in length, which is all added where it’s most useful – between the wheels. However, it is 45mm lower.
While the car driven here is still officially a prototype, it won’t differ significantly from the production model. Honda claims it wants to make some improvements to the cabin, but the Civic-style dashboard already seems attractively laid out and well built. The Stream will be offered with two petrol engines. Entry-level variants feature the 1.8 unit from the Civic, but a new 2.0-litre i-VTEC has been developed with Honda’s latest lightweight technology.
The fresh motor offers a far broader powerband than its predecessor, delivering 148bhp and 190Nm of torque. Mated to a smooth five-speed manual or CVT box, the 2.0-litre is quick off the mark, gets up to speed effortlessly and pumps out seamless acceleration from 2,000rpm all the way to 6,000rpm. However, the sporty CVT-equipped RS-Z version sounds noisy when pushed.
Thanks in part to the racy variant’s stiffened suspension, the Stream handles like a sporty saloon. Its steering is much more precise than the previous-generation model’s, and the MPV corners with little body roll and excellent stability. What’s more, engineers have all but eradicated understeer.
So the Stream has plenty to offer, but Honda is still smarting from the outgoing variant’s slow sales. As a result, the new machine won’t come to Europe – a pity, as it could be a big hit in the UK.
Check out the price list here.
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