Car Test   R0227
April 2002
  Honda Stream
Printer Friendly Page Featured model: 1.7SE
CALL IT AN MPV IF YOU MUST, BUT HONDA WOULD PREFER us to think of the Stream as something rather different: a rakish, coupé-style SAV (sports activity vehicle).
   All right, then, but just how sporty is this slippery looking, Civic-based seven seater? Well, in two-litre/153bhp form it is, indeed, a really swift performer, clocking 30-70mph in 10sec or so on its way to a top speed of about 127mph. (It’s also available, incidentally, with an excellent sequential shift automatic transmission.) This is the engine of choice if you regularly travel with a full load of passengers.
   Nevertheless, this smooth, rev-happy “little” 1.7 doesn’t disgrace itself. Although red-lined at 6800rpm, it’s much less “peaky” than previous VTEC engines, but does, however, feel (and sound) particularly eager beyond 3500.
   Performance is aided by a first-rate gearchange emerging conveniently from the facia, with third gear great for overtaking. Low overall gearing will have you fumbling for a non-existent sixth gear on a motorway, though.
   Rutted roads can create a jiggly, jostly ride, but generally the suspension is comfortably composed, with well-controlled cornering roll. The Stream is also strong on grip, which helps to make it surprisingly swervable for a sizeable seven-seater that doesn’t feel its bulk when hurried along twisting roads.
   The trouble with the driving position is that the steering wheel adjusts only for rake, and the higher you raise the seat, the less thigh support you get. You’re also faced with a dark, sombre dash and gloomy instruments, but at least there are practical stalk controls, a decent left footrest and sensibly high radio and heater push buttons.
   Honda’s claim that the Stream “seats seven adults in comfort” should be taken with a pinch of salt. Only two full-size sliding and reclining seats form the centre row, so a third passenger sits on the 50/50 split, with no side shaping for support. That said, all three enjoy lots of leg-stretching space, plenty of footroom and generous headroom.
   Not so in the snug, one-piece rear bench seat, though, which is best suited to youngsters. And because it’s a bench, you can’t seat six and have an L-shaped luggage area. With two up and the centre seats slid forward, a spacious carpeted load deck opens up. It’s more of a palaver than with the Zafira, but it’s the next best thing.
  considering size, price and rivals
Overtaking Ability
Fuel Economy
Safety Euro NCAP
Security, theft of
theft from
  • deep, well-shaped sun visors
  • front seats padded at rear shin level
  • smoothly damped grab handles
  • plenty of drinks holders
  • dirt shield on underslung spare wheel
  • poor toe room for front passenger
  • rear centre seatbelt lap-type only
  • mirror/sunroof switches poorly sited
  • no side strakes to prevent door dents
  • rear bumper lacks scuff protection
Where the Stream shines is in its superb power train and entertaining handling. But if you're looking for something special in terms of space utilisation, seat folding and seven-seater comfort you'll be disappointed. It's a pity, too, that the gloomy interior is so ultra-conservative, with so many missed opportunities to provide a few surprise and delight features. Close rivals must be breathing a sigh of relief.

engine 1668cc, 4-cylinder, petrol; 123bhp at 6300rpm, 114 lb ft at 4800rpm; belt-driven single overhead camshaft, 16 valves   transmission 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive; 18.5mph/1000rpm in 5th, 15.4 in 4th
suspension front: MacPherson coil spring/damper struts, anti-roll bar. Rear: double wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar   steering hydraulic power assistance; 2.8 turns lock-to-lock; 11.5m diameter turning circle between kerbs (16.1m for one turn of the wheel)
brakes ventilated discs front, solid discs rear, with electronic anti-lock, brake force distribution and brake assist controls   wheels/tyres 6in alloy with 195/65R15V tyres (Dunlop SP Sport 230 on test car); full-size (steel) spare

size and type upper medium (mid-priced) MPV (7 seats)   trim levels 1.7S, 1.7SE, 2.0SE Sport
engines 4cyl/1.7 litre/123bhp, 4/2.0/154; diesel: none   drive front-wheel drive. 5-speed manual; (5-speed stepped automatic with sequential shift override available on 2.0)

HOW THE STREAM 1.7SE COMPARES# engine (cyl/cc/bhp) revs at 70mph (rpm) 30-70 through gears (sec) 30-70mph in 4th/5th gears (sec) fuel (mpg/CO2) brakes from 50mph (kg/m) maximum legroom - front (cm) typical leg/kneeroom - rear (cm) steering turns/circle (m) overall length (cm)
Honda Stream 1.7SE (7) 4/1668/123 3795 10.8 19.3/25.4 34/183 14/26 108 104/74m 2.8/11.5 457
Citroën Picasso 1.8i (5) 4/1749/117 3205 10.6 17.6/27.6 35/187 18/27.5 106 95/72 3.3/11.9 428
Fiat Multipla 1.6i (6) 4/1581/103 3780 12.7 20.6/29.2 29/205 20/27.5 106 114/83 2.8/11.1 399
Renault Scenic 2.0 16v (5) 4/1998/140 3120 9.7 17.6/26.9 30/190 50/24 106 102/76m 3.5/10.6 413
Toyota Avensis Verso 2.0 (7) 4/1998/147 3085 9.7 16.8/26.6 31/202 18/25.5 111 104/85m 3.3/11.2 465
Vauxhall Zafira 1.8i (7) 4/1796/113 3630 11.3 16.3/22.4 32/204 14/27 103 102/75m 3.2/11.0 432
  # Max seating capacity in brackets  m mid row seats fully back

Driver's seat short but, like wheel, adjustable for height. Horde of head restraints ruins otherwise good vision. Gear lever/shift excellent and most controls well placed. Red and black instruments awful.
Stream shows sporting intent with its nimble nature and an agility not expected of sizeable multi-seater. Nicely weighted, free-flowing steering, but biggish turning circle. Some waver in a sidewind.
Ride can be lively on bumpy back roads, but otherwise proves comfortably absorbent. Sliding/reclining centre seats, aircon and sunroof standard. Tyres relatively quiet, but too much wind noise.

Smooth and eager 1.7 engine gives lightly laden Stream livelier-than-expected performance. Loves to rev, but not as "top-endy" as other VTEC Hondas. Needs a sixth gear to quell motorway busyness.
  acceleration in seconds through gears 3rd gear 4th gear 5th gear
  20-40mph 3.4 7.0 9.4 12.1
  30-50mph 4.2 6.9 9.4 12.2
  40-60mph 5.2 6.8 9.7 12.5
  50-70mph 6.6 7.0 9.9 13.2
  30-70mph 10.8 13.9 19.3 25.4
  max speed in each gear (* using 6700rpm for best acceleration)
     gear      1st*      2nd*      3rd*      4th*      5th
     speed (mph)      28      56      82      104      118

A good result considering Stream is low geared and lively - expect over 40mpg if you're light footed. No trip computer. Easy-filling tank with a fair range between forecourt visits. Group 9 insurance.
    AA test results (mpg)  
    worst (hard/urban) 23  
    best (gentle/rural) 42  
    overall mpg 34  
    realistic tank capacity 47litres  
    realistic tank range 350miles  
    official figures (mpg)
    urban 28.5
    extra urban 43.5
    combined 36.7
    CO2 emissions 183g/km
    car tax band D

Reassuring all-disc brakes feature brake assist, ABS, EBD; handbrake exemplary. Features include front side airbags, Isofix child seat mounts, six 3-point seatbelts - lap belt only at mid-row centre.
  Results for 2001 model year
  from 50mph (with brake assist, EBD and ABS)
front impact     63%
side impact     89%
overall     76%
overall safety rating    
pedestrian rating    
pedal load     stopping distance
unhurried 10kg     30m
sudden 14kg     26m best stop
+4kg ie 18kg     27m ABS on
fade resistance/consistency    
Euro NCAP = European New Car Assessment Programme: independent crash safety tests evaluating protection for occupants and pedestrians in an offset frontal collision, side impacts and pedestrian strike conditions
click here for more NCAP details/test results etc.

Ample room for five, though centre rear passenger gets a raw deal. Rearmost (reclining) bench suits youngsters or small elders and folds away to form a large load deck. Tiny boot with seven up.
  in centimetres (5-door MPV)
  length 457
  width - including mirrors 192
    - mirrors folded 174
  height (no roof bars) 159
  load sill height (inside/outside) 0 (14)/64
  turns lock-to-lock 2.8
  turning circle (metres) 11.5
  easy to park/garage?
  front - legroom 90-108
    - headroom 92-98x
  middle - legroom 104$
    - kneeroom 74
    - headroom 101
    - hiproom 130
  rear - typical legroom 79
    - typical kneeroom 61
    - headroom 90
    - hiproom 107
  load area (7:5 seats in use)
  load space
(litres/cu ft)
  load length (7s/5/2) 34/101-191
  load length to facia 273
  load width 108-133
  load height (to cover/to top of aperture) 36 76/90
$ All middle and rear row dimensions measured with mid row seats fully back  x with sunroof

Plenty here to make a thief think twice: a perimeter alarm, rolling-code immobiliser, deadlocks and remote keyless entry. Locking nuts protect the alloy wheels and there's a high-security radio/cassette stereo.
central locking  
remote control  
remote window closing  
alarm (perimeter + interior)   
self-locking (static + drive off)   
two-stage unlocking   
attack-resistant glass   
AA load area security rating
=standard    =option    =not available
NCSR - "theft of"
NCSR - "theft from"
NCSR = New Car Security Ratings: a 1 to 5 star system which rates anti-theft protection, both of the car itself and the theft of valuables from within the car
Visit for more details
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