Honda-The Power of Dreams
Honda Introduces All-New Step Wagon

TOKYO, Japan, May 26, 2005 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced the release in Japan of an all-new Step Wagon (Step WGN). Featuring a low-floor, low-center-of-gravity platform, the new Step WGN offers superior comfort and a compact body along with sedan-like handling and maneuverability. Attractive features such as floor panel design, a first for a production passenger minivan, help create a comfortable and inviting interior. The new Step WGN goes on sale May 27 at Honda automobile dealers throughout Japan.


Step Wagon Type-G (FF)


This all-new third generation Step WGN combines the spaciousness of a minivan with the driving performance of a sedan. Based on the concept “Fun-derful Mover,” the new Step WGN offers high-value, next-generation utility in a comfortable vehicle that’s fun to drive and fun to use.

The new Step WGN is built on Honda’s unique low-floor, low-center-of-gravity platform, and offers the same interior height as the previous model. However, the vehicle’s center of gravity is 40mm*1 lower and floor height 60mm lower*1. Reductions in vehicle height of 75mm*1 and in vehicle length of 45mm make the new Step WGN more compact and give it enhanced drivability, yet the interior is spacious and accommodating. The lower center of gravity helps improve maneuverability, resulting in sedan-like handling, stability, and ride comfort. The highly functional packaging of the new Step WGN makes it ideal for a wide variety of everyday activities.

Cabin features such as floor paneling that provides the look and convenience of a hard wood floor; an optional six-panel skylight for soft, natural illumination; and flexible seat configurations contribute to the relaxed, spacious ambience of this high-value next-generation minivan utility vehicle.
*1 Comparison with previous FF models according to Honda internal calculations.


Major Features of the All-New Step WGN

< Packaging and utility >
 
· Spacious, easy-to-drive, and with sedan-like dynamic performance, the new Step WGN is based on Honda’s innovative low-floor, low-center-of-gravity platform. This design maintains the Step WGN’s ceiling height of 1,350 mm while lowering vehicle height by 75 mm*2. A compact engine compartment allows for an even shorter-nose front end, maintaining the Step WGN’s cabin length at a generous 2,800 mm*3 while reducing overall vehicle length by 45 mm*2. The result is a spacious interior in a compact, easy-to-maneuver body.

· Floor height at the second seat row is 390 mm*4, highest in the minivan class. While increasing leg room for second-row passengers, the one-step floor also makes it easy for children and older passengers to enter and exit the vehicle.

· More comfortable than ever, the Step WGN’s second- and third-row seats accommodate passengers and cargo in a wide variety of configurations. The standard second-row tumble seats fold away with a single simple action. Optional captain seats for the second row allow passengers to sit facing each other and feature a 6:4 tip-up, sliding mechanism*5. The third-row seats are also lighter and more compact, making them easier than ever to stow .

· The second- and third-row seats can also be stowed to create a 1,675 mm-long*4 cargo space with a generous 1,541 l*6 luggage capacity (figures are for tumble seat-equipped vehicles).

· Two large-capacity covered storage compartments have been added to the upper instrument panel, and the glove compartment is nearly twice as large as in the previous model. There is abundant space in all three seat rows for storing personal belongings and small items.

· Many features have been optimized for improved visibility and to reduce blind spots: the low and unobtrusive meter panel; low, flat windshield wipers; large triangular vent windows; the specially shaped front pillar cross-section and third-row headrests; and specially positioned door mirrors.

· The tilting/telescoping steering column, which for allows a driver-optimized steering position, is standard on all types.

· Even with a longer wheelbase and wider tires, all versions of the new Step WGN boast the smallest turning radius in the minivan class: 5.3 m*7.

 
*2 Comparison with previous FF models according to Honda internal calculations.
*3 On vehicles equipped with the Honda HDD InterNavi system; 2,775 mm for other vehicles.
*4 FF, according to Honda internal calculations.
*5 Factory option for G/L, G/S, G/LS Packages and 24Z.
*6 According to Honda VDA calculations.
*7 2.0 l or higher, Japan "5-number" (less than 1.7m width, less than 4.7m length) minivan class.

< Styling >
Exterior Styling
 
· The sleek and dynamic styling of the new Step WGN complements its dynamic performance and spacious eight-passenger cabin.

· The sleek aerodynamic upper body narrows toward the rear, while the rectangular lower body trims the airflow. The Dynamic Character Line sets off these two areas for an especially distinctive appearance.

· The smooth bumper, boldly defined grill, and three-dimensional, oversized headlights make the front view of the Step WGN substantial and distinctive.

· From the side, the short nose and long wheelbase convey the spaciousness of the cabin, while the deep, gradually widening Dynamic Character Line symbolizes the Step WGN’s dynamic performance.

· The square shape of the rear reflects the spaciousness of the Step WGN’s cabin, and the wide combination taillights emphasize the wide-stance, low-center-of-gravity design of the automobile.

· Front and rear lower skirts, tailgate spoiler, and dark chrome headlight sub-reflectors—options for the sporty models*8—further accent the Step WGN’s low center of gravity and premium appearance.

 
*8 Available for G/S, G/LS Packages and 24Z.

Interior Styling
 
· The interior of the all-new Step WGN is spacious, inviting, and relaxed—providing all the comfort and amenities of one’s own living room at home.

· For the first time in a production passenger minivan, optional floor paneling*9 for the second- and third-row seats is available in either Natural or Brown to complement the interior color schemes—a unique feature that makes the Step WGN even more comfortable and inviting.

· The optional 500 mm*10 by 1,680 mm long*10 skylight*11 provides gentle and natural illumination throughout the entire cabin. The white laminated glass of the skylight softens bright sunlight, while a six-panel sunshade allows for a variety of shading configurations.

· The large and amply cushioned second-row seats provide plenty of room to relax, with cushion depth and frame width reconfigured to offer even more secure and comfortable support.

· The seat cover colors and textures have also been coordinated with the interior color schemes to provide a completely unified and pleasing environment. Available in Natural Ivory, Pop Orange, Chic Gray, and Cool Black.

 
*9 Factory option for G, G /L,G/S, G/LS, and 24Z FF.
*10 External dimensions according to Honda internal calculations.
*11 Factory option for G, G/L, G/S, G/LS Packages and 24Z.

< Powertrain >
Engine

 
· The economical and environmentally friendly DOHC i-VTEC engine combines Honda’s Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) with Variable Valve Timing Control (VTC), which optimizes intake valve timing in response to engine load. The 2.0 lDOHC i-VTEC engine provides smooth acceleration from low speeds, and the 2.4 l DOHC i-VTEC engine provides high-torque output at any engine speed.
The 2.0 l DOHC i-VTEC engine features a 114 kW (155 PS) power rating with 188 N·m (19.2 kg·m) of torque*12.
The 2.4 l DOHC i-VTEC engine features a 119 kW (162 PS) power rating with 218 N·m (22.2 kg·m) of torque*13.


· DBW (Drive By Wire) electronic throttle control optimizes throttle characteristics in accordance with vehicle speed, providing the driver greater control. The transmission and TCS (Traction Control System) work in combination to provide smoother torque transmission and better fuel economy.

 
*12 Net values for B, G, G/L, G/S, G/LS Packages, G/Side Lift-up Seat, and G/Passenger Lift-up Seat.
*13 Net values for 24Z.


Transmission

 
· The 24Z FF’s CVT (continuously variable transmission) delivers smooth, seamless acceleration, and the torque converter assures powerful starts; together they generate highly responsive power at all rpm ranges. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shift features 7-speed mode for a manual-shift feel.

· The new Step WGN comes with one of two automatic transmissions designed to take full advantage of the engine’s dynamic performance and fuel economy: a four-speed in the B and G, and a five-speed in the 24Z 4WD.

· The Step WGN’s ECON mode, standard on all types, optimizes performance of the engine, transmission, and air conditioner to achieve excellent fuel economy with a smooth ride.

< Chassis and Body >
 
· The new low-floor, low-center-of-gravity platform, including a newly designed rear suspension and fuel tank, reduces the roll tendency often observed in minivans with high centers of gravity. Optimized suspension settings and high-rigidity mounts allow for highly stable handling as well as superior ride comfort.

· The reduced front and rear overhangs, newly designed suspension, and lower center of gravity all help reduce the moment of inertia, and the Step WGN’s aerodynamic characteristics have also been improved. As a result, freeway cruising stability and resistance to the effects of crosswinds have both significantly increased.

· Increased rigidity throughout the body and highly rigid support of the sliding doors and tailgate are important factors in the Step WGN’s sedan-like handling stability and ride comfort.

· A secondary balancer suppresses engine vibration and, in combination with acoustic insulation, helps reduce engine noise. Optimized acoustic materials reduce road noise to create a quiet cabin in which conversation can be enjoyed in any seat.

< Advanced Features >
 
· The new Step WGN is equipped with the Intelligent Highway Cruise Control (IHCC)*14 vehicle speed and distance control system, which assesses driving conditions using data from a millimeter-wave radar unit built into the front grill of the vehicle that measures the distance to the vehicle ahead, along with data from speed and yaw rate sensors. In addition to maintaining the vehicle at a set speed, this cruise control system automatically regulates vehicle speed and distance depending on whether or not there is a vehicle in the same lane ahead.

· The Honda HDD InterNavi System with Progressive Commander*15 features an 8-inch-wide display positioned for easy visibility to minimize the need for the driver to shift his or her line of sight. The many functions made possible thanks to the ample information storage and retrieval made possible by the system’s high-capacity hard disk drive can be accessed via the Progressive Commander, located within easy reach of the driver. New telecommunications technology features include Bluetooth*16 compatibility for wireless connectivity with mobile phones.

 
*14 Factory option for G/L, G/S, G/LS Packages and 24Z.
*15 Factory option for G, G/L, G/S, G/LS Packages, G/Side Lift-up Seat, G/Passenger Lift-up Seat, and 24Z.
*16 Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.


< Safety Performance >
 
· The Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system—which includes the Antilock Brake System (ABS), Traction Control System (TCS), and sideslip control*17—works in combination with the DBW electronic throttle control that optimizes engine torque to achieve precision handling.

· The Collision Mitigation System (CMS)*18 uses a millimeter-wave radar to calculate the distance between the Step WGN and the vehicle ahead. If the system determines that a collision is likely, it sounds an alarm and provides a tactile warning, applies light breaking to prompt the driver to take preventative action. Should the system continue to sense that the situation is dangerous, the brake assist function compensates for insufficient pedal pressure to mitigate impact damage.

· E-Pretensioners (driver and front passenger seats)*18 work in concert with the CMS, pulling lightly on the seatbelt if there is a danger of a collision and more forcefully if it is determined that a collision is imminent, for increased restraining effect.

· The Step WGN’s crash compatibility body provides a high level of self-protection while improving compatibility toward other vehicles. In a full-frontal collision, the upper frame and lower members distribute and absorb the energy of impact, diffusing it into the front pillar and floor. At the time of impact, the lower members prevent misalignment with the crash-absorbing members of the other vehicle, and together with the upper frame create a broadened surface for absorbing the impact, significantly reducing cabin intrusion.

· The Step WGN is also designed to mitigate injury in the event of impact with pedestrians, particularly to their head and legs, through the use of impact-absorbing structures.

· In addition to front-seat i-side air bags, a side curtain airbag system*19 protects all three rows of seats.

 
*17 Factory option for G, G/L, G/S, G/LS Packages and 24Z.
*18 CMS and E-Pretensioners are available as a factory option set for G/L, G/S, G/LS Packages and 24Z.
*19 Front seat i-side airbag system and side curtain airbags are a factory option for B, G, G/L, G/S, G/LS Packages and 24Z.


< Environmental Performance >
 
· The use of a precision air-to-fuel ratio control system and high-density catalytic converter has achieved major reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX), carbon monoxide (CO), and other harmful substances. All Step WGN types have been certified by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport as having achieved a 75% reduction with respect to emissions regulations for 2005.

· High-efficiency combustion technology, precise coordination between engine and transmission, and lightweight engine construction are factors behind the Step WGN’s excellent fuel economy: 13.2 km/l *20 for the 2.0 l DOHC i-VTEC engine (B,G, G/L Package FF vehicles) and 12.2 km/l *20 for the 2.4 l DOHC i-VTEC engine (24Z, FF). Further, all Step WGN types have already achieved compliance with 2010 Japanese government regulations for fuel economy, while the B 4WD, G 4WD, G/S, G/LS, G/Side Lift-up Seat, G/Passenger Lift-up Seat, and 24Z types have achieved the 2010 fuel economy level + 5%*21.

· PVC has been eliminated from interior and exterior components wherever possible to achieve over 90% recyclability*22.

· Use of lead has been reduced to less than 10% of 1996 levels, and the use of coatings containing hexavalent chromium on parts such as fuel filler pipes and brackets has been eliminated.

 
*20 10/15 mode cruising consumption rate (Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport).
*21 Some B, G, and G/L Package FF vehicles also achieve the 2010 + 5% fuel economy level with certain factory options.
*22 According to Honda internal calculations.


< Barrier free vehicles >
 
· Both electrically powered front passenger and second-row passenger-side lift-up seats are available as options on the Step WGN type G. A single switch controls swiveling, raising, and lowering, while the superior comfort offered by these seats are comparable to standard front row seats making long drives less tiring. Moreover, Step WGN models equipped with lift-up seats earn Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport certification and receive preferential treatment under Japan’s Green Tax program.