2002 Honda Stream 1.7L D17 VTEC I4 from Norway

Summary:

Tough little van for the family with small kids, and a hoot to drive

Faults:

The brakes are generally susceptible to getting stuck: Both the pads and the calipers do that. They need very regular attention, or they will generate high replacement bills.

The speedometer unit's plate has burned through. Changing the bulbs at high cost was of no use.

Interior bits and pieces are coming off.

Honda has one of the industry's worst paint qualities. Scratches easily, clear coat coming off a 14 year old car that is hardly ever exposed to sun (Western Norway has that rarely).

General Comments:

As a family car, the Stream is perfect if you have small kids. The rear seats are not removable, and if you want to invite other kids home after kindergarten/school, you just put them up very quickly. There's good space for two large car seats in row two. The car is based on the Civic, and thus leg space is highly limited. 7 adults to and from the airport with luggage on your lap may work, but on long trips with just the four of us, we take our Toyota sedan instead. The seats are awful and designed for small people. There is no arm rest in the front.

As a driver's car, the Stream excels. The rear wheels have a wild camber, the steering is the tightest I have owned (even compared to brand new rentals), and the gear lever right next to the steering wheel is a fantastic placement. Like "What Car?" says, this is the sportiest minivan ever made. It is light and zippy, and even the 1.7 litre engine makes it go quite nicely. It is a very willing engine even though you'll have to drive it in a binary way: Either on or off. My kids say I make the van sound like a motorcycle... which is an apt description, because it has to work quite hard if you want it to accelerate well. A big advantage are the huge brakes, designed to stop the car with a load of up to 700kg: They never overheat. The biggest setback is the FWD with the engine almost behind the wheels: Uphill on ice or sometimes even just gravel, the Stream has awful traction. Coming from a succession of Volvos, the Honda is a harsh ride, but I got used to it. Back pain from the N├╝rnburgring-approved chassis and bad seats sets in on drives longer than 40 minutes though.

As an utility, the Stream can swallow a lot of weight and differently shaped objects, but the trunk door opening is significantly lower than the roof height. That limits the loading capacity a fair bit; if it is firewood or large cuboid objects you want to transport, this is what stops the car from being filled up 100%. Fuel consumption over 40000km has been exactly 7.32 l/100km, which is fair given my binary driving style, size and age of the vehicle. Insurance is dirt cheap and the maintenance cost are exactly the same as fuel cost. Our local Honda shop is extremely pricey, hard to reach, and somewhat incompetent, so we use the Toyota garage to get stuff fixed. When we bought the car, we haggled the price down 25% + new tires. The Stream is the better Zafira in some respects, and of so much better build quality. That makes some sellers ask wild prices, but have the confidence to negotiate: It's a rare car and can be a tough sell.

Overall, I have grown fond of this van. It takes abuse well, is economical (even though certainly not best in its class), and it is very practical for our transport needs. The perspective we have now is to own the car maybe another 5-8 years until our kids need more legroom. We may finally be able to justify buying a huge Toyota Previa then...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th November, 2016

2002 Honda Stream 2.0 sport from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Safe, comfy, lovely to drive, quality, reliable, spacious, a bit expensive to run

Faults:

Trim coming away from left hand windscreen pillar - I suspect caused by installation of mobile phone by previous owner.

Paint seems to scratch rather easily.

General Comments:

We really like our 7-seater Stream. It is a very comfortable car. We are a family of four and on occasions have to transport some large items with us because of our work. You can get a lot in it! With four/five passengers, it isn't as spacious in the luggage department as a Zafira however as the rear seats take up more depth I think - but they are proper comfy seats. The load space is shallow (top to bottom) compared to the Zafira, but similar too many estates, but it is long, which is useful.

The car is extremely comfortable for four with all four seats reclining etc. The kids don't sit too upright which is much more comfortable on long journeys.

We also use the car for six people with our two children extremely happy in the back and two adults very comfortable in the middle row. I can also fit fine in the back and I am 5'8" tall. The issue is with legroom. The central row of seats slide independently (60/40 split) backwards and forwards which is incredibly useful as you can slide them to accommodate long legs in different places in the car! I haven't tried it, but I suspect that with six large people leg room may be a little low. Mind you my husband is 6'4" so he needs lots of legroom to start with! He doesn't drive and is the passenger and is quite comfortable.

We have had 7 in the car with 3 children in the middle row, but it is slightly squashy just in the middle row and I think it would be hard to fit 3 booster seats across the middle row of seats. Actually ours only has a lap strap in the middle, so I wouldn't want to use that seat for long! The back row is a generous width for the two that it accomodates. Independent rear air conditioning makes it very comfy back there even on a hot day - and keeps your shopping cool on the way back from the supermarket - good for dogs too.

It is very easy to take up and put down the rear seat, but once it is up your load space is rather restricted. You can't put up just one rear seat like in the Zafira. A weekly shop would be a squash I think, but I find other holes to put it in!

The middle row of seats don't "tumble" but they do fold flat onto their bases and slide right forward to the back of the front seats. The load area isn't flat, but it hasn't been a problem. Got an IKEA mattress (200cm long) in it the other day plus a lot of other stuff.

We bought the 2.0 rather than the 1.7 because we are planning to buy a caravan. It has plenty of go - we do a lot of long motorway drives and it is very easy on the driver - nice armrest too! We arrive feeling unfrazzled. It seems quite thirsty to me, but I had a very small car before and prices have gone up of course! I try to use my bike and trailer when possible for the environment and our finances! Keeps me fit too!

As regards fit and finish we looked at some second hand zafiras first, but lots of them had scruffy interiors with broken plastic trim and handles etc. The Stream looks immaculate inside despite being second hand - I think all those little knobs and levers are just very well put together and it feels a very solid car. The upholstery looks slightly retro, but rather plush and it looks a nightmare to keep clean, but it seems to resist our children - weird! Must be clever Japanese fabric!

You can tell this is a woman's review - all about shopping and children and nothing about driving it! It is lovely to drive and I really enjoy it. It handles very securely and you feel very in control. It overtakes very easily on the motorway so you feel safer! It is very smooth and you always feel you have plenty "in hand" if you need it. The good active and passive safety on NCAP was one of the reasons we chose this car over a Zafira - it doesn't crumple if you crash!

Although it was second hand and 2 1/2 years old, it came with a year's warranty from Honda, who were very helpful. The only company which allowed us to take it for an unlimited test drive on our own - perhaps unusual for a second hand car? I don't know, but I was impressed with Honda.

It seems the perfect size for us and I hope we continue to be as happy with it as we are so far!

God bless you whatever you buy!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th September, 2005

28th May 2007, 02:18

Thank you for such a cheerful and positive read! we are about to change our c-max and you surely help to decide.

20th Oct 2008, 13:17

Thanks for your review.

I am about to purchase a 2004 Stream 2.0 and your review has answered some of my subconscious questions - crash reviews!!!

I was recently rear-ended in my Hyundai Elantra Station Wagon (twice already). I suffered a chronic whiplash injury. Now I have very little faith in sedans. I liked the Stream and I need a car that can take the impact off me.

Your comments helped my decision along.

Ann-Ja

3rd Oct 2013, 15:21

Very good review. Nice to see a woman's prospective for a change. We are thinking of buying a Stream, so my wife looked at this and totally understood what I was trying to explain to her about space etc of these cars. More women's reviews please.