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  Honda Stream RSZ - First Drive Impressions  
- Wednesday, April 01, 2009  By YS Khong  Bookmark and Share
 
 
 
     
New Honda Stream RSZ is built on a Civic Platform

It was by a strange twist of fate; Honda Malaysia had just managed to get one unit of the newly launched Honda Stream RSZ registered by yesterday, and no publication is scheduled to take it until this Friday. I was in town, and when Honda Malaysia ca...

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New Honda Stream RSZ is built on a Civic Platform
New Honda Stream RSZ is built on a Civic Platform
Rear View, Honda Stream RSZ
Rear View, Honda Stream RSZ
Interior is car-like
Interior is car-like
1.8 litre SOHC I-Vtec engine and gearbox is identical to the Civic
1.8 litre SOHC I-Vtec engine and gearbox is identical to the Civic

It was by a strange twist of fate; Honda Malaysia had just managed to get one unit of the newly launched Honda Stream RSZ registered by yesterday, and no publication is scheduled to take it until this Friday. I was in town, and when Honda Malaysia called to see if I would like to have it until this Friday morning, I jumped at the chance to be the first to get my hands on one, and here we are with my first impressions of the RSZ.

The Stream RSZ is an updated version of the current Honda Stream, and is sold side by side with the standard version. What is different visually from the exterior point of view is a new front honeycomb grille, and a body kit. Also new is a set of 17-inch gun-metal grey alloy wheels with 205/55 R17 tyres. Other than that, there is a RSZ badge on the front grill and on the rear tailgate to denote the variant. Headlights are now HID.

Inside, there is a leather-bound steering wheel with the RSZ badge again, and more importantly, a set of F1-type paddle shifts. To invoke the paddle shifts, just pull back on any one of them, and the RSZ slips into manual shift mode; after a short period of non-use, it will revert back to automatic. In order to have it in manual mode permanently, simply shift the auto shift lever to ‘S’ mode.

The Honda Stream is actually built on a Honda Civic platform, so the dimensions insofar as the wheel base and overall length are concerned, are similar. Therefore, what you are driving around is basically a Honda Civic with a station wagon type rear end, which has another two seats that fold almost flat onto the floor when not in use.

The engine is the same 1.8 litre SOHC unit with i-VTEC which you also find in the Civic, along with the very same 5-speed automatic, and the Stream RSZ carries the same gear ratios. What this implies is that the fuel economy would be very similar to that in the 1.8 litre Civic, but slightly worse off due to the additional weight that the Stream has to carry. Handling-wise, the Stream behaves much like a car; in fact, when you are driving it around, you do feel like you are in a car, unless you look in the rear view mirror and see that extra bit of tail end at the rear.

The target market for the Stream would be those with families, but the character and styling is for the individual; in effect it is for the man or woman who wants a Civic, but needs that additional capacity or versatility of an MPV. The Stream is great for those who like car-like driving characteristics.

As for me, I found the RSZ to be very easy to drive, and as long as you are not in a hurry, the drive is very pleasant. Handling is as good as the Civic, except that the heavier tail end does result in a little more roll. If you need to get up to speed fast, or if you need to overtake, the power does take a little longer to come, but using the paddle shifts do help quite a bit. The 5-speed auto fortunately has more flexibility than a 4-speed auto would allow, so this puts the Stream RSZ a notch or so higher than its immediate competitors. I put in a full tank of fuel, but have not managed to use it all up. We will see by Friday just how many kilometres I can get out of this baby. My current driving style is ‘sedate’, with me trying to mimic just how Joe Average would drive, with the occasional burst of speed as needed for overtaking.

In terms of price, the Honda Stream RSZ retails for RM155, 980, which is RM41k more than what the Civic retails for. The difference in price is due to the fat that the Stream is fully imported, and has more features incorporated into it than the Civic, which is locally assembled.


     Picture Gallery
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electrically operated sunroof is a standard feature
electrically operated sunroof is a standard feature
17-inch wheels with 55-Series tyres
17-inch wheels with 55-Series tyres
Paddle shifts on the steering
Paddle shifts on the steering
Second row seats - plenty of legroom
Second row seats - plenty of legroom
Third row seats
Third row seats
Third row seats fold almost flat on the floor.
Third row seats fold almost flat on the floor.
Front suspension
Front suspension
Gear lever is located on the dashboard
Gear lever is located on the dashboard
 


 
 
 
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