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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The Stream is roomy and good to drive, and Honda's reliability record is excellent

Against It's not the most versatile MPV and the engines need to be worked hard

Verdict Nice ride and handling, but it can't carry seven people and their luggage

Go for… 2.0-litre SE Sport

Avoid… 1.7 S

Honda Stream MPV
  • 1. The suspension bushes need replacing after 50,000 miles, but it should cost less than £100
  • 2. The exhaust can rot on Streams that are mainly used for short journeys
  • 3. Like most Hondas, the Stream holds its value well, so it's not the cheapest MPV to buy used
  • 4. The two rearmost seats fold flat into the floor when not needed to leave a large and practical boot
  • 5. Choose the 2.0-litre engine - its extra power improves flexibility and refinement
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Honda Stream MPV full review with expert trade views

Early Streams had seven seats arranged in a two-three-two layout, but a face-lift in mid-2004 made it into a six-seater, with the bench in the middle row replaced by two individual chairs. In both versions, the middle seats slide back and forth so you can make the most of the available legroom.

With all the seats occupied there's not much luggage space. However, the two rearmost seats fold flat into the floor when not needed to leave a large and practical boot.

The Stream's engines need plenty of revs to give their best, becoming very noisy in the process. They're not coarse, though, and the cabin is quiet enough at motorway speeds, despite some wind and road noise.

Otherwise, the Stream drives very nicely. Thanks to stiff suspension, the body control is impressive over uneven surfaces and around corners. That does mean the low-speed ride is firm for an MPV but it's not uncomfortable, and the steering is sharp and accurate, making the Stream a surprisingly enjoyable drive.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Tries to be a sporty hatch and a people carrier, fails at both. Values hold due to rarity

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

It's a pity that the Stream isn't available with a diesel engine, but there are two petrol engines to choose from - a 126bhp 1.7 and a 156bhp 2.0-litre. The 2.0-litre is the better option, with its extra oomph improving flexibility and refinement, and it's no surprise that Honda killed off the 1.7-litre unit in 2003.

Cars powered by this smaller engine are offered in two trims, with the cheaper S models getting air-con, electric windows and twin front and side airbags. Stepping up to the plusher SE brings alloy wheels, a sunroof and remote central locking.

These luxuries are standard with the 2.0-litre Stream, which is badged SE Sport, but curtain airbags aren't an option with any trim.

The other big choice to make is whether to go for an early car with seven seats or a face-lifted one with six. The later cars have slightly bolder exterior styling, including more intricate headlights.

Trade view

James Ruppert

In short supply but for retail it has to be 1.7 VTEC SE

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Like most Hondas, the Stream holds its value well, so it's not going to be the cheapest MPV on the used car forecourt. Still, running costs are reasonable.

For starters, cars powered by the 1.7-litre engine fall into insurance group 9 and the 2.0-litre model sits in group 12. While compact MPVs such as the Vauxhall Zafira come in slightly lower, you'll pay similar premiums for most large seven-seaters.

It's a similar story when it comes to fuel economy, with the 1.7 averaging 36.7mpg and the 2.0 managing 32.8mpg, figures that are acceptable, though not exceptional.

Servicing bills are also likely to be competitive, and the average hourly rates that Honda dealers charge for repairs undercut many key rivals including Ford and Toyota. Independent Honda specialists, on the other hand, charge more than the class average.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Tries to be a sporty hatch and a people carrier, fails at both. Values hold due to rarity

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Stream ownership should be a stress-free experience. After all, Honda's record in What Car? reliability surveys is second to none, and its build quality and dealer service have consistently been praised by owners in the annual JD Power Customer Satisfaction survey.

Mechanical faults, it seems, are few and far between, and when they do occur, dealers are quick to find the cause and correct it.

Visits to the dealer should be limited to scheduled servicing and minor maintenance, then. For example, the suspension bushes need replacing after 50,000 miles - something that costs less than £100 - and the exhaust can rot on Streams that are mainly used for short journeys.

Cars built between June 2000 and October 2001 were recalled to fix a potential problem with the dipped beam headlights, so it's worth checking that this work was carried out.

Trade view

James Ruppert

In short supply but for retail it has to be 1.7 VTEC SE

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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