road test Toyota RAV4

Rather than concede defeat in the burgeoning market for MPVs (multi- purpose vehicles), Honda has distanced its new Shuttle from the mainstream opposition. With its pounds 23,000 price tag and take-it-or-leave-it specification, it sits at the top end of the market where sales are low and profit margins high.

Several rivals, including the Ford Galaxy, offer seven seats. The Shuttle has only six. Although the central ones can be removed to accommodate awkward loads, they do not fold, swivel or slide to and fro. As the front seats do not revolve either, you cannot rearrange the furniture and sit face to face for meals or pow-wows.

Although you sit well back from the huge screen, the Shuttle feels more car-like than first-generation MPVs such as the Renault Espace. To the left of the steering column is a clumsy gear selector, positioned to create walk-through space to the back - a useful feature. You sit tall, all the better for hazard spotting, embraced by comfortable armchair seats. The downside of this loftiness is high wind resistance.

As a multi-purpose vehicle, the expensive Shuttle is flawed. Club-class seating is all very well, but it is not what is required in a family holdall. Only if you want a roomy wide-aisled executive jet on wheels is the Honda in the frame. Even then, faster, smoother, cheaper V6 rivals outrank it.

Roger Bell

Specifications

Honda Shuttle, pounds 22,995. Engine: 2156cc, four cylinders, 148bhp at 5600rpm. Four-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive. Top speed 110mph, 0-60mph in 11 seconds, fuel consumption 22-27mpg unleaded.

Rivals

Ford Galaxy pounds 15,995 to pounds 23,300

Roomy, versatile cabin seats up to seven. Best MPV yet.

Mitsubishi Space Wagon pounds 15,799

Smaller, more compact, and cheaper.

Nissan Serena pounds 13,750 to pounds 15,995

Not much style but roomy, with seating for up to seven.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Website Editor

    £15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

    Nursery Assistant Plymouth

    £23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Qualified Nursery nurs...

    Primary Teachers needed for supply in Ipswich

    £21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: We are looking to rec...

    Primary Supply teaching jobs in Stowmarket

    £21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments