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.

  • Get to the point
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

    Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

    £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

    Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

    £23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...