Posted by auto motor und sport on Tuesday, 21 July 2015

I know this doesn’t look like it next to all the sleek new metal that often pops up on these pages, but the new Japan-only Honda StepWGN is a very interesting car. Over here, it’s not the performance specifics – in this case, 150 hp and 203 Nm from a 1.5 litre four-pot VTEC Turbo mill mated to a CVT – that will draw attention, but the car’s myriad of practical touches, something the house Soichiro built has excelled at in recent years.

And by far the most novel feature on this fifth-gen MPV is the ingenious “Waku Waku” tailgate – aside from operating in the usual manner, it also incorporates a smaller door that opens sideways, allowing improved third row entry and egress without having to squeeze through the side doors. It’s textbook pragmatic Japanese lateral thinking and brings a welcome fun touch to what would have been a staid box-on-wheels.

Of course, what better way to showcase it than with a video, this time on the Facebook page of German magazine Auto Motor und Sport? Here, the benefits of the tall roof and low sill and floor height are readily apparent, as is the conveniently-placed side grab handle that will undoubtedly bring particular relief to those of reduced physical strength, such as small children or the elderly.

All this works in concert with the third-row Magic Seats – which fold like an accordion into the floor with the pull of a lever – enabling the man to literally walk into the rearmost seats; once seated, pulling up the folded pew is an equally simply and effortless affair. One more benefit in the side door – it allows those seated at the rear to close it on their own, without requiring another person on the outside. Genius, isn’t it?