Dongfeng-Honda has released its latest MPV, the Jade which was showcased earlier in the year as thinly disguised concept. The 6 seater in build on a stretched Honda Civic platfrom and at the moment is for China market only. Honda Jade however looks so good that one wonder if this is a lightly modified 3rd-gen Honda Stream as it is too good and well engineered to be simply a China-domestic model.
Honda Jade bears more than passing resemblance to the Honda Civic, particularly at the front, while the rear light is characteristically wears similar theme to the recently launched Honda Fit/Jazz. Bucking the trend where the FB Civic has a chopped wheelbase over the FD predecessor, Honda Jade has a 20mm longer wheelbase then the outgoing Stream at 2,760mm. In terms of other dimension, Jade is 4,660mm long, 1,775mm wide and 1,500mm tall, compared to 4,575mm, narrow 1,695mm and 1,575mm of the current Honda Stream. This makes Jade has a sportier stance thanks to the lower height and wider body. The curvaceous side profile contribute to the elegant flowing look too.
We don't have the details of the chassis just yet, but it should be mimicking the latest Honda Civic with its all independent struts and multi-link setup. This particular model wears a 215/45 R17 low profile. In powertrain department, it shades Civic too, with the 140bhp 1.8L available initially while the 2.0L mill is set to appear later. Strangely Honda has decided to differentiate the trim level with the transmission (apart from the usual accessories) where the low-end model channeled its drive via a 5 speed automatic while the top line spots a CVT.
The low slung exterior is complemented by a suitably youthful interior. Clad in an all-black trims, punctuated by a simulated dark wood trim accented with chrome lining, the interior is a big departure from the spartan 2nd-gen Honda Stream. For one, it has followed the latest two generation of Honda Civic in utilizing a digital meter binnacle set higher-up in the dashboard. Gone is the angular Honda Civic dashboard theme and in comes a flowing dashboard that wears both the design element from Civic and latest Accord. The gear lever section particular is carried over from the larger D-Segment sibling while the steering wheel comes from Civic. There is also a central mounted rear aircond vent to cool the rear occupant.
In this setup, Honda Jade is a 6 seater with second row captain seat. The rear most seat looks quite well-engineered in terms of its folding setup as it disappears completely beneath the floor instead of merely folded on top of the floor. This increased the depth of the (admittedly and commonly) short boot when the the 3rd row is deployed for use.
So what do you think? Can this be the new much awaited 3rd-gen Honda Stream? It looks global enough design-wise and it would be a pity if it is reserved only for China while the rest of the world gets the angular and conservative looking (read new Civic, Accord and Jazz) Hondas.
Many, many years ago I really fancied the low slung 7 seater that Honda always produced, particularly the second generation Honda Odyssey and second generation Honda Stream. Seems that low slung tradition of Honda multi-purposes vehicle continues.....
More photos can be found after the jump.