The Shuttle is the newest addition to the family, and coincidentally, it is the subject for this review today. The Shuttle was a replacement for the Airwave, which was well loved by families for its balance of space, attractive styling, and keen prices.
On the outside, the Shuttle shares little with the Fit it is based on, other than the four doors, front wings, and the wing mirrors. The Shuttle receives its own unique front fascia, which includes daytime running lights (DRL), LED headlights, and Honda’s signature chrome winged grille that stretches into the headlights.
Along the sides, the strong creases on the doors define the side profile of the car, while the chrome roof rails are a classy and practical touch. With a ground up redesign, the Shuttle also benefits from having a less fussy and chunky rear end than that on the Fit. A chrome strip runs across a large length on the boot joining the rear lights, which by the way, are modern LEDs items and look a treat in the dark.
In the cabin
Inside, the Shuttle isn’t as far a departure from the Fit as the exterior. Most interior panels are taken from the Fit parts bin, the seats, door cards, steering wheel, and many other cabin components such as air conditioning vents are shared.
Different from the Fit are the niceties such as the nifty touch sensitive automatic climate control, and more significantly, the presence of the centre console between the driver and front passenger. The console provides for an armrest, a usefully deep cubbyhole, a raised gear lever position, and yet another cubbyhole beneath the gear lever, practical touches that lift the cabin.
The cabin is nicely put together with tough and durable materials, and the brushed metallic-effect trim pieces on the dash and doors work a treat in lifting the cabin’s atmosphere. The cabin feels more premium than the car’s actual price tag.
The biggest draw of the cabin is without doubt its practically. The Shuttle also features the Fit’s ultra practical, ultra versatile Ultra Seats – the rear seats may fold down flat to create a flat loading surface from the boot, and folding the front passenger seat backwards may extend the loading area further. Furthermore, the seat base may fold up to create a tall loading space good for upright items like plants.
Like most Japanese family wagons, the new Honda Shuttle is an honest and efficient car, but what it has over many of its competitors is that it has a soul. It’s one of those cars that causes you to feel attached to it, thanks to its lively dynamics and handsome styling. On top of this, it’s a great family car for not too much money too. The Shuttle has to be on your shopping list if you are looking for a station wagon or a practical family runabout, it’s really that good.