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Four Children and one husband leads to a rather over loaded car or two cars. This was the case with our family until recently. Just before the Easter holiday we bought ourselves a new car. We decided after 2 ½ years of struggling that it was time to change our car. It was becoming clear that we needed at least a 6-seater car. There are now lots of people carriers on the market with a large range of prices and sizes. We decided that a car like the Fiat Multipla could not sit outside our house! The larger people carriers like the Galaxy, Alhambra, Sharan, Espace, and Voyager looked so big and would not easily get through our narrow gateway. We wanted to change our car to a car that would seat 6. Our choice boiled down to 4 cars Peugeot 307SW, Mitsubishi SpaceWagon, Vauxhall Zafira, and Honda Stream. The smaller people carriers on the market. As we looked closer at these cars we whittled our choice down to the Honda Stream. The Stream in my opinion looks like a car, if a bit larger than a lot. It is slightly taller than most cars at 1.59m. The car is 4.57m long, still short enough to be a car. I feel that this car has a distinctive look with its attractively shaped windows. At 1.7m wide this car is narrower than the car we replaced a Ford Mondeo. The Honda Stream has 3 rows of seat. 2 seats in the front, 3 in the middle and 2 in the back. The front seats are very comfortable. The seat in the middle can seat 3 but the middle one only has a lap belt. I am not happy with a lap belt for longer journeys. My children like to put down the back of the middle seat to expose an armrest with a space to put the cups. At the back there is a bench seat which is quite deep which makes up for the fact that there can be very little foot space if the middle seats are too far back! The front of the car seems to be very spacious, as the gear stick is not on the floor, There is room to keep my handbag on the floor be
tween the seats. Under the passenger seat is a little draw, which is handy for ferry tickets, guidebooks and even a few pens and tapes to be kept. The steering wheel can be raised and lowered depending on where you want to hold your arms. As the seat at the back does not have a window to open there is a fan which can be operated from the front or the back. This can be very useful on very hot days. To keep the car cool you can open your electric windows, (which can be controlled by the driver), the sunroof is an option, and air conditioning can be used to maintain a constant temperature. If too many windows are open it can get very breezy in the back. The biggest disadvantage with this car is its lack of boot. We did manage to take all we needed for a week away in it but we were all restricted to a very small bag the washing machine had to be used regularly! It is not uncommon to have a lack of space in 7-seaters and this problem can be overcome by using a roof box or a trailer. We still have to get one of these fitted. Unlike many 7-seaters it is not possible to have half the back seat down for luggage. When this car is not being used for more than 5 people the boot is a good size as the back seat folds flat. It is even possible to fold the middle seats down if you have very large objects to transport. We have been very happy with the handling of this vehicle. I found it easier to drive than the Ford Mondeo, being taller than standard cars you get a very good view from it. It is difficult to see the front of the car so you have to well aware of the size of vehicle you are driving. This car is narrower than the Mondeo so it is easier to get in and out of our drive. I found this car comfortable to drive for long distances it is a smooth drive when travelling at the speed limit. As for fuel consumption I was quite happy with around 35 miles per gallon which is not as good as my husbands Micra but when you take into account that 6 people
are travelling seems ok to me. I am very happy with our new well nearly new Honda Stream. It is not a very popular car; I have only ever seen one other one on the road! Of course a tardis would be a better vehicle to carry my family but as a small people carrier it does not do a bad job.