Are the buttons all in Japanese?
No, there’s nothing on the dashboard or controls that are in Japanese – they’re all in English text or the standard symbols.
The stereo that comes in the car is likely to be a Japanese satnav unit with no knowledge of the world outside Japan and no English language option. Fortunately in most cars these are a standard double DIN size and can be easily replaced with a UK unit.
There’s a few little warning labels around the cabin – I’ve translated these with the Google Translate app and they’re for silly common sense stuff like not stepping on the sliding door mechanism!
Is there ISOFIX for child seats?
Yes! The two outer seats on the middle row both have standard ISOFIX points and I’ve used them with our Recaro seats.
The only headache is if you need two ISOFIX seats fitted, and want to get people in the rear row: the easiest way in is by folding a middle seat which will mean removing the child seat.
Are parts hard to get?
Lots of parts are shared with other Hondas of the era which are common in the UK – everything needed to service them, or things like brake pads and discs are easy to find.
Specific parts like body panels or a windscreen would be trickier – there aren’t many being broken for parts in the UK. Lots can be just be ordered via a UK Honda dealer if you have a part number, or sourced direct from Japan. The only problem is a long wait for them to arrive!
Is it expensive to insure?
Not for me – no more expensive than a similar family car.
While there are specialist import insurance brokers to try, many of the major insurance companies recognise common Japanese market MPVs and can quote on them.
How much to tax?
As it doesn’t have an official European CO2 rating, the rates are the same as for pre-2001 cars: currently £265 a year as it has an engine over 1549cc.
How is it on fuel?
Not the best – low 30s mpg on a longer run, 20s for typical shorter journeys. It has a simple, reliable petrol engine and automatic gearbox that aren’t doing any clever fuel-saving stuff. If you do lots of miles, it may not be the best choice for you.
Is it very cramped?
Not at all, despite the fairly compact size. Seating 8 people would be a squeeze but we had 6 (4 adults, 2 kids in seats) plus our luggage very comfortably for a week away. Unlike many MPVs, the rear-most seats are suitable for adults as there’s plenty of headroom. Both passenger rows can slide back and forth too so that you can balance legroom and luggage space.
I have the driver’s seat in the furthest back position, and I’m just under 6 feet (1.8m) tall. Someone much larger than me may struggle a bit, although I tend to prefer a straight-backed position with the seat further back.