2020 Honda STEP WGN Preview – New e:HEV Two-Motor Hybrid Goes On Sale In Japan

By Steve & Tamami Laser

Update: Honda has introduced an all-new STEP WGN for 2022. Read our story here

2020 Honda STEP WGN Preview – New e:HEV Two-Motor Hybrid Goes On Sale in Japan

Honda has updated its popular STEP WGN (pronounced “Step Wagon”) series in Japan for the 2020 model year. Along with an enhanced model lineup, STEP WGN now offers e:HEV two-motor hybrids, in keeping with Honda’s new e:Technology initiative.

Honda says that unlike traditional hybrids, where the electric motor assists the engine, with the e:HEV system, the engine produces electricity that can assist the motor.

The 4-cylinder gas engine is a 2.0L Atkinson cycle DOHC i-VTEC rated at 107kW (145PS) and 175Nm torque, while peak total system output is 135kW (184PS) and 315Nm.

Three drive modes are available: In the Hybrid mode, the motor is driven by electricity generated by the engine. The Engine mode connects the engine via a direct-coupling clutch to drive the front wheels for high-speed cruising. A driver-selectable EV Mode propels STEP WGN on the electric motor alone, using power from the battery.

The STEP WGN lineup continues to offer a 4-cylinder VTEC turbocharged 1.5-liter direct-injection engine (non-hybrid) with front or Real-Time All-Wheel-Drive, teamed with a Continuously Variable Transmission that includes paddle shifters on Spada and Modulo X models (above).

STEP WGN offers the uniquely flexible Waku Waku Gate that functions as a wide tailgate that swings up, or with a sub-door that opens to the side.

When combined with the third-row Magic Seat with a 60/40 design that can be split and stored under the floor, the side-opening door enables third-row passengers to get in and out without opening the entire gate.

Inside, STEP WGN features attractively styled seating and trim with available second-row captain’s chairs and various upholstery choices. STEP WGN Spada and Cool Spirit models feature new Fabtect water and oil-repellent seating surfaces.

High-tech multimedia systems are available from Honda Access including a Gathers Internavi unit with 10-inch touchscreen and a windshield-mounted drive recorder with timekeeping function and navi-linked ETC 2.0.

Now in its fifth generation, STEP WGN has been a big seller for Honda in Japan with models going all the way back to 1996. Unfortunately, none of these vans have made the journey to America, where the larger Odyssey remains Honda’s minivan.

Note: Features and specifications for Japanese market models are subject to change without notice

News source and photos courtesy Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

Story (commentary) © 2020 CarNichiWa.com