The Honda Shuttle Hybrid combines the best in terms of practicality and efficiency but still manages to provide some fun. If you like the features of the Honda Fit Hybrid, but are not a big fan of its smaller dimensions, the Shuttle Hybrid looks perfect on paper.
Let’s check out the rest of the Honda Shuttle Hybrid Review.
Design of the Honda Shuttle Hybrid
In terms of design, the Honda Shuttle is a bit more modern than its platform-sharing sibling, the Honda Fit. The Shuttle employs sharp lines with a very modern front including large headlights designed to be one with the grille insert that holds the Honda badge in the middle.
The lower section of the front is also very modern and even more aggressive than we expected for a car of this class. The thin fins of the lip spoiler paired with the wider side sections make the bumper of the Honda Shuttle Hybrid look like it was taken from a sports car.
The side view is more revealing of the practicality offered, having a large and somewhat less well-planned section behind the C pillar. What saves the day for the side is a mixture of a darkened B pillar and an elevating lower window line, accompanied by this stylish crease that flows over most of the side of the car and widens at the rear.
Design of the rear is also aimed at practicality with a large window for better rear visibility and an upright fifth door for added boot space. Taillights are reminiscent of some American design solutions and the darkened lower side inserts make the stance look wider and the Shuttle more aggressive.
Design of the Shuttle is obviously in the service of its practicality, but Honda did a very good job of making the practical look very appealing.
Engine and Drive
Before we talk about the experience behind the wheel of the Honda Shuttle Hybrid, let’s have a look under the bonnet.
The engine in the Honda Shuttle Hybrid is an Atkinson cycle 1.5L Earth Dreams i-VTEC. This flurry of words and acronyms stands for one of the most advanced systems that provides both performance and efficiency.
For example, the i-VTEC stands for intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control, which modifies the way camshaft and valves work in different conditions to ensure either maximum fuel efficiency in low load conditions, due to limited opening of the valves in these circumstances, or top performance available due to maximum lift for more effective breathing of the engine.
The top power available stands at 101 kW (135bhp) and 134 Nm of torque. Add to this the electric motor and its instant torque delivery and the whole system becomes more than sufficient for the spacious family car.
Things get even better when we look at the gearbox. The engine is mated to a 7-speed DTC, which is a welcome advancement over the previous CVT. It is faster, very smooth and, surprisingly, more fuel efficient.
Speaking of which, the official fuel efficiency figure stands at 34.3 km/l.
There are two special driving modes. On the right of the steering wheel you can find the ECON button that further improves fuel efficiency by adjusting throttle response to a more timid setting and also limiting the power of air conditioning and other features that use energy. If you are looking for some driving fun, you can turn on the Sport mode by pressing a button behind the gearbox lever.
But let’s see how it actually drives.
The Honda Fit Hybrid, the Shuttle’s smaller sibling with the same platform, engine and gearbox, is one of the best vehicles in its class when it comes to driving. It has precise steering, controlled body roll and a very natural driving feel. Brake resistance is perfectly measured and the engine and motor combination gives more than enough power.
Does the added size of the Shuttle spoil the benefits of the Fit?
Not really. In fact, the larger, more accommodating body is not much heavier, tipping the scales at just 1200 kg – just 60 kg more than the noticeably smaller Fit. It is safe to say that the Shuttle is almost as fun to drive as the Fit.
Refinement of the cabin when on the move is remarkable, even for cars with a higher price tag. The car is quiet, composed and you always feel confident behind the wheel. This also goes for parking. The Honda Shuttle Hybrid has very large window surfaces, including the rear one and the upright shape of the rear makes it very predictable for tight spaces.
This particular model comes as standard with rear parking sensors, so even if you are not versed in parking, there should be no problems.
Interior of the Shuttle Hybrid
The main reason why one would take the Shuttle over the Fit is its interior space. The Honda Shuttle offers heaps of it. With the rear seats up, it can hold 470L of cargo. That is a nice figure, but what is even more remarkable is the shape of the cargo area and its wide, accommodating opening. Load lip is virtually non-existent and there are no protruding parts to obstruct loading bulky objects.
In case you need more, rear seats split 60/40 and fold flat, giving up to a whopping 1143L of space. Just like the higher trim levels of the Fit, the Shuttle offers Magic Seat feature, which means you can actually fold the rear seats up to transport taller objects. Unlike the Fit, Magic Seat is standard across the range for the Shuttle. This is a feature found only on some Honda vehicles and large trucks.
The spacious theme continues for the passengers as well. Rear seats are large and comfortable, legroom is plentiful and the transmission tunnel is very low, so even the passenger in the middle can enjoy more space than in most competitors.
The front also offers some extra space. This is done by moving the engine up front as much as possible and putting petrol tank under the passenger seat.
And, yes, there is loads of storage space up front as well. You have cup holders, bottle holders in door pockets, a spacious central console bin, glovebox and a tray at the front of the central console.
If it is space you are after, the Honda Shuttle Hybrid will not disappoint.
So, how good is the Honda Shuttle Hybrid?
It makes use of all the benefits of the immensely popular and beloved Honda Fit, while adding plenty of practicality. It is punchy, great around town, respectable on the freeway, easy to park, fuel efficient and fun to drive, comfortable and refined and it packs class-leading interior space that easily surpasses the Fit, which is famous for its interior versatility and spaciousness.
If you like the Fit but you need more space, look no further than the Honda Shuttle Hybrid.