Should I take the plunge?!

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Should I take the plunge?!

Postby sirsomeone » Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:27 am

Hi Stepwagon fans,

I recently had my beloved Bongo stolen, so started looking round for alternatives... and then I stumbled upon the Stepwagon.

Has anybody else made that same leap?

To be honest, I don't want any of the cooker/sink conversion stuff in whatever car I choose... just the capacity to fold down for a comfortable night's sleep. That said, some things I did love about the Bongo were its elevating roof and its 4WD. I've seen mention of a Field-deck model, and seen pictures of Stepwagons with both these features... but are these things that have been modified after purchase? Or is that standard stuff for a Field-deck?

Sorry for all the questions... I'm still learning!

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:22 am

Re: Should I take the plunge?!

Postby scottydot80 » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:13 am

dude i just brought my rf1 last weekend dont regret it at all for a 97 car its better than nearly all the newer cars ive had, drive nice handles good excelerates pretty well for a tank too. i was just gutted that i only had 3k to spend and couldnt find a sexy one with the kit on in my price range but im struggling to find any kits for them even though biggest majority are kitted than not?? and cant find any guides to wheel sizes as id love to slap a big set o 19`s 20`s but dont wana buy em to find out they dont fit?? im just baffled that these are modded van with no infomation or anything out ther?
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:42 am

Re: Should I take the plunge?!

Postby stepdaddy » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:51 pm

sir someone,

The Fielddeck was a factory option, as you can see from this

I own a 1998 4wd Fielddeck and it's a very nice vehicle. My brother owns a Bongo, so I'm quite well placed to provide a comparison. As far as the lifting roof goes, I would say that the Bongo's is much superior in that it provides genuine headroom inside the van. With the Fielddeck, they took a twin sunroof Steppy then put the roof on top of that, so access to the roof tent is only through the sunroof cut-outs (obviously the sunroofs are removed!).

The Honda also doesn't have the roof skylight like the Bongo does, the roof is manual rather than electric and the tent seems to be a bit smaller. I suppose one advantage of the Honda's roof is that you can access it from the cab as well as from the rear, so you can climb in and out without disturbing people who are sleeping in the back. I've slept in the roof of mine once and for one person it was fine. Two adults would be impossible though I think, unless you like to sleep VERY close together.

Downstairs, the bed is a good size (same as the Bongo). Be aware that there are a couple of different interiors, the Pop-up and the Turnaround. The Turnaround is the better option for camping, I would say (I have the Pop-up sadly) because the seats seem to make a flatter bed and also the middle row of seats can be turned to face the rear ones, which is a bit more sociable. (Some steppys also have swivel front seats, meaning you can then fold the middle row backrests forward and use them as a table between the swivelled front seats and the rear row). With the Pop-up, the seats do go quite flat but I recommend a futon or air mattress for comfort. You can recognise the Turnaround interior from the strange looking little gimp seat on the sliding door end of the middle row.

Other than the roof issue, I think that the Steppy is a far better vehicle than the Bongo. It's much more car like to drive, the seating arrangement is more versatile, you can walk through from the front to the back (gear lever is column mounted, handbrake is where the clutch would be so nothing to get in the way) and it's under 2 metres even in Fielddeck form so you can get into most car parks with barriers.

Economy-wise, my one is about the same as a CR-V of similar vintage (unsurprisingly). So low 20s around town, mid-30s on a run. The 2wd versions are probably a bit better. As for the 4wd system, I think it's Honda's Real Time 4wd that only kicks in when the rear tyres are losing grip rather than the full time 4wd that some (all?) Bongos are. You certainly don't do anything to engage it. I've found it pretty competent in muddy fields and in the snow.

Insurance seems to be getting easier - Aviva now covers them as I said in the Insurance thread and I pay £268 fully comp, protected no claims, me and my girlfriend as the named drivers (we're both 39, no convictions or claims, maximum NCD).

Reliability has been excellent in the 4 years (to the day!) that I've owned it. It only had 27,000 on it when i bought it, so had done little work, but all I've had to spend money on is routine servicing. It has never failed an MOT, although my mechanic said there's a small patch of rust on the subframe that will need doing before the next one.

I certainly don't regret buying my one. The fuel consumption gets me down a bit, but I only do 6,000 or so miles a year so it's not a big issue but other than that it's just a joy to own - seats 8 in comfort, quickly converts to a 'van' large enough to fit a 125 motorbike inside or two tonne bags full of garden waste, and of course, is a nice little overnight camper.
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Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:24 pm

Re: Should I take the plunge?!

Postby Stevef+ » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:26 am

OH YES they are great vehicles. Family car, festival camper, lorry, you name it it does it. Reliability second to none
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:29 am

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