Honda Japan has added one more vehicle to its line-up, the Honda Freed MPV. Based on the Global Small Platform which underpins cars such as the Honda Fit as well as the Freed’s more boxy cousin the Honda Mobilio/Mobilio Spike, the Honda Freed is powered by the new L-Series 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine (118 PS at 6,600rpm, 144Nm at 4,800rpm) mated to a CVT gearbox with a torque converter as its start-up device. It has 3 different seating configurations: a 5-seater, a 7-seater (2,2,3 with second row captain’s seats) and an 8-seater (2,3,3).
The Fit platform’s innovative flat floor allows maximum interior space to be used (Honda claims to be able to carry a 27 inch bicycle without taking off wheels or handle bars), and Honda says the 7-seater seating layout allows any passenger in any row to exit via any door thanks to a “walk through layout”. Looking at an image of the 7-seater interior seating configuration found after the jump, they are probably right as there is a clear empty space between the front two seats as well. The 8-seater version uses a 60:40 split fold bench for the second row.
The dashboard gets Honda’s latest two-tiered design, with both speedo, RPM and multi-info display located at the top deck nearest to the windscreen for easier visibility. The lower deck hosts the air conditioning controls and the gear shifter. Smack in the middle of the two decks in a rather high position is the 2-DIN player – a high position like this could allow the rear passengers to view it easily in case an in-dash LCD screen with DVD player is installed.
The front suspension design is of the MacPherson strut layout while the rear is a H-shaped torsion beam to minimise interior intrusion of suspension components. The Honda Freed uses an Electric Power Steering system, and safety features include ISOFIX points for child seats, optional Vehicle Stability Assist, and a maximum configurable option of 8 airbags including front, side, curtain and third row side airbags. Certain models have HID headlamps, but all lenses are reflector lenses.
As Honda model offerings are regional, the Honda Freed is not likely to make its way anywhere to the ASEAN region unless the Japan office gives the green light. The Honda Fit is sold over here as the Jazz, but you could say the Jazz platform-derived Mobilio looks too boxy for regional tastes. The Honda Freed is a new execution of a Global Small Platform car that can carry more than 5 people with design cues that should be very acceptable here.
More images after the jump.
VIDEO: Honda Freed MPV