The Honda Freed may have retreated back to its home country of Japan, but the funky mini-MPV is still alive and kicking there, and the second-generation model has just received a timely facelift. It continues to be offered in standard six- or seven-seater form and as a five-seater Freed+

Updates are fairly few and far between, with the exterior changes limited to a mild remodelling of the front fascia. The “Solid Wing Face” crossbar linking the headlights has been slimmed right down – a styling cue that is also expected to appear on the new Jazz – and the bonnet has also been re-profiled to suit. There’s also a redesigned front bumper with horizontal gloss black inserts at the corners.

Of bigger news is the addition of a Crosstar variant, which gives the Freed an in-vogue crossover look. It brings to the table a new grille (complete with a thick chrome appliqué), black plastic body cladding, LED fog lights, roof rails, 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels and silver skid plates, door mirrors and door handles.

Inside, the Freed gets revised fabric seat patterns and new decorative trim pieces in either walnut-look for the standard variants or plywood for the Crosstar. Safety-wise, the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance systems, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist, is now standard fitment across the range, and the pedal misapplication prevention system now works in reverse, too.

Honda has also added a step downshift control feature that adds engine braking on downhill slopes when the brake pedal is depressed beyond a certain point, further increasing safety. Engine options remain identical, with petrol models continuing to utilise an L15B 1.5 litre direct-injected i-VTEC four-cylinder that makes 132 PS at 6,600 rpm and 155 Nm of torque at 4,600 rpm, paired to a CVT and either front- or all-wheel drive.

The FWD-only Hybrid version also soldiers on with a 110 PS/134 Nm 1.5 litre Atkinson-cycle i-VTEC engine, an electric motor and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to deliver a total system output of 137 PS and 170 Nm and a WLTP-rated fuel consumption of 20.8 km per litre. New colour options include Premium Crystal Orange Metallic II, Silver Mist Green, Platinum White Pearl, Super Platinum Grey and Midnight Blue Beam.

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