Honda Freed was initially unveiled in Tokyo back in 2008 as Japanese Domestic Model (JDM). The Freed is obviously a compact minivan and the car was built based on the latest Jazz /City platform. In Malaysia, Honda Malaysia brought in the 7 seaters version which features captain’s seats in the middle row. That’s why the car is driven heavily by the theme of 4 Seaters + Style before launching. While the Freed retains the same width as the Jazz at 1,695 mm, it’s longer (4,215 mm vs 3,900 mm), higher (1,735 mm vs 1,525 mm) and it also features an extended wheelbase measuring 2,740 mm in length (vs 2,500 mm).
It is dull to compare this with the JDM breed like Toyota Alphard, Toyota Estima, Nissan Elgrand, Honda Stepwagon or even Honda Elysion. It is more dim-witted to compare it with Nissan Grand Livina or Toyota Innova. Let her be alone and give Honda Freed a space of her own. Personally, I can feel that Honda is creating its own segment and filling this vehicle into a position for young family that wants a balance from stylish, affordability and a zippy compact MPV that you can found it in the Japanese Catalogue.
Furthermore, some may say MPV is built from an ugly box shape design. But I felt that MPV looks so good with its aero-kit and bigger diameter wheels. I would say that the market trends have changed over time comparing to the last decade. Peoples want practical and usability instead of style without practicability.
The revolution for Asean market starts on 21st March 2009, PT Honda Prospect Motor have begun production and launched the Freed in Indonesia as second country after introduced to Japan. Not to be surprise, the Honda Freed that built for Asean market is higher by 20mm compare the JDM model. The reason behind probably due to the road condition at the emerging countries.
The Freed that assembled in Honda’s Karawang Plant are equipped with L15A 1.5 Litre Engine that churn-out a solid 118ps @ 6,600rpm and torque of 146Nm @ 4,800rpm.
It is a similar engine compare to Honda Jazz/City but retuned for lower octane fuel to suits the emerging countries fuel grades. Comparing to the JDM, the Indonesian Freed is mated with 5-speed Automatic Transmission instead of 7-speed CVT like the Jazz/City. Before I forget to mentioned, one of our readers wanted to find out tyre size of the Honda Freed. For your info, the mini-van is fitted with 185/65 R15 wheels.
There is only 1 standard model for Honda Freed in Malaysia. The mini-van comes with Power Sliding Door & Dual SRS Airbags. Both model having Front Ventilated Disc Brake and Rear Drum Brake with 15 inch alloy wheels (185/65R15). Don’t turn down by the rear drum brake system. I realise in local market, there are a lot of motorists are very particular on this. If you realise, the previous model of Honda Jazz 1.5 VTEC for the local market is fitted with rear discs while the JDM is maintained with drum. The reason behind for such a small vehicle, the rear drum is able to deliver what it suppose for the rear braking system and overall the mini-van braking power is agreeable too.
To bring you further with the experience of Honda Freed, we have put the Honda Freed on the road test…
Overall, the mini-van is a car that is easy to drive in town. Thanks to the Electric Power Steering System! The car is zippy and the steering wheel is so light which makes turning effortless. The 5.2m small turning radius makes it easy for the Freed to maneuver on narrow roads and easy to park.
Don’t expect too much power from a 1.5 engine when it pulling a 1,355kg mini-van. I would say the engine performance is average and delivering what it supposes. To prove this well, we put in a stand-still test.
The car takes 0-100km/h in 14 seconds with 3 passengers + a driver on-board. That could be a bad part as I think it is a bit slow and it could be better off with the 1.8 i-VTEC (R18A) engine instead. But the good part is about the fuel efficiency, I was advised by Honda Malaysia that the car is even more fuel efficient than Honda City. The engine is tuned efficiently particularly for this purpose as mini-van.