Saturday, September 17, 2016

Second Generation Honda Freed

It's been eight years since Honda gave us a compact minivan, the Freed, which is as practical as the other recreational vehicles offered from its range. Now, the Freed has been regenerated for its second iteration and it promises to be more convenient than ever while delivering class-leading fuel consumption perfect for the long journey ahead.

2017 Honda Freed

The new, second generation, Honda Freed, is what really happens when you make one of the most practical MPVs in the market even better by adding tons of convenience, fuel efficient performance, and a host of tech to make everything meaningful for the average household. So, with the new model, what's it like to be in the new Freed?

First impressions can be somewhat average and when you look at the way it looks, you can really look at the signature "Solid Wing" face that most Hondas had since the third-generation Fit, making it very noticeable but look closely on the rear and you can see that the back looks highly reminiscent of the old Suzuki Solio you used to had a few years ago. In broad context, it looks a bit half-baked for a people carrier to have such design.

2017 Honda Freed interior
2017 Honda Freed interior

One of the most redeemable key points about the new Freed is its interior and while this is even more roomier compared to the last one, you have a lot of choices to make in terms of carrying people or stuff depending on your lifestyle. For models with third-row seating, it can be either a six or a seven seater, depending on the variant, and unless there are any soccer moms putting kids on the second row seats, whichever you'll seat on the new Freed is above average as long as you're not moaning about. Of course, if you're not a big fan of third-row seats, there's an even spacious alternative; a five seater variant called "Freed+", which trades third-row seats for bigger boot space as well as a special utility board that can separate the boot space to two rows; one at the top and one at the bottom, which is perfect to carry lots of garage sale stuff you bought on the weekends. Also, it can be useful for all kinds of trips such as fishing trips, camping trips, diving trips, bad trips, whatever trips you're having on the weekends. It's kinda like the old Spike model in so many ways and this MPV knows the customers are onto something here.

2017 Honda Freed

The new Honda Freed can be offered with a normal 1.5L petrol engine connected to a CVT gearbox or a hybrid variant with the 7-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox on it. When I said "dual clutch", Honda says it's SPORT HYBRID i-DCD (intelligent Dual Clutch Drive). I know. It's been around for three years since the Fit and it's been around in most everyday models like the Vezel, the Shuttle, the Jade, and the Grace. With such combo, fuel economy is an estimate 27.2kmpl based on the JC08 Mode standards. For the first time in a hybrid compact minivan, there is a four-wheel drive variant which is great for any weather conditions, be it rainy or snow, or road conditions.

Because it's surprisingly compact, it's just feels so easy to drive, easy to park, and easy to live with. Whether on the city center or on the open roads, the new Freed truly feels at home anywhere. It also packs Honda Sensing, which comes with lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and blind-spot warning. Connectivity aside, the internavi service on the new Honda Freed now comes with Apple Carplay compatibility, meaning your iPhones can feel at home in this car.

Should you buy it? The new Freed starts at 1,880,000 up to 2,748,200 Yen, which sounds expensive compared to its main rival, the Toyota Sienta. Sure, both the new Freed and the Sienta are seven-seaters and they come with hybrid variants with similar fuel efficiency, but despite the comparative pricing, the new Freed is bigger and spacious compared to the Sienta and when the previous model had its share in the ASEAN market, there's high chance that the new generation Freed could make it to the ASEAN market so it can take its rivalry with the Toyota Sienta elsewhere. There's going to be a buzz from elsewhere about what's it all about the new Honda Freed anytime and it's more than enough to take it as an ideal compliment, no matter the odds.

Available colors: Blue Horizon Metallic, Citron Drop, Cobalt Blue Pearl, Premium Deep Rosso Pearl, Mandarin Gold Metallic, White Orchid Pearl, Luna Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl.

Photo: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

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