The Honda Freed is an all-in-one compact family package for seven.
Every time I approach a mini-MPV, regardless of make and model, I can’t help but have one crucial thought in my head. Can this thing fit seven people in comfort?
Being an owner of a full-sized MPV, I always have my doubts about smaller MPVs and their ability to deliver on their promises. Unfortunately, my scepticism is valid. For example, the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is well-made and pretty nifty. But let’s be honest; it’s no 7-seater.
Honda, though, has created a car that ensures its MPV does what it says it would. The new Freed, now sold by official distributors Kah Motors, offers enough space for more than five and comes packaged with an efficient 1.5-litre power unit.
Based on the smaller Honda Jazz, the Freed is taller and more handsome from the front.
Slim headlamps and a stout nose give it a modern and clean face, but since this is a face-lift, the rear still sports the chunky curved shaped tail lamps, which don’t match the sleek front end.
Performance-wise, this is no Civic Type R. Far from it. The 130 bhp 1.5 naturally-aspirated unit is adequate, at best. It does the job but nothing more than that.
For a car nut like me that would like some extra oomph occasionally, that’s a letdown. But for the general family man, it’ll do.
Anyway, who am I kidding? Most owners these days care more about fuel efficiency than they do about full potency. So in that aspect, the claimed figures of 16.9 km per litre of fuel should please most (we managed about 14 km/l).
Back to our crucial question. Does it fit seven comfortably? Well, yes, it does. The third row will seat two rather nicely, and the five seats up front are comfortable too. The cabin also feels airy and spacious due to the Freed’s high ceiling and flat floor; the sliding doors also add a touch of convenience when accessing the rear seats.
What I wasn’t quite fond of, though, was how Honda designed the third row to be stowed away. Similar to the Toyota Alphard and Fortuner, the seats are ‘halved’ and folded against the sides of the vehicle, eating into the rear boot space. The Toyota Sienta trumps the Freed in this area with a flat-folding third row that cleverly tucks under the second row.
As a package, the Honda has modern entertainment features like Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay and a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen. In addition, the interior fittings look smart and are well put together.
If you’re a Honda fan (like I am), have a budget of about $160k and need seven seats, you won’t go wrong with this entry-level MPV as a solution for your family duties.
Engine: 1,498cc in-line 4 i-VTEC
Power: 129 bhp
Gearbox: CVT (A)
Top Speed: Unknown
Fuel Economy: 16.9km/L (claimed)
Price: S$71,999 (S7) / S$74,999 (E7), both without COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Kah Motor
Photo Credits: Joel Tam (@joel_tam)