Big things are predicted from the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. Maruti’s first serious attempt at the utility market after the disaster of the Versa, the Ertiga is pitched as a Life Utility vehicle (LUV). It is aimed at the Toyota Innova and even though its too early to make a statement on how the Ertiga would fair in the market, initial response suggest it will be another best seller from Maruti. To counter the Ertiga and the soon to be launched EcoSport, the baby SUV from Ford, Honda could consider bringing in their Freed MPV.
This Mini MPV has been in production since 2008 and like the Ertiga which is based on the Ritz, the Freed is based on the Jazz platform. The MPV was recently unveiled at the Bangkok Motor Show and is available in a seven-seat version with captain’s seats in the second row, an eight-seat version and also a five-seat version. The eight seater version uses a 60:40-split tumble seat in the second row and the five-passenger variant seats the occupants in two rows. Powering the Freed is a 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine which produces 118PS and 148Nm of torque. The engine is matched to either a 5 speed manual or a 6 speed automatic CVT gearbox. The motor is high revving, refined and efficient.
Honda sells the Freed in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and in Japan. In Japan the freed also has a Hybrid version. The MPV is stylish looking and adopts Honda’s innovative low-floor and low centre of gravity technology. The Freed looks sleek, has big headlights and a funky rear tailgate spoiler. The tailgate extends from the roof almost to the bottom of the car. The cabin has an airy feel to it and the overall fit and finish is good. The interiors are more spacious than the Ertiga but the Freed comes with sliding doors which in India are associated with cheaper automobiles. Boot space is excellent as well.
Suspension is made up of MacPherson struts at the front and at the rear is an H-shaped torsion beam suspension. The electric power steering is light and enables easy manoeuvrability. The MPV however is more expensive than the Ertiga and if Honda actually brings it into India then the Freed would be priced more in the region of the Toyota Innova. It nevertheless has all the qualities and is smartly packaged to take on the competition from the Innova, the Mahindra Xylo and the Ertiga.
Compact SUVs and crossovers are a very popular trend in Indian market and one of the biggest as well. In recent past we have seen almost every other auto makers launching their own models in the segment and getting positive response from the market. Take the instance of Hyundai launched Creta, which became a big hit. Later Mahindra launched their compact SUV TUV300, the rugged looking tough compact SUV got Mahindra plenty of customers. The Japanese auto makers like Mitsubishi and Toyota is all set to bring their own models in near future. Another Japanese big brand Honda has been in Indian market for quite long time, but they didn’t actually try their hands in the compact SUV segment vehemently. The Honda CR-V has never been a popular model among Indian customers.
As the scenario has been changed, Honda is trying to grab more share of the Indian automobile market. At the upcoming 2016 New Delhi Auto Expo, we will see the Japanese auto maker will be launching their latest compact SUV Honda BR-V, which has been launched already in several countries in South East Asia. Honda showcased the BR-V prototype at the Gaikindo Indonesian International Auto Show 2015 in last August at Tangerang, Indonesia. Recently, Honda has launched the BR-V compact SUV in Indonesia. The India bound car looks pretty muscular. As it seems, it is a blend of a compact SUV and a MUV as well. This car is built on the same platform as the Honda Brio, Amaze and Mobilio, but there is no striking resemblance at all. Rather the BR-V sports an aggressive stance, which is pretty attractive indeed.
Before it hits the floor of 2016 Indian Auto Expo, check our detailed review here.
Click past jump to learn more about the new 2016 Honda BR-V.