2009 Honda Freed test drive and review
Honda Freed is Honda's latest Mini People moVer.
This car can accommodate 7 people in 2-2-3 configuration. To make this car even more people friendly, Honda make people can move from first to second to the third row with ease as there is a way on the middle of the first and second row seat.
The Freed I drove belongs to my friend and is brand new with 750 km on it's odometer. I've decided not to do my usual test drive of testing brakes and full acceleration since the owner is sitting besides me, instead I test drive this care peacefully and softly. Well, although not a full test drive, what I wrote here is sufficient for most of you. Well, Honda Freed is a family va not a sport car anyway.
Remote controlled power sliding door on the second row plus anti pinch function, so you can put your hand to stop the door from closing (just don't blame me for any damage you receive, since I believe the anti pinch will pinch a little finger and will not stop before breaking your nail).
There is also come standard automatic door lock and unlock. The doors automatically lock when the vehicle reach 15 km/h and the doors automatically unlock when the vehicle come in a complete stop and its transmission set to P. A very convenient feature, as I always forgot to engage and disengage the door lock.
Freed has smooth engine
however, although the engine is tuned for freed, this car's engine feels under powered. It's too small.
This car definitely needs a larger engine. When this car is fully loaded with 7 adults, this car requires to rev's quite high only to climb a small slope.
Well, unless pushed, Freed is not very driveable and it is pretty hard to cope up with other car on street. Which means a more fuel consumed.
The transmission system is Honda's very clever grade logic system with 5 gears.
When kicked down at 40-50 km/h, this car response quite well and accelerate quite fast and can shift down on an uphill slope.
However as I can feel that the first gear is pulls the car quite heavily, and when changing to the second gear, I can feel some jitters.
Suspension is stable, however it is about too firm for an MPV. However don't expect this car to handle like a Honda Jazz or Honda City even tough Freed shares the Honda Jazz and City platform.
This car handles like a real MPV but with a small turning radius of a city car! This is very clever, as I've never drove an MPV with this small turning radius. Two thumbs up to Honda.
Honda Freed handle nimble on turns and stable on straights. However Honda Freed is not a sport car and not meant to be used to corner tightly. This car has a strong understeer when used to corner at slightly higher speed (60+ km/h).
There are plenty of storage around the car, however the ergonomics is not very fine, this car's air conditioning and CD player control is too far away from the driver's seat, therefore I can't adjust them just by moving my hand. Honda should put steering wheel audio and air conditioning control since this car is already expensive. Otherwise Freed driver got a perfect seating posture and driving position enabling him or her to monitor the car easily.
Although technician at Honda did their best to maximise the available size of Freed and they did manage to make a roomy interior, however car's length didn't lie. The 3rd row seat is very small and only suitable for children below 12 years old and quite tiring for an adult to sit there for more than an hour. Well again, Honda Freed is not a touring car, it is a city car which each journey is less than one hour of driving.
An interesting note, there is a lamp or two under the car's CD player lighting the car's on dashboard storage. This is very handy since I can put parking ticket, toll ticket, toll subscription card and money on that bright storage. This feature is very convenient, since I can check which money to give the parking attendant.
This car had enormous left and right mirror which combined with the car's tight turning radios and tall driving position made this car really very good in surfing city's traffic jam and density.
Fuel economy of this car can be expected to be very good. There is an onboard computer which monitor real time fuel consumption and averages them. My friend manages to get 10.6 km/l combined cycle. I can average 12.5 km/l combined cycle, and I'm optimistic that I could get 14 km/l after I'm used to drive this car and knew how to make most of it.
Interior is awful and doesn't show an interior of a car of its price of Rp 260.000.000,00 or USD 27,000.
Honda chooses to use cheap plastic on its interior, therefore you'll touch hard plastic everywhere. Moreover, the gap between dashboard and door trim is so wide and quite disruptive on my opinion.
There is hot and cold air conditioning, however it is not very cool under hot Jakarta sun (as measured by a thermometer 37oC or 99oF). To make matter worse there are no rear air-conditioning registers. Therefore the cooling is not even and with full passenger I need to set the AC to 2 to make the air cool enough to be comfortable.
What's good about this car's air-conditioning automatically is it shuts off when the engine is ignited. This is a simple feature however important, since turning off air-conditioning when cranking engine will reduce crank motors' load and therefore prolonging it's life. With air-conditioner auto shut off, the whole car driving experience is made practical.
The air conditioning noise is perfectly tolerable at setting 1, and gets louder at setting 2 and a bit loud before called disturbing at setting 3. Street noise from wheel can be heard quite loud, however engine noise is very smooth at least until RPM 2500.
Above 2500 rpm, the engine noise could be heard. Well, that's how VTEC system works by changing the engine timing after you push the car to a certain rpm.
Non important critics
- On every other car's door unlocking remote, the right button is for unlocking and the left button is for locking. However Freed's remote control locates the left button for unlocking and the right button for locking the door. Weird.
- Speedometer is overly sensitive at slow speed under 20 km/h. It moves faster than my car. However I'm unsure about it's accuracy.
While this car is not as comfortable as Nissan Grand Livina, this car is a lot more expensive compared to Nissan Grand Livina.
I would not recommend this car, get a Nissan Grand Livina which is faster (the Nissan Grand Livina is tested by Fajri and could reach 200 km/h), more agile and do less understeer.