Honda Freed 1.5 EX Review
Free(d) Your Mind

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
14 Dec 2009
 

With superb MPVs like the Stream and Odyssey, car buyers seem to have forgotten that Honda also offers the Freed in its official line-up. Well, ignore the Freed at your own peril for it is a pretty darn good compact people carrier as we are about to find out.

Economies of scale

The Jazz could well be the best thing that ever happened to Honda when it comes to small cars. Look at the sheer popularity of it in many countries around the world. The success of the Jazz isn’t limited to the small hatchback that we’re so familiar with though. Both generation Jazzs’ platforms have spawned additional models like the Airwave, City, Insight hybrid and the Freed among other Honda models. Platform sharing is obviously very cost effective for car manufacturers. All good for Honda and the Jazz then.

The Freed is the latest Jazz off spring to be officially sold here and just like the model it is based on, it is a darn good car. The Freed is basically a compact MPV that accommodates seven. In terms of styling, the Freed is well, boxy. A box shape is the best use of space in any case.  Despite the Jazz underpinnings, the Freed is taller and longer than the popular compact hatch. Honda’s designers have managed to somewhat incorporate the brand’s design DNA to the Freed’s exterior – details like the oversized front grille and the flowing feature lines that run through the sides of the car are some features that are shared with models like the City and accord among others.

The Freed’s relatively compact exterior means it’s easy to maneuver in tight spaces and car parks in an urban environment like Singapore.

Officially the Freed is only available with a single engine option, The motor that powers the Freed is the Jazz’s and City’s 1.5-litre four-pot  that  produces a maximum power of 118bhp in this application thanks to features such as 16-valves and Honda’s famed  i-VTEC variable valve timing system.

Despite its more generous exterior dimensions and slightly heftier weight, the freed doesn’t feel significantly slower than the Jazz when accelerating off the line. Honda doesn’t quote a 0-100km/h time for the reed but we reckon 12 seconds is about spot on.

Like most of Honda’s four-cylinder i-VTEC units, the engine has a rather peaky power delivery nature – peak torque of 146Nm doesn’t come until a relatively high 4800rpm. Whilst it delivers a fair amount of grunt at low speeds, the four-cylinder unit will only deliver its maximum if you rev the nuts off it. Disappointingly though, the Freed’s motor isn’t as smooth as Honda’s larger four-pot engines – it can sound rather gruff when worked hard or at high engine speeds.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1495cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.4:1
Bore x Stroke (73.0 x 89.4)mm
Power 118bhp @ 6600rpm
Torque 146Nm @ 4800rpm
Power to Weight 88.7 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 13.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 170 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 11.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 5 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type MPV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4215 x 1700 x 1735) mm
Wheelbase 2740 mm
Turning Circle 5.2 metres
Kerb Weight 1330 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 42 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Drums