Honda Cars India Limited (HCIL), the Indian subsidiary of the Japanese autogiant Honda, has finally stepped in the gold-digging MPV segment by introducing its stylish seven seater Mobilio MPV in the country. Earlier, the MPV was also the 'Showstopper' at the Honda stands at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo and was gracing the event. Based on the immensely versatile Brio platform and implementing the company's latest "Man Maximum, Machine Minimum" design philosophy, it sits in between the Maruti Ertiga and Toyota Innova in the MPV segment. Honda Mobilio boasts an array of most advanced, up-market and contemporary features inside the cabin. The company intends to manufacture it at its Greater Noida production unit and take the localisation upto 90% in order to make it cost-effective.
Honda has presented the Mobilio in both petrol and diesel guises with a total of 7 variants. In both the aforementioned fuel trims, there are 3 similar variants - E, S and V while the top of the range sport variant RS is only available with diesel guise and unlike the regular variants, its deliveries would commence by September. The company has used its twin 1.5L powertrains quite well with the MPV. Unfortunately, the Mobilio misses out on an automatic variant in both the guises. The interior cabin is not a never-seen-before stuff instead its been borrowed from the Amaze and Brio, but that doesn't make it any lesser premium or spacious. The company hasn't left any stone unturned to ensure sure shot success of this MPV.
Honda, once again showing the magic of its 'Man Maximum, Machine Minimum' philosophy, carves out immense space inside the MPV. In Mobilio, the arm rests, instrument panel and central console are done in dual shade in form of black and beige along with silver trim. These are a kind of carry forward from the elder siblings Amaze and Brio. As known, Mobilio is the longest MPV dimensionally in the entire segment as its length is around 4.4 meters which subsequently benefits in form of larger boot and ample legroom at the 3rd row. The second row seats are 60:40 split fold-and-tumble type with slide & recline option whereas the third and the last row comes with 50:50 split folding type which can be reclined also. It leaves a decent boot space of 223L which can be enhanced further up to 521L after folding the 3rd row. Additionally, Honda has skillfully incorporated door pockets with the front and middle row in order to facilitate an occupant by storing small belongings nearby while the 3rd row has a mobile and glass holder.
The height adjustable driver's seat is also an advantage and works really well during long journeys. The 3-spoke tilt steering has audio controls mounted over it for the sake of driver's convenience to adjust audio volumes directly from there. All the windows are power windows and driver has separate access to each one. All the seats are done in premium fabric upholstery and have integrated head restraints.
Moreover, the top-end trim also have 2nd row centre arm-rest with cup-holders. Then, there is accessory socket and USB port in order to revive the dried up battery of your phone. Honda Mobilio, except the base trim, flaunts a 2 DIN Integrated Audio System with AM/FM, MP3, USB & Aux-in connectivity. It also comes loaded with front and rear speakers to enable you listen to your favorite songs with full intensity. To maintain a healthy temperature inside the cabin, it boasts a air conditioner with heater as standard with all the variants. However, the base trim misses out on reat A/C vents.
Honda, as always, scores heavily in this segment. It is the third consecutive Honda car that records best-in-class mileage in diesel guise after Amaze and City sedans. The Honda Mobilio has a fuel efficiency of 24.2 kmpl as claimed by the company officials and certified by ARAI. On the other hand, the petrol variants return an incredible mileage of 17.3 kmpl, yet another best-in-class! However, these figures might drop down by 4-5 kmpl while driving in thick traffic and overcrowded streets inside the city.
Performance and Handling
Honda Mobilio is decent as far as handling is concerned. It consists of a 3-spoke tilt electric power steering that works immensely well and maneuvers the MPV with utmost ease through narrow and crowded roads. It is lighter at low speeds and stable at high speeds; thus, come up with a stress free and elegant driving experience. In addition, the MPV has McPherson strut suspension in the front and H-shaped torsion beam rear suspension which further enlighten and compliment the nonchalant driving pleasure. Honda has provided the MPV a best-in-class ground clearance of 189 mm which is the oomph factor that makes it compatible with rough and uneven terrains and even perform there with same agility and intensity. The 1.5L i-VTEC petrol powered variants of the MPV accomplish the 100 kmph barrier from standstill in 13 seconds while clocking a top speed of 160kmph. On the other hand, the diesel ones don't lag behind by much as they achieve the same milestone of 100kmph in and around 14 seconds while registering a top speed of 165kmph.
Honda Mobilio challenges the likes of Maruti Ertiga, Chevrolet Enjoy, Nissan Evalia and Toyota Innova in the Indian automotive industry. Undoubtedly, it has got the most efficient and powerful powertrains in both guises as compared to its contemporaries, except the Innova. But, the pricing of Innova is way higher than these MPVs. Hence, Mobilio gets an edge over its rivals in terms of spaciousness, ground clearance and features. The cheapest of the lot is Ertiga but the 3rd row spacing is pathetic in Ertiga.
Mobilio is yet another marvel wheeled out of the Honda factory as far as exterior designing is concerned. Based on the Brio platform, the front fascia of the MPV resembles to the Amaze sedan. The smiley shaped front grille with chrome accent looks decent with the halogen headlamps. At the centre of the grille, Honda badge graces the MPV. The front bumper has a airdam beneath it and it also accommodates for the twin fog lamps. The company has distinguished the RS variant from these regular ones by providing projector headlamps, redesigned front bumper with larger air-dam. Additionally, it also flaunts a spoiler to attain its sporty character perfectly. The exterior design concept used in the Mobilio MPV is being labelled as “Dual-Solid Motion” because it combines the glassy cabin with a dynamic body.
Going to the side profile, The B Pillar and C Pillar sport the traditional glossy black color while the door handles and Outside Rear View Mirrors (ORVMs) are in accordance with the body color. The top-end trim apart from the RS variant boasts 10-spoke 15-inch alloy wheels while the base and mid-level variants are offered with 15-inch steel wheels. Looking at the rear end, Honda has come up with a massive windscreen for the MPV which also has Wiper with Washer. It has attractive and bigger tail lamp cluster which is complimented well by the chrome inserts. Honda has bestowed this MPV with rear defogger and high mount stop LED lamp in order to enhance the overall appearance of the rear profile. The RS variant, reflecting its sportiness, comes with a dual-tone rear bumper in accordance with a black strip and reflectors. In addition, the RS variant would sport an exclusive Crystal Black color apart from the seven regular colors which are Brilliant Gold Metallic, Carnelian Red Pearl, Urban Titanium Metallic, Taffeta White, Alabaster Silver Metallic, and Majestic Metallic Blue.
Engine & Transmission
Honda Mobilio is being offered with petrol as well as diesel guise with company's twin 1.5L engines. The petrol variants get the company's powerful 1.5L motor that is already doing its duties to City sedan. The 4 Cylinder, 16 Valve, 1497 cc, SOHC enabled i-VTEC engine belts out a maximum power output of 117 bhp at 6600 rpm along with a peak torque of 145Nm at 4600 rpm. The engine is coupled with the company's conventional 5-speed manual transmission; no automatic variant on offer! On the other hand, the diesel variants of the MPV, including the Sporty RS variant, in-house a 1.5L i-DTEC mill that is tried and tested well by the company with its existing sedans Amaze and City. This 4 Cylinder, 16 Valve, 1498 cc, DOHC enabled i-DTEC engine returns a top power of 99 bhp at 3600 rpm and a highest torque performance of 200Nm at 1750 rpm. The engine, similar to the petrol variants, is mated to the 5-speed manual gearbox to maximize fuel efficiency and performance.
Braking and Safety
Honda Mobilio is no exception as the Japanese automajor always install a top-notch braking system in all its vehicles. The MPV has an efficient braking system in which front brake is disc while the rear one is drum. This braking system responds instantly to the driver's foot and acts supremely in accordance with the duo of Anti-lock Braking System and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). ABS and EBD are standard with every diesel variant whereas in petrol fuel trim, they come only with the top-end variants. Furthermore, the top-end variants in both guises also boast Front dual SRS airbags and Front seatbelt pretensioner with load limiter to ensure maximum safety of occupants in case of a collision. There are also additional safety features in form of Auto door lock with speed, Driver seat belt reminder and Powered lock hand switch.
Coming to the security front, Honda hasn't refrained from providing the MPV an array of first-grade features that would eradicate any chance of burglary or theft. Honda Mobilio is bestowed with Central locking & Immobilizer as standard security feature across every variant. The mid-level and top-end trim also comprise of Security Alarm & Keyless entry for maximum security of the vehicle.
What we think
Honda scores a hat-trick of successful vehicles at the Indian auto industry as the Mobilio is the third consecutive vehicle from the company that has got a thundering response in the country, after the Amaze and City sedans. Honda has created the MPV quite well by studying and understanding the needs of people, branded and promoted it very well, and priced it well too. A not-so-feature-rich base variant lands a bit of disappointment but except that, all is well.