Introduction: Honda Cars India has been on a roll ever since the introduction of their 1.5l iDTEC diesel engine. Not only they managed to post consecutive monthly growth in sales since the launch of Amaze, their overall sales crossed 1 lakh for the first time ever last fiscal (134,339 units sold, 83% growth). With introduction of new City diesel earlier this year, Honda once again secured the position of segment leader, toppling Hyundai Verna Fluidic.
Now, Honda is back once again with a new car, and its for a segment which is new for them. This is in the form of Mobilio MPV. The name is coined from English words ‘Mobility and Mobile’. First launched in Indonesia last year, Mobilio for India was showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo earlier this year. That proved to be a great success as Honda India registered over 100,000 footfalls for the Mobilio during the Expo.
Design: Honda Mobilio comes with the tagline – The Stylish 7 Seater. Well, the designers have managed to achieve that successfully. Not only Mobilio brings style to the segment, it also brings a fresh new look. Based on the Brio-Amaze platform, the front look of Mobilio is almost similar to Amaze. Honda engineers have tried to give Mobilio a premium look with chrome grille like the new City and aggressive front bumper, but Honda’s new premium car, Mobilio still looks a lot like entry level cars Amaze and Brio from front.
Speaking about Mobilio’s side profile, it carries the same two body lines which are seen on the Amaze, but in the Mobilio they are much more prominent, thanks to the longer wheelbase (Mobilio wheelbase is at 2652 mm, longer than Amaze by 247 mm). Compared to Honda Amaze rear door, Mobilio’s is longer by 195 mm and taller by 145 mm. What this results in is a huge rear passenger window, perfect to sit back and watch the world go-by.
You will also notice new alloys on offer, which Honda has designed on the ‘Tough & Sporty’ concept. As you move towards the rear, a smart and seamless integration with clever use glass finish can be seen above the taillights. The rear design is much more aggressive than that of front, giving the car a bigger road-presence. It can easily pass-off as a premium luxury SUV. Six colour options on offer are – Taffeta White, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, Urban Titanium Metallic, Carnelion Red Pearl, and Majestic Blue Pearl.
Dimensions and Interior Space: The biggest challenge for Honda designers, was not exterior design, but the interiors. The task at hand was to develop an MPV under 4.4 meters in length, and also to accommodate three row seating with enough space for 7 adults.
The reason under 4.4 meters, is because of a nation-wide survey carried out by Honda Cars India, where they took into account average parking space in a house, ease of parking on road, manoeuvrability, etc.
At 4,386 mm in length, which is a good 121 mm longer than Maruti Ertiga, Honda Mobilio designers have successfully managed to offer a complete package, which is currently the best in class. Legroom and headroom on-board Mobilio is easily more than that on offer their top rival, Maruti Ertiga.
Width is at 1,683 mm, 12mm less than Ertiga, but enough for three adults to travel in the second row seat. During our test drive, we managed to accommodate 6 foot adults simultaneously in all three rows, and none of them complained about space!
Speaking about cargo area, it is not enough to carry luggage of 7 people, but is enough to carry 4 small sized cartons, or two small sized suitcases when the third row seats are utilized. When the third row seats are not utilized, Mobilio offers best in class cargo space.
Interior Design, Quality and Features: As attractive and premium Honda Mobilio looks from outside, somehow the interiors do not match up to that. The dashboard and seat design again reminds of the Amaze. Being a premium MPV, it would have been better if the Mobilio featured interiors like the new City.
Finished in two tone, black and beige Mobilio interiors do not shout premium aloud. Plastic feel on dashboard and steering wheel could have been better, and so could have been the seat covers. One striking difference on dashboard, is the presence of a polished and shiny wood panel.
But, there is a reason Honda decided not to offer City-styled interiors with Mobilio. They say that this design of seats and dashboard offer maximum interior space, and their primary aim was to offer as much room as possible on the inside, they decided to go with Amaze-styled interiors. All black leather interiors is not on offer, even as option.
Speaking about features on offer, Mobilio offers a touch screen audio video navigation system (Read UPDATE after Conclusion). This takes care of all your entertainment, navigation, and park assist. Mobilio also comes with USB port, and AUX, for connectivity. Bluetooth is not on offer. As far as speakers is concerned, they do offer average quality. You can control the system via steering mounted controls.
2nd and 3rd Row Seating Comfort: As mentioned earlier, legroom is not at all a problem, even in the third row. With flexible second row seats, third row can now also be used by adults, which until now was considered only for kids in rival cars.
Second row seats have a 90 mm slide, which allows flexibility of space, not only to the second row passenger, but also to the third row passenger. They come with 60-40 split and a foldable centre arm-rest. Entry to Mobilio’s third row is via rear passenger door. At the push of a knob, the second row seat completely folds and tumbles upright, giving enough space for entry and exit for third row passengers.
As far as air-conditioning is concerned for rear passengers, this too has been taken care of by Honda engineers. Thanks to rear AC vents placed on the roof, the cabin gets cooled in a matter of minutes.
Not only legroom and headroom are enough, Honda Mobilio comes with enough place to keep your bottles, papers, cup holders, or any other item. And this is given to all passengers, except for the middle seat passenger in the second row.
Engine Performance, Mileage and NVH: Offered in a choice of 1.5l iVTEC petrol and 1.5l iDTEC diesel engine options, Mobilio easily beats rivals Maruti Eritga, Chevrolet Enjoy and Nissan Evalia when it comes to power and mileage.
Speaking about Mobilio diesel variant, it generates 100 PS power at 3,600 rpm and 200 Nm torque at 1,750 rpm. Offered with manual 5 speed manual transmission, the power delivery to front wheels is smooth. Engine noise is considerably reduced as compared to Amaze. Even while you are standing next to the bonnet, you will not hear the usual diesel clutter, while inside the cabin, there is hardly any engine noise. Mileage of Mobilio diesel is claimed at 24.3 kmpl. During our media drive we achieved 18+ kmpl. As far as top speed is concerned, as it is seen in Amaze diesel, this one also comes with a limiter at around 142 kmph.
For Mobilio petrol, this one comes with Honda’s trusted 1.5l iVTEC, also seen on the City sedan. Generating 119 PS at 6,600 rpm and 145 Nm torque at 4,600 Nm, Mobilio petrol is easily the most hassle free petrol MPV to drive in India. Just like the City, in this one as well the motor is rev friendly and touches redline at 7,000 rpm. Mobilio petrol as well is offered with manual 5 speed transmission. Mobilio petrol claims mileage of 17.3 kmpl, and during our drive we managed to achieve 13+ kmpl. Top speed of petrol variant is not mentioned, but expect it to be over 160 kmph.
Honda Mobilio automatic transmission is not on offer. Honda says it because there is less demand for the same in the segment. As far as cruising on the highway is concerned, both petrol and diesel variants of Mobilio offer a relaxed experience. With seven on board, the car easily manages to cruise at 110-120 kmph in 5th gear with tacho around 3,000 rpm for petrol. The same for diesel is achieved at around 2,500 to 3,000 rpm in the 5th gear.
Though based on the Amaze platform, NVH levels are much improved, and almost matches the same levels as that of new Honda City. At higher speeds above 120 kmph, you start noticing the tyre noise inside the cabin.
City and Highway Driving: Due to taller gear ratios as compared to Amaze, Mobilio can be driven in city traffic without much changing of gears. Pickup is good and the car easily crosses 100 kmph in third gear. On the ghats, even with full load of 7 adults, Mobilio didn’t need much changing of gears as it easily finished the task in second gear. Body roll is average and not something to complain about. Braking too is good, even when travelling with 7 passengers.
Safety: Honda Mobilio comes with best in class safety as well. Some of the features include ABS with EBD, SRS airbag system, and Advance Compatibility Engineering body which helps disperse the force of impact on the body to a wider area, thereby reducing the impact on the passengers inside Mobilio. Apart from this, Mobilio offers impact-absorbing hood, front fenders, and wiper pivots. It also offers collapsible hood hinges, 3-point ELR seat belts with load limiters and pretensioners.
Conclusion: Honda Mobilio comes with best in class mileage, best in class ground clearance and the lowest cost of ownership in the segment. It is also the best driver’s car in the segment. Much depends on how Honda prices the Mobilio in India. If they can manage to achieve similar aggressive pricing as seen in the Amaze and City, Mobilio is sure to hit some serious dent in the sales of Ertiga and Innova (to some extent).
But considering Honda is trying to offer Mobilio in a new segment, above Ertiga, and below Innova, it seems unlikely that the Mobilio will be priced in the Ertiga range. Expect Honda Mobilio price to start from Rs 7 lakhs for the petrol and Rs 8 lakhs for the diesel. Top end variant could cost about Rs 10-11 lakhs.
UPDATE 11th July 2014: Honda Car India has made a slight change. They have decided to not offer the touchscreen AVN (audio, video and navigation) system in Mobilio (one seen in the image above). It will not be offered as an accessory as well. Instead, what you get is Brio and Amaze styled music system (see image below). The woody panel too will not be offered.
They were forced to take this step as a software glitch in the system, which unfortunately will not be solved by the time the car is officially launched. Honda has said that they might start offering the AVN system at a later stage. Apart from this, Honda has also said that leather seats will not be offered, not even in Mobilio RS nor in Mobilio top end variant. But, consumers can choose to opt leather seats as an accessory.
Why to buy Honda Mobilio
– 7 Seater Family Car
Why not to buy Honda Mobilio
– Not enough cushioning in seats
– Front look (watchout for the Mobilio RS variant)
Further read – Honda Mobilio vs Maruti Ertiga Review
TechSpecs of Honda Mobilio
Update: Price of Honda Mobilio