One automotive manufacturer that has been seeing a growth in its sales in the shrinking auto market is Honda. The launch of its revolutionary diesel engine i-DTEC on the compact sedan Amaze has turned around the tables for the Japanese auto-maker. Since then, there has been no looking back. The new-generation City has been a runaway success for Honda and now it is entering a new market segment with the Mobilio. This new MPV will be launched sometime in July. Before that happens, CarDekho Team takes the initiative to drive the new Honda Mobilio and share our extensive review of this new MPV.
The Mobilio is based on the same platform like the Brio and the Amaze and the resemblance is visible. It has a similar fascia like the other two siblings, though this gets a larger front grille with a thicker chrome slat with the H badge at the centre. There is a striking similarity between all three family members till the B-pillar. After this, you will notice that the Mobillio has a longer wheelbase and a larger-size second row door. This size of the door is very close to a large-size SUV, indicating loads of room on the inside of the car.
The side profile of the Mobilio resembles the Amaze, however it has a taller stance and it is clearly visible as it has a ground clearance of 189mm. The Mobilio’s rear is well crafted too and the tail-lamps remind you of the new Honda City. There is a fake black plastic mesh, which probably could be avoided and a basic black panel would have worked well with the existing reflectors.
There is also the Mobilio RS, which is basically a cosmetic upgrade on the existing Mobilio’s top-of-the-line variant. The distinctive features on the Mobilio RS are new front bumpers, new front grille, headlamps with day-time running lamps, rear spoiler, side skirting and a re-designed rear bumper. One can opt for the RS-spec car or even get customised fitment on the Mobilio with the features that the buyer needs.
Again, if you are familiar with the Brio or the Amaze, the Mobilio will not surprise you with anything different in its styling. The instrument panel is similar to the exiting other two models. The instrument cluster on the Mobilio has a mix of black and blue to give it a more premium feel than the regular black— which has become common. With the RS-spec Mobilio, one can opt for touch-screen system infotainment system with reverse parking camera, Bluetooth and even satellite navigation system. One thing we fail to understand is why can’t manufacturer’s provide the connection of iPod connector, till all are stuck with the 30-pin socket.
The first row has similar space like the Amaze, however moment you step in the second row, there is loads of space for even tall persons. Now, this is possibly the maximum space any MPV can offer in the second row. These seats can seat three people and there is an armrest too. They split 60:40 and they also have reclining and sliding seats. The headrest too is adjustment. The space is good, however we wish that the thigh support a little better. Moving to the third row, which is generally very cramped, was surprising comfortable for short trips. If the front are moved a bit ahead, the third row becomes even better. Also, there is space for two people and it can recline as well. The headrest too are adjustable. With all rows upright, two suitcases can be fitted in the boot. When the third row is down, there is a lot more room. We wish that the third row folded flat, so if one flips the second row of seats, there is a lot more space to even load things like surf-board etc.
The second-row seat sliding feature is available only in the top-of-the-line V trim. The in-dash music system and multi-functional controls on the steering wheel are available from the S trim onwards. There are no rear vents in the base model and ABS comes in the base and mid-model only with the diesel engine. Dual airbags are available on the V and RS variants only. The RS variant will be available from September.
Engine and Transmission:
Mobilio comes with a 1.5-litre diesel engine and a 1.5-litre petrol engine option. Diesel will be the majority-selling engine and Honda will produce more diesel Mobilios than the petrol. To begin with, it has the same 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine that produces 98bhp of power and 200Nm of peak torque. This engine comes mated to a five-speed manual transmission. This is the same Amaze engine with the same gear ratios, the final drive ratio has been tweaked and shortened for more torque. This i-DTEC engine is an all-aluminium engine and this construction makes it noisy. Definitely the engine is a lot lighter, and what we like is the drivability. Despite the large size, the engine doesn’t struggle at any point. The power delivery is linear like any other petrol car and there is no struggle of changing gears often especially in daily city driving. The NVH levels are better than the Amaze, but the City is much better when it comes to insulation.
The petrol is the same as the City, 1.5-litre i-VTEC with a power of 117bhp and 145Nm of torque. The Honda Mobilio in petrol comes with only five-speed manual transmission. The power produced by this engine is sufficient for daily city driving and even on the highway. Overtaking isn’t an issue.
The Mobilio has been built for good ride quality and that is what it delivers. The ride quality is supple and it doesn’t feel stiff at any point. Despite being soft it doesn’t get bouncy at the back or even the front. The Mobilio’s suspension has been tuned to the Japanese accuracy. The ride is pliant even at speeds in excess of 100km/hr, be it for any of the three rows.
The handling is just fine, there is some amount of body roll. But the Mobilio hasn’t been built to be driven at high speeds or on a track. The diesel engine’s top speed is electronically limited to 140 km/hr. The steering wheel too is light and very convenient to drive in city.
Honda has ticked all the correct boxes with the Mobilio and seems like the competition will have to be reduce the cost or pull a rabbit of a hat to match this if Honda prices this aggressively. Honda has priced the Mobilio aggressively and at Rs 8.76lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) the top-of-the-line petrol variant is available, while the diesel range topping model costs Rs 10.86lakh. The competition needs to do some re-thinking as Honda has a winner in the MPV segment.
Spec comparison: Petrol
Spec comparison: Diesel