Japanese auto-giant Honda is making plans to launch its globally acclaimed MPV, the Freed in India. Honda seems to have stepped on the accelerator hard for making its presence felt in segments from which it was missing.
First it was the Amaze to take on the Murti Suzuki Swift DZire. The Amaze was also the launch vehicle for Hondas foray into diesel engines in India and has received rave reviews and massive booking numbers. Bookings for the new City have already begun and deliveries will start soon.
A new Jazz, a compact SUV named Vezel and the Mobilio MPV will be launched in the coming two years.
The Freed will be launched in the ASEAN markets in the next six months but Honda will do its homework before launching it in India by 2016. This, Honda hopes, will be able to dethrone the Toyota Innova as the MPV of choice. The Innova has been ruling the roost since its launch in 2005 and has sold more than 4.5 lakh units till now.
Both, the Freed and the Innova are due for an upgrade in 2015.
The Freed is the second vehicle, after the Jazz, to be based on the new Jazz platform. The overall dimensions may be smaller than the Innova but it will have enough space inside for accommodating 7 passengers in three rows of seating. Passenger comfort will be the key highlight of the car as one can expect from any Honda product. Another distinguishing factor will be sliding doors which will aid in easier entry and exit from the vehicle.
On the engine front, it will feature both, petrol as well as diesel engines. Availability of a diesel engine from the launch itself will be a good step from Honda in a diesel favoring country like India.
The petrol will be the 1.5 liter i-VTEC which we are familiar with now. The Diesel will be what we have seen in the amaze and will see soon in the New City, a 1.5 liter i-DTEC with a turbo.
The jazz platform is also made for automatic gearboxes and it will be interesting to see if Honda does launch it with an Auto box. Presently we can only speculate and hope Honda considers it as an option.
The Mobilio and the Freed already encroach on each other’s segments and pricing so, it will be interesting to see how Honda tackles this problem.