All about the spacious Honda Mobilio

Jul 20, 2014, 06:16 IST | Amit Chhangani

With its striking design and spacious, functional interior, the Honda Mobilio may well set the MPV segment on fire

Building on the evolving MPV (Multi purpose vehicle) segment, Mobilio, the latest MPV offering from Honda, aspires to take the game to the next level. Bringing in the Japanese carmaker’s globally renowned styling, packaging and engineering values into one neat and frugal package, the Mobilio may draw a whole new bunch of customers into this segment.

Honda Mobilio

Design and styling
The Mobilio is based on the Brio/Amaze platform, and visual similarities between the products are quite evident — especially in the front. The nose of the car is quite similar to that of the Brio/Amaze. The big, bold grille, drenched in chrome, however, has been taken from the more premium Honda City. The angular, flared out lower flanks of the bumper work well towards offsetting the ‘people mover’ image of the car and lend it an air of athleticism.

You can slide the second row seats fore and aft, or recline them to release more space for the third row passengers
You can slide the second row seats fore and aft, or recline them to release more space for the third row passengers

In the profile, the big, new
15- inch wheels distract one from focussing on the unusual length of the car. While the styling is similar to that of the Brio/Amaze till the B-pillar, the designers at Honda have given the surface a fresh new twist. The ascending window sill takes a momentary drop, post the B-pillar, before resuming its ascent and ending its journey above the tail-lamps. Not only is that an aberration from the regulation shoulder-lines, it’s also a functional detail — maximising the glasshouse area and augmenting the feeling of space and airiness for the second row occupants.

The chunky steering wheel with a wire mesh bottom spoke looks sporty. MID in the instrument cluster lacks a distance to dry readout
The chunky steering wheel with a wire mesh bottom spoke looks sporty. MID in the instrument cluster lacks a distance to dry readout

At the rear, the Honda City-esque tail lamps are horizontally aligned, and are connected by a wide, straight panel with a sharp crease, holding the Honda emblem in the centre. The shape of the registration plate recess too is also very angular.

Overall, the Mobilio looks like a well designed and well finished product. By deviating from the norm and adding pleasant detailing in certain places, the Mobilio manages to delight visually.

Dedicated roof mounted A/C vents for the second-row occupants with air-flow control
Dedicated roof mounted A/C vents for the second-row occupants with air-flow control

Cabin space and features
The dashboard of the Mobilio has been lifted from the Amaze/Brio platform. While it doesn’t look too great, it does help Honda keep costs down. The top spec VX variant comes with glossy faux wood inserts on the dashboard and door panels, which, though well finished, may not suit everyone. The central touch-screen panel is equipped with a rear view camera, satellite navigation and audio system controls, adding great value to Mobilio’s dash.

Ingress to the third row is very convenient with easy-to-tumble second row seats which create a wide opening for you to enter  Pics/Amit Chhangani
Ingress to the third row is very convenient with easy-to-tumble second row seats which create a wide opening for you to enter Pics/Amit Chhangani

The chunky steering wheel with its wire mesh bottom spoke looks nice and sporty. The MID (Multi information display) on the instrumentation shows you average consumption, though it doesn’t have a distance to dry readout yet. The air conditioner is manual, and the Mobilio features dedicated roof mounted A/C vents for second-row occupants.

The Indian Mobilio has received some changes over its Indonesian and Thai counterparts. Keeping Indians’ perception of space in mind, Honda has introduced the car with a two-tone black beige interior, unlike the all-black treatment given to the international product. The central armrest for the second-row passengers is also specific to India. The A/C for the car was also equipped with a heater to cope with severe cold in North India.

In terms of storage spaces, the Mobilio boasts as many as 11 cup/bottle holders across the cabin. The second row of seats is split in 60:40 ratio. Both the second row seats recline and allow fore and aft adjustment. This adds tremendous flexibility to the seating layout. Both can also be tumbled easily — making for easy ingress and egress for the third- row occupants.

The knee-room in the third row is limited, although the fact that those seats are reclinable helps. The Mobilio delights with its generous boot space, and can accommodate a large and medium sized suitcase, with space left for a couple of haversacks. The third row can be folded and tumbled to release even more space.

Engine performance
The Honda Mobilio, like the Amaze and City, comes equipped with a 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol and a 1.5 litre i-DTEC Earth Dreams diesel engines. The petrol engine puts out 119PS of power at 6600 rpm and 145 Nm of torque at 4600 rpm. The amazingly linear and torquey i-DTEC diesel pumps out 100PS of peak power at 3600 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm. The absolute highlight of the diesel Mobilio is its remarkably high ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 24.2 kmpl which makes it by far the most fuel efficient MPV in the country. The petrol Mobilio has been rated at 17.3 kmpl by ARAI, which is a great figure too.

Previously seen in the Honda Amaze and the City, the i-DTEC diesel unit leads the pack in terms of linear power delivery and good tractability from the bottom of the rev-range. Honda engineers have taken measures to ensure that the Mobilio’s cabin is relatively well insulated from the engine noise. It’s not quiet in a segment leading way, but is a significant improvement over the Amaze. The petrol engine, with its size, power and torque figures, feels apt for a seven-seater machine and offers good pulling power from low revs. It’s a versatile engine, with good low-rev response and grunt, and an potent top of the range performance too.

Ride and handling
The steering on the petrol version is extremely light, making it incredibly easy to maneuver in the tightest of spots. On the downside, however, the light steering on the petrol variant is devoid of feel or weight, especially at the centre. The speed sensitive unit stiffens up with speed, but we would have wanted it to be a bit more firm. On the other hand, the steering wheel on the diesel variant feels well weighted, offers plausibly better feel and inspires more confidence around corners. The level of grip offered by the tyres was impressive and we managed good corner speeds without any screeches. Sure, the Mobilio is not an apex hunting tool, but for the purpose it’s been built for, it may well be the new benchmark in the sub-R10 lakh MPV segment. At 189mm, the Mobilio also boasts segment leading ground clearance. The car is sprung on the firmer side, but settles down once loaded with passengers.

Our verdict
The Mobilio proves that Honda has put in a lot of effort into honing the Brio platform for a bigger body type. Exterior styling, interior packaging and choice of engines offered — everything is testimony to Honda’s maturity as an international carmaker, who knows how to adapt to local markets with great finesse. While the dashboard isn’t very exciting, the Mobilio looks premium and may pull a bunch of sedan buyers towards itself.

To be announced

Technical specs
Engine — 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol / 1.5 liter i-DTEC turbo diesel
Fuel efficiency — 17.3 kmpl / 24.2 kmpl
Power — 119PS @ 6,600 / 100PS @36,000 rpm
Torque — 145 Nm @ 4,600 rpm / 200 Nm @ 1,750 rpm


Mahindra Xylo
The Xylo was the original crusader in the value for money MPV segment — offering good space and comfort at a terrific price.

Mahindra Xylo

It tasted a fair bit of success too. A Mahindra product to the core, you can expect the Xylo to serve you in a hassle free manner for years. Relatively low fuel efficiency thanks to the big 2.5 litre engine, and not so sure-footed handling have been the two lackluster aspects of the Xylo.
Price: Rs 7.7 to 10.7 lakh

Chevrolet Enjoy
The Enjoy is another great product in the segment which has somehow been ignored even after offering great value. It’s spacious from the inside, though the exterior styling could have been better.

Chevrolet Enjoy

The dashboard is rather uninspiring, though it really scores highly in terms of interior space. The Enjoy is available with a choice of 1.4 litre petrol and 1.3 litre diesel engines and offers good fuel efficiency.
Price: Rs 5.7 to 8.1 lakh

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
With the Ertiga, Maruti Suzuki identified an untapped segment and created a product which catered to it to the tee. No wonder, the Ertiga has been a runaway success for the leading car maker in India.

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga

Even with its well packaged, compact exterior, the Ertiga manages to encapsulate great space within. The dashboard looks premium, and the rest of the cabin is well built too. The diesel engine has a pronounced turbo lag, but for the fuel efficiency on offer, it really isn’t much of a compromise.
Price: Rs 5.8 to 8.9 lakh

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