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2015 Honda Mobilio 1.5 V

PVs, or Multi-Purpose Vehicles, are a staple on Philippine roads not just for their people-moving prowess, but for their sheer versatility as well. Usually powered by small displacement or diesel engines, MPVs are the ultimate practical car – spacious, thrifty and affordable.

Honda Mobilio 1.5 V

Honda Mobilio 1.5 V

Honda isn’t a stranger to the MPV segment, having offered the Honda FR-V and Freed in other markets. Locally, we have the Honda Odyssey but it’s simply too upscale for it to be considered an MPV for the people. But instead of rushing to offer a product that might not cater to Philippine needs, Honda has been biding their time, waiting until they had a car that ticked off all the checkmarks of the MPV formula before entering the market. And that car is the Honda Mobilio.

BREAKING THE MOLD

As MPVs go, the Honda Mobilio is probably the furthest away from the mold, aesthetically speaking. With a planted stance and sleek profile, the Mobilio looks more like a wagon than your run of the mill MPV. Based on the Honda Brio platform, you’ll immediately notice the family resemblance up front, though Honda has given the Mobilio a sportier chin, which works to give the car a bit more excitement. At the rear, the Mobilio borrows some of the Odyssey’s good looks, with large tail lights that wrap around the rear end. Its car-like silhouette means that the roofline is a bit lower than the rest of the mini MPVs, about 82mm lower than the Suzuki Ertiga, and 92mm lower than the Toyota Avanza. It’s significantly longer than both however, despite having the shortest wheelbase of the three. What all this equates to is that the Mobilio still drives very much like a car, retaining much of the impressive driving dynamics that Honda cars are known for.

SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVEs

Inside, the relationship between the Mobilio and Brio becomes even more apparent. The dash is straightforward, with nothing much in the way of frills. A 2-din Bluetooth/USB/AUX/CD audio head unit sits at the center, flanked by a simple but effective three-gauge instrument cluster and circular air conditioning vents. The dominant material used for the cabin is hard plastic, but fit and finish are excellent, in no way giving the impression that build quality was sacrificed to cut costs. The Mobilio’s leg and shoulder room up front and at the second row are acceptable, even for larger individuals. The third row, though technically capable of seating two, is probably best left to a single occupant, or two small children. In typical Honda fashion, the second and third row seats are extremely versatile. The third row seats can fold 50/50 and can be tumbled upwards, creating a lot of rear cargo space. The second row seats can fold 60/40, tumble, and slide back and forth, so even long objects can fit inside easily. Passengers in the second row seats also get their own air conditioning vents, with their own controls to boot.

POWERFUL AND EFFICIENT

Powered by 1.5-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine, the Honda Mobilio is gifted with the most horsepower in its class at 120hp. This extra horsepower comes in handy with a full complement of people on board, still capable of acceptable levels of acceleration on the highway. With two or three people on board, the Mobilio becomes a delight to drive, with sharp steering response and surprisingly agile handling characteristics compared to the rest of the offerings in the segment. The engine is mated to Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology CVT transmission, which helps in fuel economy. With combined city/highway usage, 9-11 km/L isn’t out of the ordinary, depending on how many passengers you carry on a daily basis.sss

FAMILY VALUES

At P877,000, the Mobilio 1.5 V reflects excellent value for money, considering its utility and practicality. It’s a no-frills MPV that succeeds in becoming more than just a people mover. Honda forgoes features such as auto-leveling HID lamps, rain-sending wipers and power seats to focus on offering a more powerful engine, sedan-like handling and a more rewarding drive overall compared to its MPV brethren. Those looking for a first-time family car would do well in adding the Honda Mobilio to their shortlist. Chances are they’ll be pleasantly surprised with what it has to offer.