Tuesday, April 28, 2015
UPDATED: Upping the Game: Honda Launches Mobilio for Philippines (w/ Specs)
UPDATE 2: Read our First Drive here (5/5).
UPDATE 1: Photos from the launch proper, more interior shots, and the spec sheet (5/1).
For a carmaker, a product’s importance falls in one of two categories: a halo model or a sales leader. And though everyone dreams of having the new NSX, Honda knows quite well that’s not going to sell in critical numbers here in the country or even globally. On the other hand, you have the all-new Mobilio, Honda’s first crack at the lucrative but highly competitive Asian Utility Vehicle (AUV) market. Single-handedly, it’s poised to be their make-or-break model. And by sticking true to the company’s philosophy of being engineering-centered, it looks like it’s going to be a winner.
Rightfully shying away from the term, AUV, which connotes an unrefined and cheap driving experience, Honda is calling the Mobilio an MUV or Multi-purpose Utility Vehicle. The design is sleek and modern with a silhouette similar to a station wagon rather than a cumbersome AUV. Based off the Brio/Brio Amaze platform, it has the same attentive and alert expression from the large, eyes wide open headlights. The two-bar grille successfully mixes cues from the CR-V and City creating an image of both passenger car-like comfort and SUV-like flexibility. The angular bumpers add some sportiness without compromising the ground clearance which stands at a generous 189 millimeters. From the side and the rear, the Mobilio combines styling cues found in Honda’s global MPV line-up. The lighting strike-kink on the rear doors is a nod to the most distinguishable feature of the North American Odyssey while the angular and complexly designed tail lamps and hatch is similar to the design in the recently launched global Odyssey.
Setting the trend with its Brio and Brio Amaze sub-B-segment offerings, Honda is also gifting the Mobilio with a truly world-class running gear. It’s totally uncompromised in terms of engineering with a 1.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine for a heart. Shared with the Jazz and City, the Mobilio is the most powerful in its class with 120 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 145 Nm of torque at 4,600 rpm. Mated to this is a slick 5-speed manual or the new Earth Dreams CVT. The continuously variable gearbox is further tweaked for improved functionality and response during cornering and hilly terrain. A larger 42-liter tank means less trips to the petrol station especially on long journeys. Ensuring safe and secure handling, it comes standard with an Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system that gives it a nimble 5.2-meter turning radius. It rides on front MacPherson Struts and a rear H-shaped torsion beam axle. At each corner, it’s fitted with 185/65R15 tires.
As a family-friendly automobile, it has no less than 9 cup and bottle holders scattered throughout the cabin. It also has dual air conditioning as standard equipment. On some models, Honda’s touchscreen audio-visual system with both USB and aux inputs provide entertainment for everyone on board. The steering wheel-mounted satellite audio switch adds a touch of convenience. And of course, you can’t talk about family without touching on the topic of safety. In that regard, the Mobilio comes packing dual SRS airbags, ABS, and EBD. It also has ISOFIX child seat anchors to protect the little ones.
The all-new Honda Mobilio is offered in the following variants: 1.5 E M/T (P 807,000), 1.5 V CVT (P 877,000), and 1.5 RS Navi CVT (P 967,000). It comes in a wide variety of colors from Alabaster Silver (all variants), Taffeta White (V CVT and E M/T), Crystal Black Pearl (RS Navi CVT and V CVT), Sunset Orange (RS Navi CVT), and White Orchid Pearl (RS Navi CVT, + P20,000). Although it’s not as sexy as an NSX, it does contain the very same Honda engineering DNA that’s often set their products apart. This new offering is set to widen their market reach in the Philippines, since they’re entering the entry-level seven-seater utility vehicle for the very first time. However, they’ve done so without compromising on performance, engineering, and safety. It’s certainly going to be a game-changer in more ways than one.