05 March 2011 - Honda Freed is Honda Malaysia's forst bite into the premium compact MPV market share. Being compact always get associated to being small and tight, but the Freed begs to differ, low floor and high roof compensate this perception and render the Freed being the right size and not looking cumbersome and bulky. Exterior wise it does look boxy but at the same time oozes youthful attractiveness without being cheeky. A look that will attract the young yet would not offend the mature.
The funk factor extends to the interior as well, the dual layer dashboard is stylish and refreshing. Colourfully animated bar grapghs replaces the conventional rev counter and fuel indicator on the meter cluster gels with the Freed's design theme, double DIN stereo is MP3 ready and supports music sources from USB connectivity. Everything on the dash is placed neatly, dash mounted gear lever,digital air-cond controls, cup holders, and foot parking brake. However, the only let down on the dash would have to be the steering could easily put Freed's to shame. Despite that, the driver's seat is indeed a cheerful place to be at.
Moving on, the Freed is bestowed with four arm rest equipped captain seats and a third row foldable seats. Openings between the first two rows enables a walkthrough cabin right from all the way front to the rear thanks to the flat floor and high flat roof design mentioned earlier. Although the Freed comes with seats belt, to accommodate 3 on the third row takes effort, unless the passengers are petite in size, the Freed would chauffeur 6 full grown in perfect comfort. Though never lacking storage spaces and cup holders alike, the interior materials may still show rooms for improvements. However, the Freed spots dual automatic sliding doors, a feature only seen on more luxurious MPVs, now on Freed operable by either the remote, door handles or the swithches on the dash, making it a treat for the back passengers of all ages ascending or descending from the low floored Freed. And when extra space is needed for those odd cargo moments, be it bicycles or even a washing machine, loading and unloading is just an easy errand with the third row seats folded, definitely a winner in its segment.
The Honda Freed shares the same heart with Honda City and Honda Jazz, 116hp and 146Nm produced by the reliable 1.5L shows no signs of under-power, the 5 speed automatic transmission wraps up the package nicely, power is adequate, gear change is smooth. Ride and handling is surprising good for this compact MPV, considering the Freed is a rather tall vehicle, bumpy roads and corners pose no treat under normal driving condition. Honda Freed score a 6 stars rating in JNAP (Jaoan New Car Assessment Program), and sum up the safety features with Anti-Locking Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), dual air bags and a G-Con chasis that disperses crash impact.
The Honda Freed blends function, versatility and style gracefully. Young families with a decent household income in search of an MPV will find the Honda Freed to be a perfect choice, good looking, practical, safe and a better perceived social status if you parked your Freed next to a Proton Exora.