If compact dimensions and practical and spacious interior at the same time sounds impossible to you, get ready to change your mind!
This Honda Freed Hybrid review will show you why this compact MPV may be more than enough for all your practical needs. It’s got great interior space, 7 seats, modern design, practical features and a great new 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Speaking of the gearbox, its combination with a hybrid powertrain allows this Honda Freed Hybrid fuel consumption to be among the best in its class.
The Honda Freed Hybrid seems to tick all the right boxes on paper. Let’s give it a closer look.
The Freed is an entry-level MPV, but it actually looks pretty good. As standard, you get LED headlights and taillights and 15” wheels with these stylish wheel caps. The overall look is rather boxy, but not bad in any way. We’ll get to the benefits of the boxy body when we start talking about the interior and driving the Freed.
Now, we are talking about the style only.
Even the front fascia is pretty upright, but instead of looking unimaginative, designers threw in a few additional details to spice up the look. The result is a rather nice creation.
The front has LED headlights hugging a stylish grille. The lower section has a small lip spoiler that adds to the sporty look of a car that is most definitely not thought of as sporty, so this is a nice bonus.
Engine and Drive
Most Freeds will spend most of their lives on busy city streets so the length of 4265 mm is a great feature. Combine it with its boxy shaped body, huge window surfaces and a great turning radius and manoeuvring and parking the Honda Freed is a breeze. There aren’t many 7-seaters that are easier to drive.
The power comes from a 1.5L i-VTEC petrol engine and an electric motor. The engine alone produces 101 kW of power and 134 Nm of torque, so it is no slouch on its own. However, the electric motor is in charge of adding up to a fun driving experience. Electric motors have instant torque delivery at any RPM, so this means the Freed has some added push even before the engine has reached comfortable RPM.
The result is a great throttle response and acceleration that surprises anyone who mainly focuses on the practical side of the Freed Hybrid. You will get up to speed in no time and overtakes are far easier than most people would guess from the look at the car and its specs sheet.
Another reason for the significant improvement in the driving feel is the new gearbox option. This Honda Freed Hybrid review was our first chance of trying out the 7-Speed DCT in this car. The DCT stands for dual-clutch transmission and it denotes one of the fastest types of gearboxes.
Its two clutches provide very fast shifts, since while one clutch engages one gear, the second one prepares the next one based on the information processed by the transmission control unit. When the next gear needs to be engaged, the first clutch disengages, the second one engages the already prepared gear and the first one is ready to prepare the next gear.
This process is very smooth and fast and it is a great improvement over the previously used CVT gearboxes.
However, CVTs are famous for being efficient by keeping the engine in comfortable RPM longer than other kinds of gearboxes. Is the Honda Freed Hybrid fuel consumption worse now? Actually no. It stands at 25km/L thanks to the electric motor, efficient engine, 7 gears that enable comfortable RPM for the engine and an ECON driving mode that is engaged by a press of a button. With the Honda Freed Hybrid with the DCT you get a far better driving feel while keeping the amazing fuel efficiency.
But driving is not just about acceleration. The faster you go, the more force you need to stop. You will be pleased to know that the Honda Freed Hybrid comes with front and rear vented disc brakes, which make it a lot safer.
Speaking of safety, the Freed comes with additional safety features such as cruise control, traction control, hill start assist and six airbags.
Reading this Honda Freed Hybrid review you may think we love it, but we still haven’t told you about the best part of the Freed. It is on the inside.
The first thing you see is this stylish two-tone dashboard with this elegant wood trim. Start the car and you are greeted by a digital dashboard that lights up and a steering wheel that comes with cruise control buttons.
The interior is adorned with a number of storage trays, bins and bottle holders and decently sized door bins with bottle holders. There is a lot of storage space, mostly up front and it is all packed in a modern, minimalist design. Large windows give loads of daylight and make the minimalist interior pleasantly bright.
The gear lever looks great and really complements the digital dash, adding to the premium feel in an entry-level MPV. Very nice, Honda.
However, the best feature of the Freed is its seven seats that offer plenty of space despite compact dimensions of the body.
To reach the rearmost row of seats all you need to do is pull a lever on the side of the second-row seat and it automatically folds forwards and up to open a fairly wide space. Having in mind that the third row is mostly for children, the low floor is a great benefit, but the wide entry area is large enough even for adults.
There is plenty of space on the inside. Second-row passengers will have more than enough legroom and headroom. Seats in the third row, understandably, offer less legroom, but there is actually enough space to drive adults there. The compact Honda Freed Hybrid actually offers more third-row space than many larger SUVs. However, if this is not enough, there is an additional feature to help you.
We’ll get to that a bit later. Now let’s see how practical the interior space is.
The third row seats backrests fold down and then the whole seat folds upwards towards the side windows, much like on the beloved and much more expensive Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. This gives a very low boot floor, since the seats do not fold down into it and use up the storage space. There aren’t many cars that can transport bulkier cargo. The whole folding process lasts about 5-10 seconds.
If you think that is great, wait until you see what the second row seats can do. First of all, the backrests can fold backwards and connect to the third row seats to create a large, bed-like space. This is a great feature and one not common in the industry. Of course, they also fold forwards like in most cars for more cargo space. In this form they are also folded against the front seats backrests, so, just like the third row seats, they also don’t eat up into the floor.
If that is not enough for you, the second row seats also slide forwards and backwards to let you choose the amount of legroom for passengers in the two rear rows.
We have already mentioned the low load floor and a wide opening of the fifth door, but we have to emphasize just how great this is for loading heavy and bulky objects into the Honda Freed Hybrid.
This is not where practicality ends. Rear power sliding doors open and close from the interior with a push of a button and from the outside by simply pulling on the door handle. Simply pull it and the door opens automatically. Pull it again and it closes.
But what if you start closing the door before one of the passengers has moved his or her hand from the opening? Honda Freed has you covered! The moment the door senses there is something blocking the way, it automatically opens all the way thus preventing injury.
The Honda Freed Hybrid looks nice, is wonderfully compact and surprisingly good to drive while being remarkably fuel efficient. But all these great features are not even the best the Honda Freed has to offer. Its interior comes with unparalleled interior functionality, practicality and space. It combines features that are seemingly impossible to find in a single vehicle.
You get good design, incredible interior practicality and versatility, advanced hybrid powertrain and a great gearbox, interior that is great to look at and the fuel efficiency of a vehicle that does not offer a portion of the benefits of the Honda Freed Hybrid.
If reading this Honda Freed Hybrid review makes you think this is one of the best vehicles in its class and price range, you are absolutely right.
Book your Honda Freed Hybrid test drive today!