Just one product cycle ago Freed’s predecessor, the Mobilio was Honda two prong attack to entry level 6 seater scene and the hatch-with-ginormous cargo bay scene. The Mobilio and Mobilio Spike was an odd car to say the least, too small for a three row car and oddly huge for a city runabout. But Honda had nothing to loose, after all the Mobilio and its Spike variant is just one car model, with same underpinnings, engine and transmission, with the difference being just their physical outlook. When the Freed was unveiled, the Mobilio bows down and left the scene graciously bringing along its brother the Spike with it.
When Freed was launched, Honda pulled a Mobilio and offered the consumer a three row seat variant (the classic) or the two row seat variant (dubbed the Flex). Both though shares the same everything sans the third row seat and an optional all glass roof for the Flex, so it’s not exactly a Freed Spike… Then enters Freed Spike! A bit of a in your face actually because after all its given that the Freed officially replacing the Mobilio, so why not repeat the same formula?
Jazz/Fit on steroid
The Freed Spike, like the Freed Flex is basically a Freed with its third row seat removed. But why stop there right? Repeating the same Spike formula like its predecessor, the Freed Spike is like the macho brother that Freed never were.
The Freed Spike receives a major rhinoplasty (nose job if you would), replacing Freed’s droopy hood with an angular lines that resembles Honda Crossroad through and through. The angular lines also stretched towards the bumper, creating a boxy looking front end and coupled with similarly angular headlight. Speaking of which, the headlight-grill design now resembles Honda City headlight-grill, which is very nice and creates a sense of power away from the friendly looking Freed.
¾ back, the Freed receives another facelift job, which strikes me as odd and looks like it’s stapled on. The third row glass now gone replaced by a contoured body colored panel with a black colored side garnish. It’s actually in line with Mobilio Spike heritage, but whereas in the Mobilio version the third row glass is replaced with a solid body panel, the Freed rendition is just a fancy filler… A glaring cost cutting effort from Honda.
The inside front portion of the car remains the same with Honda Freed, except the major difference is the omission of two tone interior color for a single tone gray on gray color. The second row seat now is strictly a three seater and no option for captain seat, which is understandable because a 5 seater is always better for a non sport car model. Now let’s take a look at the missing third row seat and what black magic Honda engineers did to the space that’s left of it.
Just two paragraph ago I ridicule how Honda tack on the third row glass with a fancy filler but inside it’s a whole different story. Honda always does wonder with interiors, be it smart seat on a small car or hidden compartment’s that somewhere somebody only realized its existence years after. Honda Freed Spike rear interior section is as different as some crazy doctor rearranging a patient’s guts.
Do mind that the standard Freed has a featureless rear interior which houses the upward foldable seats. With them gone, Honda decided to “double deck” the cargo bay and make a two tier cargo similar to CR-V cargo bay. In closed position and with the second row folded forwards, the cargo bay allows for a flat surface that stretches across from the rear front seat to the back, good for stowing bikes or for you to sleep there… Personally, I’ve slept on the back of the Fit/Jazz with the seat folded flat, the Freed Spike should make a roomier makeshift bed. On open position, off course the cargo bay surface drops down and you can stuff taller objects.
For the two tier cargo bay to be made, Honda had to reposition the rear speakers upward, just opposite the now defunct third row glass. This in theory should make the default sound system sounded better because the speakers are positioned close to the roof of the car and positioned like front speakers installed on kickpanels. The sound should converge without obstruction and create balanced soundstage. Also, if the user decides to take advantage of the huge cargo space, it’s good to have speakers up top so the sound is not obstructed by random stuff. Just in case if you’re not satisfied enough, Honda also installed an omni directional light, a plethora of storage space, multi point latches and… a foldable mini table at the cargo area (seriously).
Freed Spike definitely lives up to the Spike legacy; a city runabout with cavernous cargo bay and innovative storage space. The attractive aggressive styling cue is different enough for people to not mistake this car with the more sedate Freed classic. But the 2.47 Million Yen (Gi-Aero trim) question beckons, who is the car caters for? Honda classifies the car as a subcompact, same as the Jazz/Fit but the car is bigger and has everything Freed classic offers sans the third row, but you also get a cavernous cargo bay. The driving dynamics certainly fell victim to the height of the car and the extra weight as the engine and transmission is unchanged from the Freed classic.
In the press photos, Honda seems keen that this car is like the perfect getaway/picnic car. The large cargo can haul everything from picnic table to Honda own compact electric generator and still has room to spare. But probably Honda only thinks about Japan where infrastructure is developed very well so roads to the outbacks can be traversed with a city car. For me, this is the perfect band car. Seats 5, and has good cargo to stow all the musical instrument minus the drum set.