Mengapa Harus CVT?

Transmisi otomatis di era moderen sudah menjadi teknologi wajib atau minimal pilihan yang menarik bagi kalangan pengendara mobil terutama di kota-kota besar yang padat kendaraan. Kenyamanan hanya menginjak gas dan rem, membuat pengendara transmisi otomatis tidak merasa selelah mereka yang menggunakan transmisi manual dalam kondisi macet.

Akhir-akhir ini, produsen otomotif Jepang mulai menggunakan teknologi CVT (Continous Variable Transmission) untuk transmisi otomatis mereka. Nissan memang yang pertama menjadi advokat teknologi ini, dengan menyertakan CVT di hampir semua produk mereka dari sedan hingga MPV besar. Dengan klaim kenyamanan berkendara yang optimal serta efisiensi bahan bakar, teknologi CVT menjadi ciri khas dari produk mobil Nissan. Honda di Indonesia sempat menjajal pasar dengan teknologi CVT pada produk Honda Jazz dan City pada tahun 2004 sebelum kembali menggunakan transmisi multi percepatan pada Jazz dan City generasi ke-2. Namun, dengan dibawah bendera Earth Dreams, Honda memperkenalkan kembali teknologi CVT yang hampir menyeluruh diadopsi dari model kelas pemula seperti Brio hingga kelas premium seperti Honda Accord dan Odyssey. Bahkan, Honda Civic dengan mesin turbonya juga telah menggunakan CVT.

Pengadopsian teknologi CVT yang massal oleh Honda bukanlah tanpa sebab, seperti Nissan, insinyur Honda tampaknya telah menyempurnakan beberapa aspek teknologi CVT mereka untuk menghasilkan performa, kenyamanan dan efisiensi untuk semua mobil Honda. Lalu Anda bertanya, apakah CVT dan mengapa Nissan serta Honda berbondong-bondong mengusung teknologi ini?

CVT, atau Continous Variable Transmission memiliki satu keunikan dibandingkan dengan semua teknologi transmisi otomatis yang ada di dunia, yaitu ketiadaan roda gigi. Transmisi multi percepatan memiliki roda gigi dengan rasio-rasio tertentu, seperti halnya transmisi manual. Untuk mencapai akselerasi tinggi, gigi rasio tinggi digunakan dan untuk mencapai efisiensi mesin tertinggi, gigi rasio rendah digunakan. Untuk mendapatkan kombinasi jumlah roda gigi yang ideal, diperlukan banyak roda gigi atau jumlah percepatan, yang menyebabkan ongkos material meningkat dan ukuran transmisi yang memanjang. Honda sendiri sudah mengembangkan dan menjual mobil dengan transmisi 10 percepatan pada mobil Odyssey di Amerika Serikat, namun hanya terbatas pada satu tipe termahal saja. Untuk produk massalnya, Honda tetap berpegang teguh pada penggunaan CVT.

CVT mengentaskan masalah jumlah gigi dengan solusi ideal, yaitu daripada menggunakan jumlah gigi yang banyak, CVT menggunakan dua buah pulley, memutar rantai besi yang membesar dan mengecil, menyesuaikan dengan kerja putaran mesin. Hal ini membuat kendaraan berakselerasi tanpa henti hingga titik tenaga tertinggi tanpa diperlukannya perpindahan gigi karena kedua buah pulley tersebut menyesuaikan besaran rasio gigi secara terus menerus.

Dalam keseharian saya mengendarai Brio dengan transmisi otomatis 5 percepatan, sangat terasa kondisi-kondisi dimana transmisi mengalami kebingungan untuk turun gigi atau tetap pada gigi yang berjalan, terutama ketika ingin mendahului mobil di jalan tol. Ketika saya menginjak pedal gas untuk mendahului, terkadang gigi turun sehingga mobil berakselerasi cepat tapi terkadang tidak, dimana saya harus menginjak pedal lebih dalam supaya gigi melakukan kickdown dan berakselerasi. Kondisi ini terjadi ketika rasio gigi yang dipilih berada di ambang tengah kedua rasio gigi terdekat. Dengan CVT, kondisi ini tidak akan pernah terjadi karena rasio gigi berubah sesuai kebutuhan, hanya tergantung beban mesin saja dan apakah sudah mencapai batas tenaga mesin yang mampu diberikan.

Tanpa adanya perpindahan gigi tentu membuat transmisi CVT menjadi sangat nyaman. Sayangnya tidak semua setuju. Untuk pengendara yang biasa membawa kendaraan manual maupun transmisi otomatis multi percepatan, ketiadaan hentakan perpindahan gigi membuat mengendarai kendaraan dengan CVT terasa aneh. Untungnya, CVT dapat diprogram untuk mensimulasikan rasio gigi tetap. Tapi hal ini tidak diperlukan dan bahkan mengurangi efisiensi CVT dari segi akselerasi dan penggunaan bahan bakar.

Mobilio Refesh Is Here

The new new new new Mobilio is here. We need to discuss Honda Indonesia naming strategy one of these days, for every refresh, touch up, new addition of something they add new. With that said, welcoming Mobilio refresh 2017, arguably the biggest refresh after last year’s dashboard change.

The Mobilio Refresh seems like it’s following a mid-cycle route, being launched late 2013 in Indonesia. Meaning that a full model change will come around 2019. Like any mid-cycle refresh, the Mobilio features the biggest change ever, most notably on its front end.

For summary of changes:

  • Angular front end with revised headlight and hood.
  • New interior color.
  • New seat design.
  • New exterior colors.
  • New multimedia system.
  • Available VSA option

The biggest change definitely is in the front end, featuring new headlight and new bumper that gives the car Honda corporate “solid wing face”. The construction is fairly simple, big halogen lights will not get any point whatsoever, but the inclusion of DRL led light warrants extra point. So much so that Honda even eliminate the projector headlight option on the RS variant. I haven’t check it for myself, but the curved led light (Honda term “guide light”) supposed to be a DRL, which means it’s active all the time. This is huge as it is more of a safety feature than lighting function. It is a function that indicates that a car is active to notify other driver from the opposite side of the road. It’s fairly minor, but a good addition and also enhances the overall look of the car.

The money shot right here, damn gorgeous angle

The interior colors receives lighter tone which Honda says it’s Ivory… To my opposition, it looks like grey in the promo materials. Definitely A HUGE improvement as lighter color gives more impression of a bigger space. The seat also got improvement with thicker cushion and movable headrest, seems taken from the BR-V. The second row seat now features ISO fix anchors and the middle seat even got an adjustable headrest (not available on the BR-V even). Also, unique to the RS variant is orange stitching for that extra spiciness.

Bring in the light!

The exterior colors got updated with a strange combination. The new purple, called Marine Purple is available for both standard and RS variant of the car, however the RS variant got a special color, Phoenix Orang Pearl Two Tone, which is standard glittery orange but with a black roof. Now here’s the strange combination part, the RS variant has always comes with a flushed roof rack, but if Honda Indonesia configurator is correct, only the orange two tone RS variant got the roof rack… Which is odd.

From the entertainment system part, Honda upgraded the AV system with a 6.2″ touch screen for the standard variant and gives 6 speaker system and even bigger AV system touchscreen at a whopping 6.8″ to the RS variant. Honda could’ve just lifted the BR-V AV system with Nanoe air purifier, but they didn’t, so there’s your main difference AV wise.

Finally, the RS CVT variant receives Honda stability assist and hill start assist which is quite a huge addition in terms of safety.

I’d probably do a driving impression sometimes this quarter. It intrigues me since Honda apparently (for real) will not bring in Freed replacement to Indonesia per recent interview with Mr. Jonfis Fandi. Stating that the Mobilio and BR-V already occupied the 7 seater segment and bringing another will split the market. So my 7 year old Freed will need to be replaced by either the Mobilio or the BR-V when push comes to shove. I’m still leaning towards the BR-V, since it has higher head clearance on the third row, but let’s see, I’m not in a hurry to replace my precious Freed.

Facelifted Honda Mobilio Coming With DRL

It’s officially official, the facelifted Honda Mobilio is getting a DRL with a complete set of fascia change and a new set of wheels (and a delicious purple/blue/something color)

The Mobilio is Honda most popular model in Indonesia, thanks to its three row seat and the successful campaign Honda Prospect Motor did all of this year to cement Honda brand equity at the top. Shout out to my Indian friends, too bad the Mobilio doesn’t work for you guys… But frankly, competition is not exactly cutthroat over here.

Looks like the new Avanza eh?

The original base Mobilio frankly doesn’t grow well with age. Sharing the front end with a micro car really hurts the overall looks of the car. Thankfully the RS model added longer bumper and more aggressive looking headlight.

Droopy front end is droopy

The base Mobilio bubbly headlight makes the car looking very friendly, and we like it like that, but the way it executed made the car too friendly, and frankly boring.

The facelifted Mobilio took out that bubbly headlight and make do with a squared eye look which gives it slightly more aggressive looking but still quite friendly, it is a family hauler after all. The new headlight answers my most criticized design aspect of the car, which is the droopy looking front end, which works quite well for a small car like the Brio, but doesn’t work at all with the long bodied Mobilio. With the square headlight, the overall front end looked more upright and making the car very tout like the BR-V.

The money shot

The biggest addition of them all is the DRL (day time running light) that is usually reserved for a more premium segment car. The details aren’t clear, but you can see it very well on the teaser video. It’s not known if the interior getting another update, since it already got one last year.

The official launch will be January 13th on Jakarta. You will get more update on another website since I’d probably too busy or doing nothing that interest you.

Honda Lakukan Program Penggantian Komponen Freed, Jazz dan City Indonesia

Resmi pada tanggal 18 Februari 2011, Honda Indonesia melakukan program penggantian komponen atau recall untuk tiga model favoritnya: Freed, Jazz dan City. Terdapat masalah dengan komponen pegas mekanisme mesin yang dapat menyebabkan mesin mogok pada kondisi ekstrim. Hal ini selaras dengan program penggantian komponen global yang memengaruhi mesin Honda Freed, Jazz dan City.

Menurut situs Honda-Indonesia.com, Honda Freed, City dan Jazz yang termasuk dalam program penarikan ini tidak semua yang terjual di Indonesia, hanya 30.252 unit saja dengan waktu produksi tertentu. Berikut adalah daftar rangka mobil yang terkena program ini:

Tanda “~” menandakan “sampai dengan”.

City (3,360 unit)
Produksi Okt 2008 – Jan 2010
MRHGM2***8P920003 ~ 920212
MRHGM2***9P920123 ~ 921323
MRHGM2***AP020001 ~ 020120

Jazz
(16,300 unit)
Produksi Jun 2008 – Mar 2010
MHRGE8***8J900003 ~ 903906
MHRGE8***9J900001 ~ 903341
MHRGE8***AJ000001 ~ 000540
MHRGE8***AJ900001 ~ 900198

Freed
(10,592 unit)
Produksi May 2009 – Feb 2010
MHRGB3***9J000006 ~ 007186
MHRGB3***AJ000001 ~ 001229

Silahkan cek masing – masing STNK dan melihat nomor rangka/NIK/VIN, apakah mobil Anda termasuk dalam daftar yang masuk dalam program penggantian komponen Freed, Jazz dan City.

Sebagai contoh, Freed saya memiliki nomor rangka MHRGB3***AJ102*** (dibeli pada bulan November 2011), karena Freed dengan nomor rangka AJ000001 sampai dengan 001229, maka mobil saya tidak masuk dalam program penggantian komponen ini karena sudah lewat dari AJ001229.

Untuk lebih jelasnya dapat langsung menuju pranala/link sumber yang tersedia dibawah ini.

Sumber:

Informasi resmi program penggantian komponen Honda-Indonesia.com

Tanggal 30 November, Mobil Kecil Honda Meluncur di Thailand

Pada acara Thailand International Motor Expo 2010 yang akan diselenggarakan pada tanggal 30 November ini, Honda akan meluncurkan sebuah mobil kecil dibawah Honda Jazz yang akan dibanderol dengan harga super menarik untuk negara – negara berkembang. Secara resmi, Indonesia tidak termasuk dalam rencana peluncuran mobil kecil ini, hanya India dan Thailand akan mendapatkan jatah penjualan di 2011. Namun mengingat pasar mobil Indonesia yang sedang berkembang dengan sehatnya, terutama dengan masuknya Nissan March, saya rasa Honda sedang “menunggu” data penjualan Nissan untuk menjual mobil yang serupa.

Ketika diluncurkan pada acara Thailand International Motor Expo, mobil kecil Honda akan mengusung dua varian yaitu varian Thailand yang mendukung standar konsumsi bahan bakar dan polusi di Thailand serta varian India yang diciptakan khusus untuk kebutuhan negara yang sedang berkembang. Cukup aman untuk memprediksi bahwa varian Thailand akan hadir dalam bentuk dan harga yang lebih premium dibandingkan versi India.

Selama ini Honda sudah menunjukkan prototipe mobil kecil yang akan diluncurkan di Thailand ini. Sayangnya, prototipe ini hanyalah sebuah studi ke arah mobil kecil yang sebenarnya, sehingga apa yang Anda lihat hingga kini bukanlah mobil kecil Honda yang akan dijual di Thailand dan India. Namun pada tanggal 30 November mendatang, Honda akan menunjukan prototipe mobil kecilnya yang sudah siap diproduksi.

Sumber:

Honda meluncurkan mobil kecil di acara TIME 2010

Informasi Resmi Honda CBR 250R

Pada tanggal 27 Oktober lalu, Honda meluncurkan website yang didekasikan untuk motor terbarunya yaitu CBR 250R. Informasi yang tercantum didalamnya sangatlah banyak, dan saya merekomendasikan Anda untuk mengunjungi website tersebut. Untuk blog ini saya hanya akan menyadur informasi yang saya anggap penting.

Mendunia adalah konsep yang digunakan oleh Honda untuk CBR 250R karena motor ini adalah motor pertama yang diciptakan Honda untuk pasar global. Dari Amerika hingga Thailand, Argentina hingga Jepang, Indonesia hingga Portugal, CBR 250R hadir dengan konsep “Sport Quarter for One World” atau kalau boleh saya terjemahkan menjadi “motor 250cc untuk satu dunia”. Dikarenakan motor ini ditujukan untuk satu dunia, insinyur Honda melakukan pendekatan satu untuk semua dimana pengendara baik pemula dan tingkat lanjut dapat menikmati kelincahan motor sport tanpa halangan. Adapun juga pendekatan satu untuk semua ini digunakan untuk mendapatkan motor yang nyaman untuk digunakan sehari – hari baik dari segi konsumsi bensin maupun tenaga yang dihasilkan.

Indahnya kombinasi pendekatan satu dunia ini terletak dari kemampuan insinyur Honda menggabungkan sebuah mesin yang benar – benar baru tanpa ada satu komponen pun yang diambil dari motor Honda lainnya (kecuali teknologi yang mendasarinya) dan casis yang diciptakan untuk semua orang di seluruh dunia ini. Berbicara soal mesin, mesin 250cc yang digunakan pada CBR 250R adalah mesin satu silinder 4-tak berpendingin cairan dengan tenaga sekitar 25-26 pk (estimasi dari gosip yang beredar di Internet) dan mengusung uji emisi Euro – 3. Berikut adalah spesifikasi CBR 250R resmi dari Honda:

Total panjang × Total lebar × Total tinggi (m) 2.035 × 0.720 × 1.125
Jarak roda (m) 1.370
Jarak kolong kendaraan (m) 0.145
Tinggi bangku (m) 0.780
Berat (kg) 161 (STD) 165 (ABS)
Kapasitas penumpang 2
Jarak putar minimum (m) 2.5
Tipe mesin CS250RE, satu silinder DOHC 4 tak berpendingin air
Kapasitas mesin(cm³) 249
Dimensi × Langkah piston (mm) 76.0 × 55.0
Rasio kompresi 10.7
Sistem bahan bakar Programmed fuel injection system (PGM-FI)
Tipe starter Self-starter
Tipe pengapian Pengapian baterai transistor
Tipe lubrikasi Wet sump
Kapasitas tangki bensin (L) 13
Clutch type Wet multiplate with coil springs
Transmission type Constant mesh 6-speed return
Rasio gigi transmisi 1-speed 3.333
2-speed 2.118
3-speed 1.571
4-speed 1.304
5-speed 1.115
6-speed 0.963
Reduction gear ratio (primary, secondary) 2.808 / 2.714
Caster angle/Trail (mm) 25º00´/ 95
Ukuran ban Front 110/70-17M/C
Rear 140/70-17M/C
Tipe rem Front Hydraulic disk
Rear Hydraulic disk
Tipe suspensi Front Telescopic
Rear Swing arm (Pro-link suspension system)
Tipe rangka Diamond

Cara insinyur Honda menjawab kompatibilitas motor ini hingga lolos uji emisi Euro – 3 namun tetap menghasilkan tenaga sangatlah sederhana. Kombinasi mesin satu silinder dengan langkah piston yang pendek mengijinkan mesin CS250RE berputar hingga RPM tinggi dengan pembagian torsi yang melimpah. Namun kombinasi konverter katalitik beserta sensor oksigen dengan sistem induksi udara memastikan bahwa mesin CBR 250R bertenaga dan tetap ramah lingkungan.

Harapan penggemar dunia motor agar CBR 250R menggunakan mesin dua silinder seperti kompetitornya memang tidak dijawab, namun Honda menggunakan mesin satu silinder untuk alasan – alasan yang masuk akal:

  1. Mesin satu silinder mencapai tenaga maksimal dalam satu revolusi (satu piston), oleh sebab itu torsi berlimpah sudah diperoleh pada putaran mesin rendah.
  2. Dengan satu kepala silinder, perbaikan mesin tipe ini lebih mudah dan cepat.
  3. Mesin satu silinder umumnya ringan, memberikan rasio bobot per tenaga kuda yang lebih baik.

Adapun kekurangan mesin satu silinder adalah ketidakmampuannya untuk menghasilkan tenaga pada putaran mesin tinggi dan mesin memiliki potensi getaran yang lebih tinggi dibandingkan mesin dua silinder. Untuk menjawab masalah getaran mesin, mesin CS250RE menggunakan sebuah sistem penyeimbang (balancer) untuk meminimalkan getaran. Meskipun begitu, Honda tidak melakukan apapun untuk mengatasi karakteristik mesin satu silinder yang lemah menghasilkan tenaga di putaran atas. Tentunya, kredo CBR 250R satu untuk semua tidak berlaku untuk pembalap jalanan yang hanya mementingkan trek lurus saja. Insinyur Honda menghadirkan CBR 250R sebagai solusi motor sport dengan kenikmatan bermanuver sebagaimana layaknya motor sport.

Enak/tidaknya sebuah motor tidak hanya bergantung kepada kekuatan mesin saja. Karakteristik casis, suspensi dan posisi duduk juga menjadi pemikiran yang penting oleh insinyur Honda untuk CBR 250R. Tema kreasi CBR 250R oleh Honda adalah motor dengan potensi manuver tinggi yang bisa digunakan untuk sehari – hari, untuk perjalanan panjang maupun untuk dibawa ke trek balap. Menemukan titik tengah diantaranya adalah pekerjaan rumah yang secara sukses dituntaskan oleh insinyur Honda.

Lima poin yang dituntaskan oleh insinyur Honda mengenai casis CBR 250R adalah:

  1. Posisi duduk: Honda CBR 250R diciptakan untuk satu dunia, yang berarti tinggi rendah pengendara dan kondisi jalanan satu dunia menjadi fokus insinyur Honda mencari posisi duduk yang paling ideal. Honda menemukan panjang kaki rata – rata 78 Cm adalah panjang ideal yang mengijinkan pengendara motor CBR 250R dapat dengan nyaman menapakkan kakinya ke jalanan ketika motor sedang berhenti.
  2. Titik gravitasi: Pemosisian massa terberat (mesin) yang rendah dan menjorok ke depan menghasilkan keseimbangan berkendara yang baik di setiap kecepatan.
  3. Suspensi pro-link: Penggunaan suspensi pro-link untuk ban belakang menghasilkan kestabilan berkendara yang baik dengan sistem suspensi progresif yang berubah secara perlahan sesuai dengan kondisi jalan. Adapun suspensi pro-link pada CBR 250R memiliki 5 opsi preset yang dapat disesuaikan ketika berkendara dengan penumpang, membawa barang dan kebutuhan lainnya tergantung selera pengendaranya.
  4. Rem cakram ganda dengan kompon baru: CBR 250R menggunakan kompon kampas rem berbasis resin dengan kekuatan sintered. Alhasil, kinerja rem yang baik dengan harga yang masuk akal.
  5. Rem ABS: Untuk negara tertentu, CBR 250R hadir dengan opsi ABS untuk keamanan. Dengan sistem ini, rem mendadak tidak lagi mengunci roda dan dapat membuat Anda terpelanting dari motor ataupun tergelincir di jalanan yang basah.

Adapun di Indonesia belum ada kepastian mengenai tanggal resmi peluncuran CBR 250R. Akan tetapi bisa dipastikan bahwa Honda akan memboyong motor ini di acara Jakarta Motorcycle Show yang berlangsung dari tanggal 3 November hingga 7 November. Isu yang berhembus saat ini adalah Honda CBR 250R akan dibanderol dengan harga 45 – 50 Juta Rupiah.

Dengan diluncurkannya CBR 250R ini, Honda seakan menabuh genderang perang kepada Kawasaki. Namun apakah ini sebuah tindakan reaktif dari Honda? Tentu tidak. Sebagaimana kita tahu, perencanaan produk membutuhkan waktu bertahun – tahun, terlebih lagi Honda meluncurkan produk ini secara global di 22 negara termasuk Indonesia. Produksi akan dimulai di Thailand dan India untuk diekspor ke negara – negara tujuan, oleh sebab itu lah mengapa Honda CBR 250R diluncurkan di kedua negara tersebut.

Honda CBR 250R mengusung sebuah era baru dalam dunia sepeda motor. Sebuah motor yang dirancang untuk memenuhi semua kebutuhan pengendaranya di dunia, dengan memperhitungkan semua kondisi jalan buruk dan baik, dengan memperhitungkan posisi berkendara yang optimal untuk pengendaranya dan dengan memperhitungkan kombinasi tenaga dan kepedulian Honda terhadap lingkungan.

Indonesia dengan potensi pasar sepeda motor yang besar sudah siap untuk menerima CBR 250R dalam bentuk apapun. Desain yang menarik dipadukan dengan citra merek Honda yang berkibar jaya di negeri tercinta seakan menjadi bumbu pelengkap saja karena Anda dapat melihat sendiri di jalan raya Kawasaki Ninja 250 berlalulalang tanpa tandingan.

Inikah motor pertama saya? Bisa jadi… Dengan dukungan gubernur Jakarta untuk menaikkan tarif parkir menjadi Rp. terserah perjam untuk mobil dan tidak adanya rencana untuk memperbaiki kondisi transportasi umum, sudah pasti industri motor Indonesia akan tumbuh pesat. Terimakasih pak gubernur untuk membulatkan keputusan saya membeli motor.

Sumber:

Situs CBR 250R resmi world.Honda.com

Kelemahan mesin satu silinder

Foke u setujui kenaikan tarif parkir

Honda Fit/Jazz Hybrid Official Pictures And Some Facts (plus estimated price)

The MOST anticipated entry level hybrid from Honda is coming in hot and Autocar jumped the gun on the media embargo and present the Jazz Hybrid to be unveiled at Paris Motor Show next month. Please visit Autocar website for better resolution pictures of the car here. You can also check at your other favorite auto blogs or online automotive news about the Jazz hybrid.

As you can see, the difference is merely cosmetics, different grill, bumper and blue shaded headlights differentiating the regular and the hybrid Fit. The rear also receives similar cosmetic changes with clear taillights, accented bumper and chrome accented trunk garnish.

Without the hybrid plaque on the rear, you will surely miss this hybrid on the road… Which is good, because you don’t want to attract attention to criminals whose MO is to puncture your tire with a hollow nail and rob you silly (because you don’t have spare tire).

It has been confirmed that the Fit/Jazz hybrid will be sporting the same engine used on the Insight 2.0, a 1.3L i-VTEC with IMA producing around 100ps. Interior pictures are still kept secret from Honda, but words are circulating that the Fit/Jazz Hybrid will have single color dashboard and blue lit dials. You can check out my entry about Honda Insight engine here, but for peace of mind sake, I’ll divulge a bit about the heart of Honda hybrid system.

Honda hybrid system or Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) is a simple system where an electric motor is sandwiched between the internal combustion motor and the driving wheel, in Honda case it’s always the front wheel to date. Back when it was introduced with the 2000 Honda Insight, the IMA doesn’t have the ability to purely run on electric motor. However, when the Insight 2.0 launched early last year, the IMA system was updated to purely run on electric motor albeit with a very strict condition… Steady cruise speed without any inclination… Any degree of inclination, then the motor kicks in again. Still good anyway.

A cut out of Honda IMA system, notice how the engine’s width is very narrow

Honda called its hybrid system IMA for a good reason, it simply “assists” the internal combustion engine at low speed and when the car is accelerating fast. A good thing because the nature of electric motor to produce maximum torque at just 1000 RPM means the engine doesn’t have to burn unnecessary excessive fuel to launch the car at stop and go driving. The IMA also acts as a starter motor because the whole engine has the ability to be turned off at idle (traffic lights) automatically and restarts at the press of the gas pedal.

To produce electricity, the IMA system itself is a cylindrical generator system that spins with the internal combustion engine. At steady speed, the IMA recharge the battery and when there’s a forward movement usually caused by braking the IMA also captures this momentum to spin the generator the opposite way and producing electricity.

A complete Honda IMA engine + transmission, the IMA system is marked yellow at the bottom picture

Something to note is that Honda engineers can’t magically insert an IMA system to an existing engine *snap* like that. The IMA takes considerable space inside the engine bay, therefore something got to give and it’s usually the engine that gets the shorter end of the straw. Honda hybrid system uses a specifically designed narrow engine to allow the placement of the IMA system next to the gearbox.

Now for the million Pesos/Ringgit/Sing Dollar/Rupiah/Baht/Dong question for us Asia Pacific residents… Will we get it? We don’t get the Insight, the CR-Z and the Civic Hybrid costs an arm and a leg. Are we getting the cream again instead of a bite of the cake? Not quite! We’ve seen the almost miraculous Honda Freed launched in the Asia Pacific, exclusive even outside of Japan… And why? Because the Freed is produced in the Asia Pacific region to gain advantage of AFTA. The Fit/Jazz has been produced in Indonesia for quite sometime, so you see where I’m going, it’s too easy for Honda to just import the hybrid engine and assembled it in Indonesia and imports it to other country in ASEAN. If this is inline with Honda global plan to be the leading automaker of hybrids (it’s in the CEO midyear speech which I’m going to cover soon), then, we will see a near simultaneous release of the Fit hybrid all over the world; Europe, America, Australia and Asia.

So when? The Fit hybrid in Europe will be announced at the Paris Motor Show next month and launched early 2011, in the United States it’s still unconfirmed but it will be there around 2011 as 2012 model, nope, it’s totally unconfirmed. The United States might even missed the hybrid Fit/Jazz totally… A bit of a “huh” moment, because the Europeans will get it although they already has the Insight 2.0 just like the Americans. On the other side of the world, Japan’s Nikkei confirmed that the Fit hybrid will be launched around Fall in Japan. Using Freed’s launch time frame, then it’s just a matter of 1 to 1.5 years before us ASEANs can drive a genuine affordable hybrid courtesy of Honda. So expect the Fit/Jazz hybrid to announced at the end of 2011 and available at the latest early 2012 in ASEAN.

How much? Now this is the interesting part… Because of difference in currency and taxes, I’m just going to use Indonesia expected price and price estimate slot, which will be universal. Honda Jazz RS in Indonesia is priced at Rp. 222 Million (2 Million Yen) while the Japanese Fit RS is priced at 1.69 Million Yen, specs are the same except we use 5AT instead of CVT, price difference between both automatic transmission should be negligible. The Freed in Indonesia is priced at Rp. 258 Million (2.4 Million Yen) while the same Freed is priced at 1.99 Million Yen in Japan, again specs are the same (digital AC control & power retractable mirror just recently added), except for the use of 5AT instead of CVT and the lack of HID.

Let’s do a simple math, now both the Fit/Jazz RS and the Freed in Indonesia reflects a 18 & 20% mark up in price compared with its Japanese brothers, let’s take 20% as our baseline number. Now let’s take Nikkei’s reported Fit hybrid price which starts at  a cool 1.59 Million Yen, in Indonesia, the Jazz hybrid will be priced starting at Rp. 202 Million… Now I suspect that it will be a manual version, so add the usual 10-14 Million for an automatic version, and voila! The estimated Honda Jazz hybrid automatic will be offered in Indonesia for around Rp. 216 Million (roughly US$22K), hell! Round that up to Rp. 220 Million and people will still buy it! Now let’s say Honda decided to go greedy or wanted to add the RS trim to the Jazz hybrid. In Indonesia, the Jazz RS commands Rp. 13 Million more than the baseline Jazz, so added to the baseline Jazz hybrid, the Jazz hybrid RS will still worth Rp. 229 Million… And that my friends are something totally purchasable.

If, and this is just another silly if from me… If Honda wanted to play “screw you all, this is the first commercially affordable hybrid in ASEAN, I’m putting price premium to you suckers!”, the Jazz hybrid will still be below Freed’s price  or at the very least, the same. Still, I’m buying one if I don’t have any car by that time. The Jazz hybrid reported fuel consumption is 26 Km/L or 61 MPG (US), but I suspect it’s just highway number. For inner city driving, I expect that number to drop to half at 13 Km/L or 30,5 MPG (US)… Again, that number is already phenomenal, my 1.5L SX4 automatic only manages an average of 8,4 Km/L or 19,7 MPG (US) for pure inner city driving.

Personally, I’m betting that the Jazz hybrid price range will be around Rp. 220 Million to Rp. 230 Million. It will be priced at Jazz RS level, and complement each other. One you pay premium for exhilarating drive and the other if you are down with the earth and stuff. Tax wise, the car wouldn’t be a luxury import because it is based on an existing car… So if there’s any different tax imposed, I’m really speechless.

Update: 26 August 2010 – more info from other online media

Source:

Autocar.co.uk: Honda launches new Jazz hybrid

The car connection: Honda Jazz hybrid will start a price war

Electric vehicles: Forward to the past

Honda Insight is Hout!

EGMcarTech: Jazz Hybrid Unveiled, No US Plans

Petualangan Odyssey Berlanjut

Honda Oyssey adalah kendaraan premium people mover Honda yang kini telah hadir 5 generasi semenjak diperkenalkan pertama kali pada tahun 1994. Menjawab permintaan konsumen mengenai mobil penumpang tiga baris yang lapang, Honda memperkenalkan Odyssey di Jepang dan Amerika Serikat. Kehadiran Odyssey menandakan sebuah perubahan inti dalam susunan produk Honda pada tahun 90an yang hanya memproduksi mobil berbasis sedan atau hatchback saja.

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Pertama yang tak akan terlupa

 

Odyssey generasi pertama tak ayal hanyalah versi MPV dari Accord yang merupakan produk popular Honda waktu itu. Salah satu keunikan Honda Odyssey dibandingkan produk Honda lainnya jelas terletak pada ukurannya yang bongsor. Dengan ukuran yang lebih tinggi dan ruang kabin yang lapang dibanding dengan Honda Accord, Odyssey menjadi sensasi dalam semalam untuk para keluarga, membuat insinyur Honda merilis produk serupa khusus untuk pasar Jepang dengan nama StepWGN pada tahun 1996.

Permintaan yang mulai bervariasi secara global membuat Honda melakukan spin off kepada merek Odyssey dan menjadikannya spesifik untuk pasar Jepang dan pasar Amerika Serikat. Pada tahun 1998, Honda merilis Honda Odyssey versi Amerika (yang seterusnya ditambahkan imbuhan USDM) dengan ukuran yang lebih besar dibandingkan dengan Odyssey versi Jepang (yang seterusnya ditambahkan imbuhan JDM) dengan ukuran yang tidak jauh berbeda dari generasi pertamanya. Honda Odyssey USDM dengan desain serupa versi JDM generasi pertama mendapatkan peningkatan ukuran yang cukup masif. Panjang kendaraan 5 Meter, dengan lebar hampir mencapai 2 Meter, Odyssey USDM bukanlah sebuah kendaraan kecil. Mengadopsi pintu geser dibandingkan dengan pintu ayun pada versi JDM, akses keluar masuk menjadi sangat mudah. Tentunya, dengan peningkatan ukuran, peningkatan bobot menjadi hal yang diperhatikan oleh insinyur Honda. Apabila pada model JDM dan versi USDM sebelumnya mesin yang digunakan adalah 2200cc, dengan pilihan mesin 3000cc, Honda Odyssey USDM generasi kedua hanya hadir dengan mesin 3500cc.

Di Jepang, Honda Odyssey baru mendapatkan generasi penerus pada tahun 1999 dengan ukuran yang lebih kompak dibanding versi USDM-nya. Penggunaan pintu ayun masih membuat Odyssey seperti wagon ukuran besar dibandingkan dengan versi USDM-nya. Dengan panjang kendaraan “hanya” 4.7 Meter, Honda Odyssey bukanlah kendaraan kecil, namun dibandingkan dengan kakak besar versi USDM, Odyssey JDM tergolong kecil. Dengan pilihan mesin 2300cc dan 3000cc, Honda Odyssey JDM seakan terlihat seperti versi sporty dari versi USDM-nya.

Generasi ketiga Honda Odyssey menghadirkan gebrakan yang cukup signifikan dari segi desain untuk versi JDM pada tahun 2003. Ketika versi USDM semakin tambun dengan semakin tinggi dan lebar, versi JDM dari Honda Odyssey justru semakin mengecil. Honda Odyssey JDM kini hanya memiliki tinggi sekitar 1.5 Meter saja, tidak jauh berbeda dengan mobil sedan, dibanding dengan Honda USDM yang memiliki tinggi hampir mencapai 1.8 Meter. Insinyur Honda menekankan aspek berkendara dari Honda Odyssey generasi ketiga ini. Ukuran interior Odyssey versi JDM memang membesar, namun hanya untuk ruang kaki dan bahu saja, sementara ukuran langit-langit turun. Sebagai pilihan mesin, Honda menanggalkan pilihan mesin 3000cc dengan memberikan satu tipe mesin saja yaitu K24 2400cc dengan dua pilihan tenaga, 160ps dan 200ps. Versi Absolute Honda Odyssey JDM mendapatkan sambutan yang cukup unik dari penggemar Honda. Pada waktu diluncurkan, Honda Odyssey JDM tipe Absolute memiliki tenaga mendekati mobil-mobil sport Honda pada waktu itu yaitu Civic Type R dan Honda Integra Type R yang masing-masing memiliki tenaga 200ps dan 220ps. Memang Honda Odyssey memiliki berat yang jauh lebih besar dibanding mobil-mobil sport tersebut, namun dengan suspensi independen (double wishbone dan multilink suspension), yang memberikan kemampuan manuver sigap dan tenaga yang besar , tak ayal para “ayah pembalap” atau “daddy racer” (red: istilah sendiri) sangat menggandrungi Honda Odyssey JDM tipe Absolute ini.

rb1

Daddy racer car of choice

 

Menemani Honda Odyssey JDM generasi ketiga adalah Honda Elysion yang mencoba mengemulasi formula sukses Honda Odyssey USDM dengan faktor bentuk MPV bongsor dan pilihan mesin 2400cc dan 3500cc. Masuk ke generasi empat, Honda Odyssey USDM masih meneruskan konsep MPV bongsor yang populer dengan para pembelinya, sementara versi JDM dari Honda Odyssey juga meneruskan konsep daddy racer.

Di Indonesia, Honda Odyssey JDM generasi keempat adalah model pertama yang diboyong oleh Honda Prospect Motor ke Indonesia. Perubahan eksterior menjadi pembeda utama dari generasi lawas dan dengan pilihan mesin 2400cc standar dan versi absolute yang tidak tersedia di Indonesia.

Tampaknya strategi dua lini Honda dalam menyajikan solusi people mover tidak berbayar dan rumor mengenai kematian Honda Elysion dan Honda Odyssey menjadi topik panas di berbagai forum Internet. Hal ini disulut dari eksistensi Honda StepWGN dan Honda Freed yang jauh lebih populer dibanding Honda Odyssey dan Honda Elysion di Jepang.

Pada tahun 2013, di ajang Autoshow Shanghai, China, Honda melansir mobil konsep dengan nama Concept M. Penampilan yang premium dan ketinggian langit-langit yang tinggi mengisyaratkan sebuah kendaraan pengganti Honda Elysion yang diisukan tidak diteruskan lagi oleh Honda. Namun banyak orang yang menduga bahwa mobil tersebut adalah penerus dari Honda Odyssey JDM. Sebuah perubahan drastis yang berarti Honda kembali kepada konsep MPV besar Odyssey generasi pertama dan kedua. Benar adanya, pada tahun 2014, Honda melansir Honda Odyssey JDM generasi terbaru yang diinspirasi dari Concept M.

rc1

Bigger is better

 

Mungkin penggemar Honda Odyssey dari kalangan daddy racer akan sedikit sedih karena Honda Odyssey JDM terbaru berubah menjadi mobil besar yang mengurangi nilai bermanuver. Terlebih lagi, Honda Odyssey terbaru ini menggunakan suspensi semi independen dibanding dengan suspensi independen pada generasi-generasi sebelumnya. Honda Odyssey JDM terbaru menggunakan suspensi McPherson Strut dan torsion beam seperti yang terdapat pada Honda StepWGN dan adik kecilnya, Honda Freed.

“Pembongsoran” Honda Odyssey JDM bukan tanpa sebab. Honda menginginkan Honda Odyssey JDM terbaru bersaing di pasar gemuk premium people mover yang dikuasai oleh duo Toyota Alphard dan Vellfire. Penggunaan suspensi belakang torsion beam memberikan Honda Odyssey ruang kabin ekstra lapang dengan lantai datar sehingga memudahkan akses ke bangku belakang. Bahkan unik untuk Honda Odyssey JDM adalah kemampuannya untuk melipat bangku belakang rata dengan lantai, tidak seperti Alphard ataupun Vellfire (2015) yang mengharuskan bangku baris ketiga dilipat ke samping atas sehingga tidak memaksimalkan ruangan kargo. Lebih unik lagi, dengan bangku baris ketiga dilipat rata dengan lantai, bangku tengah dapat dimundurkan lebih jauh ke belakang dan direbahkan sebagaimana layaknya kursi malas premium. Hal ini dimungkinkan karena railing bangku captain seat tengah menjorok sampai ke bawah dudukan bangku baris ketiga.

Menyinggung sedikit duo Toyota Alphard dan Vellfire, untuk generasi terkini (red: penulisan 2015), duo people mover Toyota kini sudah mengadopsi suspensi independen (dahulu semi independen seperti Odyssey JDM terkini). Namun utilitas kabin menjadi berkurang, dan untuk mengemulasi posisi duduk bak kursi malas premium Honda Odyssey JDM terkini, duo Toyota tersebut hanya mendesignasi bangku penumpang depan saja.

Honda memboyong dua konsep untuk Honda Odyssey JDM, yaitu “Lounge Driving” dan “Utility x Drive”. Konsep pertama yaitu Lounge Driving sesuai dengan ruang interior yang kini melembung dan mengijinkan bangku captain seat bergeser mundur dan memberikan ruang kaki ekstra lapang. Konsep kedua, yaitu Utility x Drive berputar sekitar penggunaan suspensi baru yang mengijinkan bangku baris ketiga dapat dilipat rata dengan lantai.

Suspensi baru Honda Odyssey JDM bukanlah sebuah hal yang baru, bahkan bisa dibilang suspensi baru people mover terbaru Honda ini inferior dibandingkan dengan pendahulunya. Dengan sistem suspensi semi independen ini, karakter umumnya adalah memberikan bantingan yang keras dibanding supensi independen. Salah satu kekurangan dari suspensi belakang torsion beam adalah ketidakmampuan roda untuk bergerak di porosnya dan terhubung dengan roda belakang di sebelahnya sehingga kurang mampu mengikuti kontur permukaan jalan. Namun untungnya, pada laju kendaraan di permukaan jalan yang baik, damper atau peredam kejut lebih berperan.

seat

Ruang kaki ekstra lapang

Dari segi manuver, Honda masih ingin menyenangkan para daddy racer dengan dinamika berkendara yang baik. Honda Odyssey JDM menawarkan performa manuver dan berkendara yang sporty, seperti ya   ng dilansir pada video test drive yang dilakukan oleh pembalap SuperGT. Toh meskipun begitu, bermanuver ekstrim dengan MPV besar bukanlah sebuah hal yang patut untuk dilakukan.

Honda Odyssey JDM generasi kelima hadir dengan mesin K24 generasi Earth Dreams yang menghadirkan peningkatan-peningkatan di sisi efisiensi. Masih hadir dengan pilihan standar dan Absolute, Honda Odyssey JDM sudah tidak segahar para pendahulunya namun masih tetap mengagumkan. Honda memfokuskan generasi terbaru people movernya sebagai kendaraan ramah lingkungan yang efisien. Mesin 2400cc terbaru Honda di atas kertas cukup mencengangkan. Dengan dua versi tenaga, yaitu 127 kW (170ps) dan 140 kW (190ps) terkesan biasa saja, bahkan berkurang dibanding pendahulunya yang mencapai 200ps. Namun konsumsi bensin Honda Odyssey JDM generasi kelima adalah yang terbaik di kelasnya, 1 liter untuk 14 Kilometer. Kompetitor utamanya yaitu Toyota Vellfire lebih boros di 1 liter untuk 12 Kilometer.

Akhir kata, Odyssey baik versi USDM maupun JDM diciptakan untuk mengangkut penumpangnya dengan tingkat kenyamanan tertinggi yang dapat ditawarkan oleh Honda. Berpisah di generasi kedua membuat Honda Odyssey mampu memfokuskan diri pada masing-masing target pasar mereka. Perubahan Honda Odyssey JDM generasi kelima mungkin perubahan terbesar dari segi dinamika. Namun pada akhirnya teori big money selalu unggul dan pasar terbesar memegang peranan dalam membentuk sebuah portfolio produk perusahaan. Dengan fokus pasar ke arah kenyamanan dan fungsi, Honda Odyssey JDM generasi kelima menawarkan sesuatu yang istimewa dan sedikit lebih lagi. Tidak ada yang sempurna, yang ada hanyalah yang sesuai dengan peruntukkannya.

Sumber:

Honda.co.jp

Freed Against The World (Paper comparison against its local rivals)

Freed is unique, more so that it actually is a smaller scale premium people mover like its big cousins, Honda Elysion and Toyota Alphard. It’s front wheel drive system and almost box shape size means it delivers the best of space inside the cabin. The car might be classified as just another compact minivan, just like Suzuki APV, Daihatsu Granmax/Luxio, Toyota Avanza, and Nissan Grand Livina before it. But the overall stance of the car gives it a slight edge in term of perception and overall riding impression.

This blog entry will tell a tale of the tape, a technical background for Freed and its competitors. It’s not a comparison per se, just the facts about all the cars given the relevant specification data. It is comparable, but in the end it’s up to you to decide what is best… Hey, I’m not being paid to write this.

  • Freed direct competition (Size): Suzuki APV, Daihatsu Luxio, Toyota Avanza, and Nissan Grand Livina.

A short list of things that is going to be compared:

  1. Size
  2. Drivetrain
  3. Engine
  4. Suspension
  5. Trim

1. It’s not the size but how you use it

Size is off course the first thing that first came to mind on most people buying a car. Because we humans rely on first impression to an extent, and visuals are the first sensory tools we use to judge something. However size is not everything, as you can see in this comparison.

*in Milimeters/metric

When looking at the dimension specification of the car, we need to be careful not to be deceived by numbers alone, external size is never anything. Take for example; front and rear bumpers, they too account for the car’s overall length, but does it contribute to the car’s interior space? Definitely not. The same goes to the width and height of the car. Sometimes, manufacturers also input body claddings and roof rack to the car’s dimension, creating a sense of a bigger car on paper at least.

What we really need to take into consideration really, is the width, height and the wheelbase of the car. Width and height usually will not be that much different even with the extra body cladding and roof rack, and wheelbase indicates the space between the wheels, the space where most people sits in. After all, most people bought minivans to move people around not just cargos, so it’s important to have long wheelbase.

Judging by the numbers, the Freed has a slight advantage here. Honda Freed is the widest (only by a hair compared to Nissan though) off the bunch, offers relatively high ceiling that makes seating inside the car relatively “roomy” (applicable to APV & Luxio too) and for having the longer wheelbase for that extra leg room. As such the Freed offers the best theoretical passenger comfort compared to the others. On the cargo side, Nissan Grand Livina is clearly the car of choice for its extra length. Thankfully, Grand Livina extra length is not just a long bumper, and combined with the fact that the third row seat can be folded flat, offers good cargo space. The Freed, Avanza, Luxio and APV Arena all offers flat floor cargo space and better vertical space, but for practicality, people seldom stacks their cargo, they just throw whatever they bring into the cargo bay and scoot.

2. Which wheel drives the car again?

2.1.Proper chariot has its horse in the front

Before we talk about the car’s engine, let’s talk about their drivetrain first because for some this is the most important matter when purchasing a car. Drivetrain is the sum of all things mechanical in a car; it is the sum of all things that finally moves the car, or in lament term, which wheels drives the car. Now in this comparo, we have two distinct drivetrains, the front wheel drive and the rear wheel drive.

Honda Freed and Nissan Grand Livina are both a front engine front wheel (FF) drive cars. This type of drivetrain is preferable when building a passenger car. Thanks to front wheel drive car engines, transmission and axle are all contained in the engine bay, the space between the dashboard and to the rear trunk is maximized for the driver and the passengers. Also, for not having a rear axle, rear passengers can enjoy a quieter drive as they cannot hear the axle spinning like on rear wheel drive cars.

On a side note, FF cars also have better fuel economy from comparable cars. Some has cited that there are inertial forces in play on rear wheel drive cars because of the long axle. However this notion is unproven. What has been proven though is that yes rear wheel drive cars usually have slightly worse fuel consumption, but not because of the axle inertial force, but more because rear wheel drive system is heavier than a similar setup on a front wheel drive system, thus more energy (more fuel burned) is needed to move the system.

All seems perfect, except for one thing. FF cars driving wheel is of course, on the front and given most car shape, when it is fully loaded with passengers and cargo, the car tilts rearwards, reducing front grip in some extreme situation. However, do not be worried, thanks to uncle Newton, car engineers knows this “seesaw” phenomenon. That’s why through suspension engineering, most FF cars are designed to “ignore” the extreme weight on the back of the car. The body of the car might seemed to tilt rearwards when fully loaded, but the whole body of the car also pressed the front suspension through calculated weight distribution.

On a side note, I remember strongly some “interested party” tried to discredit Nissan Grand Livina when it was launched in Indonesia with strong positive acceptance. There’s pictures floating around the internet and one youtube video depicting Nissan Grand Livina incapability to climb steep grades compared to the competitors (all are rear wheel drives). Still though, the picture and video is valid but there are telltale signs that it was staged. It can be seen clearly on one picture that depicts Nissan Grand Livina loosing traction while going up on a ramp, shows that the rear suspension is awfully compressed, a sign that the car is loaded with something heavy in the rear.

One simple solution… Just distribute the passenger weight evenly; heavy people sit upfront while lighter people seats in the third row. Gravity will do the rest and keep the nose of the car planted to the ground and feeds steady traction to the front wheel.

Other report indicating that front wheel drive cars inability to climb steep grades sometimes border the unintelligent and just demands a little bit of consideration. Most cars are designed with specific purpose in mind; you just can’t have it all. FF cars are designed for comfort and you just cannot take it on a 20 degree slope hill climbing track… Something that we Indonesians encounter frequently outside the capital.

2.2.Im’a going to push you to the top

Then we have the rear wheel drive system, the go to drive system for sports cars and heavy haulers like trucks. On paper, the rear wheel drive system is a blessing. Because the driving wheel is the rear, you can just load the car with everything you wanted and the car will never lose its grip… so to speak… More weight equals to more traction as more weight is pressing down the driving wheel. Sure the car still tilts rearward, but climbing up fully loaded, rear wheel drive cars are king of the hill (unless you have bald tires or slippery road).

So what’s not to like on rear wheel drive cars? It’s their inefficient space eating setup that’s what, and the noise. Rear wheel drive cars need an engine, transmission, driveshaft and a rear axle. Unlike front wheel drive cars where all of that mechanical parts are located in the engine bay, common rear wheel drive mechanical parts extends from the engine bay to the rear of the car through the cabin. People sitting on the third row are going to hear the axle spinning in the same rhythm of the engine; couple that with skimpy sound deadening, it’s going to make one noisy ride.

Luckily, Toyota Avanza, Daihatsu Luxio, and Suzuki APV Arena designers/engineers put interior space for passenger as the first priority and thus you won’t find the regular “bulge” that usually ran through the front dashboard to back, literally slicing car interior half and half on rear wheel drive cars. But they can’t just defy law of physics and designs… That driveshaft needs space, and what Toyota, Daihatsu and Suzuki engineers did? They raised the floor of the car.

Raised floor gave Toyota Avanza, Daihatsu Luxio and Suzuki APV Arena ace cards to fight evenly with the front wheelies. For one, the raised floor means flat floor in the interior of the car. This raised floors also gave the cars tall ground clearance, great for undulating and pothole ridden roads. However, tall ground clearance also has its drawback, and mainly in the driving dynamics department. Tall car + tall ground clearance = wobbly driving. It’s plain physics, you take a sharp turn, and you’re going to feel the whole car felt like it’s going to turnover on itself. Inertia came to mind, but this is a very extreme example, and joe dad is not going drive fast and furious on these things anyway.

On a side note, APV Arena and Daihatsu Luxio have their engines smack dead under the front seats. It makes the car having a good deal of space because less space is used from the total length of the car for engine. However, because the engine is inside the cabin (so to speak), you’re going to hear the engine more noticeably than cars with proper engine placement. Sound proofing only involves firewall, sound proofing material, the seat and literally your posterior, while front engine cars have firewall, sound proofing material, glass, and metals between your leg and the engine.

The other problem having the engine under your seat means that the seating height is fixed. Sure you can slide the seats front and back, and the back support still reclines, but you can’t adjust seat heights. Having the engine under your seat also means the seating position is raised somewhat.

So how the numbers stack up? The Freed tall cabin and low floor (thanks FF) makes for a very good and comfortable people mover but Toyota Avanza is definitely the go to car for a good hauler (passenger and cargo).

3. A strong heart and a stronger brain

When we talk about cars, we never talk about just the size of the car and the drivetrain, we also talk about the power and how that power is used. Old engines are bad jokes compared to modern engines. Back then, a 100 horsepower engine comes only from big thirsty engines, now look where we are now. All the cars here are mostly 1.5 liters in size, and all but one have more than 100 horsepower. One special engine here is Grand Livina’s 1.8L engine. As the biggest it produces the highest power and torque rating, so for fairness, the engine will not be compared here. The same goes to Avanza 1.3L for being the smallest.

One engine that stands out from the rest of the pack is the 1.5L i-VTEC engine powering the Freed; With 118ps, it is the most powerful engine in its class. However, I have to be objective here and as such, I cannot just mention Freed engine as the most powerful without any catch. Freed 1.5L engine is the most powerful, but with some slight sacrifice.

Horsepower is the result of engine torque times engine rotation or torque x RPM = horsepower(ps/hp/kw/dk/etc). Freed large power comes from a high revving marginally low torque engine. Take for example, Nissan Grand Livina 1.5L engine; it is not the most powerful, but its maximum torque of 148 Nm came out at a lower point of 4400 RPM compared to Freed’s 146 Nm at 4800 RPM. The result is the same though, Freed’s engine still deliver the hardest kick but the driver needs to punch the gas pedal more, resulting in more noise from the engine. Some might call Honda high revving engine characteristic as a weakness, but as a matter of fact, it is Honda trademark high points. Honda engines can spin at high revolutions because they can and willing. Enthusiasts like Honda engines because of that specific characteristic.

For any engine there is the accompanying transmission, and here where the Freed once again distanced itself with the rest of the pack. The Freed comes standard with a 5 speed automatic gearbox, and one of the more feature packed automatic gearbox available in the market. The 5 speed alone gave a huge advantage for the car as the wheel can spins at higher speed than the engine, increasing fuel efficiency at constant speed, not to mention it’s unique because all other cars in the comparo only have 4 speed automatic box.

There are other features on Freed’s gearbox but most are insignificant on daily driving, however, the most important feature is the Grade Logic Control (GLC). The GLC enables the Freed to ascend and descend climbs with the right gear. Conventional automatic gearbox occasionally downshifts when car is climbing a grading surface, but most often than not, the gear just don’t know what is going on and just holds the gear. If the gear held is a lower gear, then it’s fine, the engine can spins at higher revolution and push the car forward. But when it’s a higher gear that is held, the car would just slows down going uphill and the transmission would just suddenly shifts to lower gear and jerks the car. It’s not that bad, but it’s going to disrupt the comfort of the passenger.

Now that we have talked about the engine and the transmission, let’s put the engine number where it counts… The power to weight ratio. No matter how powerful your engine is, if the weight of the car is just too heavy, it’s going to affect the performance directly. The ASEAN built Freed doesn’t have specific weight, but going through Singapore Honda website and Japan Honda website, the Freed weighs in at a hefty 1330 KG of weight (dry), quite heavy for a 1.5L engine to pull. But let’s put the numbers where it counts here.

By dividing the dry weight of the cars with their respective horsepower, we get power to weight ratio, how much weight per horsepower the engine have to move:

The Freed although came in at the heaviest still manages a good power to weight ratio, slightly bettering the Grand Livina. The APV Arena and Daihatsu Luxio (assumed same with APV because it shares same drivetrain setup) scores slightly worse because of their respective weight and low power engine. The best power to weight ratio award off course goes Toyota Avanza… Kind of a shocker really, never knew the Avanza could weigh that light, even the old Fit/Jazz weighs in at 1100 KG. Some suspect Toyota Avanza thin plating is to blame/praise for its lightness. Some blame it because the body plate can be dented with just a push, and some praise it because it gave the engine smaller mass to move and hence fuel efficiency. Half empty or half full, you decide for yourself.

With the numbers above, Freed garners a technical excellence for having a strong engine and an advanced automatic gearbox. But if those numbers are summed up, Freed theoretical performance is just above average, good but not the best. Toyota Avanza crazy light chassis makes for a spirited drive ever that much easier.

4. Sure footing for a comfy ride

Engine and transmission alone are not the hallmark of a good car. Specially for a people mover, the suspension plays a pivotal role and can be a deal breaker for some. However there are no special characteristics between the cars that garner special mention. Freed’s McPherson Strut and Torsion beam setup is the same with Nissan, and Toyota Avanza, Daihatsu Luxio and Suzuki APV arena shares the same McPherson Strut and rigid axle + shock absorber setup. The crazier thing is that… All of these cars suspension setup are similar to each other in real world behavior. The torsion beam on the Freed and Grand Livina behaves the same like a rigid axle because the rear wheels are connected through a torsion beam.

For how comfortable the ride is, it’s hard to tell. I am only a person without many experience tests driving a car (well outside Honda). But I can tell you that the Freed suspension setting feels a bit softer than second generation Honda Jazz but still on the firm side. Over uneven roads, I can feel the damper is working hard resulting in short “gliding” feeling on bumps. I can also feel more body rolling feeling compared to second generation Jazz, but it’s probably because of the extra height. Overall, it’s very much usual Honda suspension tuning, firm but assuring with a softer touch.

5. That extra special thing

We finally came to the final criteria, that extra special thing about the cars that makes people wants to buy it. Here’s a list of things on table format what each cars offered in terms of that unnecessary but “glad to have it” things:

When talking about nice to have things, Freed came out on top with the standard ABS, captain seat and optional power sliding door and airbags. However, people criticize the lack of rear air conditioner system on the car, especially for those who live near the equator like Indonesian, Singaporean and Malaysian. Thankfully, ASEAN spec Honda Freed all came with the captain seat as standard, thus the front air conditioner system is deemed enough to deliver cool air through the vacant alley way of the car.

6. That hard decision (conclusion)

6.1.The price factor

Finally it’s over. This is the part where I chime in with my opinion using all the data above. So do we have a clear winner after seeing all the category above? The Freed came out on top for prioritizing creature comfort with its front wheel drive system, tall roof, the advanced engine transmission combo and available amenities like the power sliding door, but is it enough? Because we haven’t talk about price yet.

On a side note, the trim level in this comparison are chosen to reflect Freed highest level trim, so it’s only limited to 1.5L engine and automatic transmission, therefore Avanza 1.3L and Grand Livina 1.8L trim line are excluded.

The Freed off course have the most expensive price tag here in this comparison; at 258,5 million Rupiah, the Freed literally towers over the competition in term of price. Even the second most expensive car in this comparison is Nissan Grand Livina at 188,5 million Rupiah, a 70 million Rupiah cooler. The rest of the pack mirrors Grand Livina price. Suzuki APV Luxury is priced at 185,5 million Rupiah. Daihatsu Luxio at even cooler 171,8 million Rupiah and Toyota Avanza (not surprisingly) comes with the most affordable price at 171 million Rupiah.

I might be biased towards Honda, but personally I feels that the Freed is priced just about right, with very slight tendency of being overpriced. Simply because the price increase is justifiable. Let’s compare Freed extra price with its nearest competitor (price wise), the Grand Livina: The Freed comes with a high revving powerful engine and advanced 5 speed automatic box, those alone might worth a 20 million in mechanical upgrade and assembly. The airbags costs around 10 million, and finally the power sliding door would cost up to 20 million by itself. Still, that’s only 50 million Rupiah advantage over the rest, perhaps the extra 20 million Rupiah is for Honda brand and the design of the car, which arguably stands above the competitors.

Why Honda put a premium price for the Freed is already stated at the beginning of this blog entry, and that’s Honda is emulating the bigger premium people mover like Alphard/Vellfire/Elysion. Freed is undoubtedly “the real real” (that’s two real) mini Alphard/Vellfire/Elysion. Freed’s captain seats and seating position is similar with its bigger cousins, meaning that getting in and out of the car is like going up or down a staircase. This means that if you have fancy suits or dress like a wedding gown/dress with fancy nancy skirt you can just get up from the seat and steps down without worrying much of that skirt will get too jumbled and tied somewhere. In a low slung sedan, the limited space and somewhat low seats makes the occupant need to grab the top handle to get out of the car (try doing that while holding wedding dress with fancy nancy skirt). This is why wedding services are upgrading their rental wedding fleet with Alphards, well, even premium taxi providers are preferring it over Mercedes C & E. This mini premium people mover notion is applicable to APV Arena and Daihatsu Luxio too. However, that engine inside the cabin just diminish the notion of mini premium people mover over the Freed.

Looks are subjective, but if I have to rate all the cars here, I would choose Freed at the top. The side panel lines and the front fascia is unique without bordering weird and excessive. Grand Livina is a close second, the front fascia is okay but the rest of the body design is vanilla plain. APV Arena are close third, the tall design works out okay, and the APV has a nice bulldog look to it. Fourth would be Avanza, looked utilitarian, simple but too simple and in the latter year models, too much accessories. The last would be Daihatsu Luxio, okay front fascia but very boxy looking.

On a side note, Honda Freed and Daihatsu Luxio comes with a sliding door which is both practical and comfortable. Sliding doors allows people to enter from any direction because there any doors obstructing the path. This means people can get in and out on tight parking space with ease, a very convenient method of entry/exit. However, sliding doors needs more effort to close/open. With conventional hinge door, you just need to “push” the door, with sliding doors, you need to “pull” the door which involves slightly more effort. That’s why Honda came with power sliding door for the Freed.

6.2.The best things in life is the freedom to choose

Coming down to it, choosing between Freed, Grand Livina, Avanza, Luxio and APV Arena is a matter of personal preference, needs and emotional decision:

  • If you need a driver car, Nissan Grand Livina is the best pick of all; although the car has relatively high ground clearance, Grand Livina doesn’t have the extra height compared to the cars compared here. Body roll theoretically will be minimal, and if you got 209 million Rupiah, you can get the 1.8L engine good for burning rubber and tire on the highway. Just remember to distribute weight evenly.
  • If you need an all rounder, Toyota Avanza is the best choice bar none, its light body exemplify great power to weight ratio and rear wheel drive is great for hauling cargo. Thin plating are non problem if you don’t mean to ram cars in front of you.
  • If you’re low on budget, Daihatsu Luxio is a great car to have. Captain seat, rear aircon and rear wheel drive makes the car a good all rounder on budget. That and if you don’t mind seating above an engine.
  • If you want presence, Suzuki APV Arena Luxury comes with loads of it. The Luxury trim line comes with a 17” rims, and the bulldog design is both macho and ooze a little bling.
  • If you want engineering excellence and comfort, Honda Freed is a great choice. Power sliding door makes you looked important on any shopping complex lobby, the captain seat is comfortable, and the overall design is subjectively the best. Just make sure you appreciate its high revving engine nature.

Update: 1st May 2010: Sugar coats

Source:

Daihatsu Luxio Specification

Toyota Avanza Specification

Suzuki APV Specification

Honda Freed Specification

Nissan Grand Livina Specification

Press Release Honda Prospect Motor (Honda Indonesia) Mengenai Recall Honda Jazz/City

Kisruh recall Honda City di Indonesia sepertinya juga berdengung di telinga petinggi Honda Indonesia yang akhirnya mengeluarkan pernyataan resmi mengenai penarikan Honda City.

Silahkan download/unduh file PDF resmi mengenai penarikan Honda City di

Rapidshare dengan semena-mena menghapus file press release Honda mengenai statement recall power switch. Mohon maaf kepada pembaca yang sudah menelusuri pranala yang pernah saya cantumkan di website ini karena file aslinya sudah hilang sewaktu migrasi data ke komputer baru.

Kalimat-kalimat yang perlu dicermati adalah sebagai berikut:

<DAMPAK DI INDONESIA>
TIDAK ADA. Jazz yang diproduksi di Indonesia menggunakan komponen power window master switch yang diproduksi oleh Toyo Denso, yang memiliki desain yang berbeda dengan produksi OMRON. Sesuai dengan penjelasan di atas, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. dan PT Honda Prospect Motor (HPM) MEMASTIKAN bahwa tidak ada satu pun produk Honda Jazz di Indonesia yang terkena program recall. Selain Indonesia, beberapa negara seperti Jepang, Thailand dan
Australia juga dipastikan tidak melakukan recall untuk produk Honda Jazz di negaranya.

<PENYEBAB>Komponen Power Window Master Switch terkena air dalam jumlah yang banyak dan waktu yang lama. Hal ini memungkinkan terjadi hubungan listrik arus pendek.

Untuk pelaksanaan program ini, Jonfis Fandy Marketing & Aftersales Service Director PT HPM menjelaskan, “Konsumen yang mobilnya teridentifikasi tidak perlu kuatir dan dapat tetap menggunakan mobilnya seperti biasa. Mulai tanggal 1 Maret 2010 sampai dengan 30 September 2010, para pelanggan dapat datang ke bengkel resmi Honda atau kami hubungi untuk melakukan perbaikan secara cuma-cuma dengan menunjukkan bukti kepemilikan kendaraan yang sah.”

Jadi, meskipun fenomena recall Honda Fit/Jazz terjadi di luar negeri, hanya Honda City rakitan Thailand di Indonesia saja yang ditarik untuk diganti switch power windownya.

Sekadar catatan samping saja, menurut saya yang perlu diperhatikan disini juga adalah faktor kelalaian dari manusianya (human error). Hasil penelitian dari pihak Honda menunjukkan bila korsleting terjadi dalam jangka panjang, dan karena terkena air dengan debit yang tinggi. Hal ini cukup logis karena komponen listrik tidak dapat dibuat kedap air karena bagaimanapun juga alat tersebut harus dapat dibuka untuk diperbaiki, alhasil sudah pasti ada sela dimana cairan dapat masuk kedalamnya.

Adapun kutipan dari Bapak Andreas Boediman selaku ketua umum Honda Automotive Club Indonesia menyatakan bahwa kasus korsleting yang terjadi di Irlandia terjadi karena sang pengendara menumpahkan segelas minuman soda ke master switch power window dan di Amerika, kaca kendaraan di buka dan pada saat itu terjadi hujan dan mengakibatkan air masuk kedalam master switch power window.
Terlihat jelas bila ada juga faktor kesalahan manusia terlibat disini. Menurut saya, pihak Honda sudah mengambil langkah yang sangat baik menawarkan untuk mengganti master switch power window dengan cuma-cuma dan menunjukkan bahwa Honda Prospect Motor adalah perusahaan yang perduli dengan pelanggannya.
Singkat kata, tidak ada recall Honda Jazz di Indonesia selain 3240 Honda City.