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.

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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.

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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.

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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.