Driving The Hotness – Honda Freed 3258 Km Later

*photos coming next

Driving the Freed is very nice, but emphasis on the word nice. It’s not great, the seat could use more bolster, the steer only tilts not telescopic and the driver seat only has reclining and sliding adjustment, no seat height adjustment. At first I thought it’s going to be hell for me to find perfect seat position… In fact, I was ready to visit my masseur on monthly basis… But I was wrong dead period. The seat is already raised and the steering wheel already extended nicely towards the driver. During my time driving, I can slide my seat back and forth without compromising too much of my comfort, especially during all seat occupied scenario and some tall guy seats behind me (the driver). So yeah, love the seat even though I can’t tell for every person out thfere since the seat perfect for me but maybe not for the fickle who wanted to get a low driving position.

The Freed has a commanding view of the road thanks to its raised seat position, as such, view of the road is great and the slanted angle front windshield makes turning view less obstructed than a car with high angle a-pillar *cough*SX-4*cough*. 3258 Kilometers later, my love for the driving position is reminded over and over again every time I drive this car. The a-pillar angle is very slanted thus view angle through the a-pillar is satisfying as the port windshield is large enough while the thickness of the frame is acceptable. Rear view is acceptable as the rear window frame is quite thick, but changing lane is still good since you can take a look through the rear passenger window which is quite big.

Driving the car, I don’t feel that the Freed is big and lumbering, in fact I found it a little bit nimble, too nimble even. The steering ratio is a bit low making the steer a tad light, so any movement is translated in gusto to wheel movement, making the car easy to maneuver in tight spot and making less than buff driver able to steer the car effortlessly.

Power came from a revised 1.5L i-VTEC engine from the famous L-series that powers the millions of Honda Jazz/Fit around the world (2 millions since last counted by Honda in 2007) which now powers the second generation Jazz/Fit and the new City. The car has a high strung characteristic as it achieves its maximum power of 118ps at 6600 RPM, something that is not liked for the majority of family hauler buyers. In my daily drives, I indeed need to wind the engine up to about 4000 RPM to get significant push when trying to overtake on highway or city driving. But this is the characteristic of the engine; Honda engines needs to be pushed to its limit because it can, and because it likes it (naughty wink). Coupled that with eager to downshift automatic gearbox, I generally do not have any problem with how the engine delivers it powers.

One thing to note about the gearbox is that although it has 5 gears, when the gear downshifts it only selects one gear down from the highest selected gear. So when you’re on the 5th gear and hit the pedal, you’ll get 4th gear and slight hum from the engine, quite annoying on high speed. If you still want to force the gearbox to shift two gears down, you need to press on the gas pedal for about 3 seconds or so. You will feel the gearbox selects lower gear by the higher RPMs and then it will selects yet a lower gear when you wait enough. So for whatever reason you need to go fast and furious, you want to press the D3 button (at whatever speed) and hit the gas from there to downshift. Still, Honda designs this car for efficiency so driving fast and furious is out of the question.

Talking about efficiency, the Freed has plenty of it. The significant contributor for Freed’s efficiency is definitely its 5 speed automatic gearbox. The fifth gear on the car allows for a second overdrive gear which allows the wheels spun much faster than the engine, increasing its efficiency… It’s funny when people still thinks that overdrive is some kind of a term to make the car goes faster.

How efficient the car can go? Driving alone I once hit 21.9 Kilometers per liter or 51.5 MPG (US) on highway at average speed of 60 Kilometers per hour… Well, I might violate the minimum speed which is 70 KpH, and I employ slight hypermiling techniques (tip toeing and coasting, a/c on though) but I get 21.9 KpL, so shove it government, you and your crazy tax for hybrids. Still, it’’s a bit cheating, and generally I get about 15-16 KpL or 35 MPG (US) on the highway with speeds ranging from 90 KpH to 100 KpH, with about 4 adults cut that by half a Kilometer per Liter.  Still a respectable number.

On inner city traffic… Well, it’s a different story… My trips around the city involves mad traffic, and when I say mad, I mean 50% of the time I’m on the road, the car doesn’t move and average speed is about 20 KpH. So at best, I can only managed 8.5 KpL or 19.9 MPG (US) for inner city driving. I can push it up a notch or two to 8.7 KpL or 9.0 KpL by turning off the A/C, but in this weather… You’ll smell funny before you hit 9.0 KpL. Off course there’s the occasional sane traffic where I can get up to 11-12 KpL average, but it’s few and far between the crazy traffic, and that number was achieved averaging the time I got stuck in crazy traffic, could get better but it’s not the norm.

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Coming up next, comfort and utility write up