Which one to kill – Mobilio or BR-V?

To say that Honda is savage is an understatement. We are talking about an automotive company who will gladly discontinue automotive icons like Integra, Prelude, and S2000 in a heartbeat if it doesn’t perform financially. This fact is not new, way back when Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa was still kicking and laying the foundation of the company it is now, they both spar a lot. In one story of Honda biography, when developing the Honda 1300 in the 1960s, Soichiro Honda had quarrels with his engineers. Takeo Fujisawa then intervene. There’s some conflicting story from various sources, but suffice to say, business decision talk happened and although the 1300 with air cooling is out for a sale, it’s short lived, making way for the Accord. So guys, if you’re a true hardcore Honda fan, look for the Honda 1300 as to my knowledge, it’s the last Honda car that Soichiro Honda technically involved in.

Anyway… Back to which one to kill, Mobilio or BR-V…

The problem with Mobilio and BR-V is that they kind of overlap with each other. Similar interior and utility makes it hard to justify buying one from each except for the price, which the Mobilio has advantage over the BR-V. Yes the BR-V have better NVH (noise, vibration, harshness), but it’s marginal and the only thing it has to the general populace is its SUV look. However I couldn’t dismiss the engineering merit BR-V carries such as the actively cooled CVT, that uptick in power and more head room on the third row.

If I’m in the position of the bean counters looking at the big picture, I will kill the Mobilio and keep the BR-V for its second generation. The Mobilio only sells well in Indonesia, and for a regional project that’s bad. The BR-V sales in the region is on the rise, because globally, people leans towards everything SUV or strong stance looking MPV. This is why cars like Mitsubishi Expander succeeds, because it crosses the boundaries between your mommy and daddy car. Unofficially, they call these cars MUV, a portmanteau from MPV and SUV, although the original meaning is very far from a simple combination of words. In United States and Europe, they just call these kind of cars, crossovers.

Off course strong brand is a strong brand, and the Mobilio has established itself in Indonesia very well with 200 thousand units running around in the country to date. My take killing the mobilio is killing the car, but not the name. So the next generation Mobilio physically is dead, replaced by a second generation BR-V, but call it the Mobilio in Indonesia while the same car is called BR-V anywhere else.

My idea for the next generation 7 seater is pretty standard, make the car wider and with fold flat 50:50 third row seat. The 1.5L i-VTEC and CVT combo is potent as is, perhaps a 1.0L i-VTEC turbo is warranted to put Honda in the forefront of automotive technology, but I’m worried about the lack of maintenance culture and Honda engine tolerance for low grade fuel.

Honda main competitor is obviously the Mitsubishi Expander, and because it’s physically a larger car, the current gen Mobilio/BR-V is simply a smaller alternative. Sure, large isn’t always good, bigger car, heavier weight, more frontal area and thus less fuel efficient but it’s what the market demanded, so Honda needs to follow suit. I don’t like tall cars, the Expander almost grazed that line, so I’m still okay. What I wanted from a second generation Mobilio/BR-V is a wider car, the current gen headroom is already good but the shoulder room needs a lot of improvement. In either current gen Mobilio or BR-V, I always scrap elbows with the driver when I sit in the front passenger seat. Especially when the driver is pulling the e-brake.

There’s also another issue with Mobilio and BR-V life cycle. The Mobilio is due for a major change in most likely a year’s time, since it’s already in the market for 6 years now, while the BR-V only entered its 4th year now. So will Honda pull similar move like the Amaze in India? Changing the model in just 4 years? I really hate to be Honda product planner now.

I love Honda and its fighting spirit, they always fight hard with fresh and exciting product portfolio. However I just don’t like the Mobilio from the start. It’s too generic, and not Honda special. Honda should never go with the principle “what they need” anymore. Yes, the Mobilio is what the market needs, but not what they want anymore.

The Brio Family, 7 years later

The Brio, Mobilio, BR-V, and Amaze was the start of Honda new platform sharing project in ASEAN and India. It’s a weird start at first with flooding on the Thailand factory that delays the first car in the project, the Brio.

But then it seemingly starts so well, Honda sales in Indonesia shoots through the roof with the Mobilio, netting almost 80 thousand units in when it was first release in the country alone. The car even gets a very hot welcome with 22 thousand units when it was launched in India. The Brio sells steadily well in Indonesia, reaching top sales for micro cars in Indonesia every year until today (2019). The BR-V and Amaze sells pretty well on its sophomore years as well.

Yet here we are 7 years later after the Brio and subsequently the Mobilio, BR-V, Amaze strong starts has become weird plenty fast. Honda wanted to sell a family of product line, but in reality every region has a specific demand and Honda can’t please every market segment in the region.

Let’s start with the Mobilio first.

I have negative predisposition towards the Mobilio, because outside the engine and transmission, it’s not a Honda to me. There are small details that only Honda engineers can pull yes, but it was clearly designed to maximize profit first and utility later. No second row smart seat like the Fit/Jazz? No problem, but why the third row seats didn’t fold flat? And why the third row seat dangles freely with only a hook to secure it when it’s being fold up? Is it a smart solution? Probably, but it comes out very cheap feeling.

The Mobilio still sells well in Indonesia, but numbers are going down steadily. From near 80 thousand units when launched to just 20 thousand units average for the last three years. The market competition simply heats up exponentially in the last three years. The Wuling Cortez is killing the Mobilio with its amazing value. For the list price of the Mobilio RS, you can get a turbo charged Wuling Cortez that is roomier, and with more amenities. Mitsubishi Expander/Nissan Livina duo offers a roomier car with more daring design for less money than the Mobilio. The Mobilio looks like a bad value product today compared to the competition.

The only thing going on for the Mobilio is the very good fuel mileage and good engine (see my previous comment about everything else about the car is not a Honda except for the engine and transmission). The Indian market is more cruel than the Indonesian market. With more competition from the get go, the Mobilio lackluster sales with only 3 thousand units sold in 2016. Honda India killed the Mobilio.

Now let’s go to the Amaze.

The Amaze, the Brio sedan takes off to a grand start in India, with 65 thousand units sold. The sub 4-meter sedan is a hot segment in India, this is where the Brio Amaze shines bright. The problem is with the design, it just looks weird, period.

The first gen Amaze is the Brio with added trunk. The proportion is simply off. A sloping hood and fenders gives the illusion of a smaller car with a huge rear, the same issue as the Honda City fourth gen (GD8).

Noticing this issue, Honda India in just after 4 years (one of the shortest life cycle of any Honda products), releases the second generation of the Amaze with a proper sedan design. The second gen Amaze looks special, it looks premium. From the Indian reviews I read on forums and youtube reviews, the Amaze is simply… Amazing. It’s not the best in class for everything, but it’s pretty well balanced from driving dynamics, interior space, and subjective design (I prefer the Suzuki Dzire).

The Amaze sales drops to 20 thousand units in 2017, but bounced back hard in 2018 with the release of the new second generation model topping at 65 thousand units sold. Probably massive clearance discount on the last gen helps, but I see massive success of the Amaze in India for many years.

And then we have the BR-V.

The BR-V… Ah… Arguably the most misunderstood model from the family. The penultimate model, the ultimate Mobilio… What… NO! The BR-V IS NOT A DRESS UP MOBILIO!!!! It’s annoying, but this is what the consensus is in the market where the Mobilio and BR-V sold together.

2019 BR-V

The BR-V is always disregarded as the Mobilio+ because aside from the front profile, the rest of the exterior looks like the Mobilio. Nissan did it with the Grand Livina X-Gear, so why Honda should be different? Well, because it is. Even though the BR-V resembles the Mobilio, it is almost a new car unto itself.

The chassis code difference is telling, the Mobilio with DD4 and the BR-V with DG1 shares the same mother but a different father. The BR-V CVTs is equipped with a cooler that connects to the radiator. This means the car has tougher chops to do some offroads and able to withstand taller gears on longer period of time. This also means you don’t have to worry the transmission heating up on steep inclines like in mountain courses/roads. There are more dampeners installed on the front end and revised steering to curbed vibrations. On chassis side, the third row of the BR-V has more headroom than the Mobilio. Simply put, you pay more for BR-V because it is a more capable car than the Mobilio.

The BR-V just entered its fourth year, but it really comes in the worst time. The Mitsubishi Expander/Nissan Livina Duo is taking its market share like a champ. The Wuling Almaz, a CR-V sized car but at the same price of the BR-V offers a MUCH better value for money. The BR-V Sales drops from 38 thousand in its first year in Indonesia to just only 9 thousand two years later in Indonesia. However numbers are steadily growing in Pakistan and India.

Almost forgot the Brio, the one that started all.

Ah the Brio, the magical car that started it all. A way for Honda to utilize Indonesia government special tax ruling for cars built in Indonesia and using engine under 1.2L. Aside from the amazing engine and class leading 5 speed auto, there’s not much to it. Its cramped second row, lack of sound proofing and laughable cargo space makes way for pure driving exhilaration. Its short wheelbase makes the car feels light and agile and nobody will laugh when the car is fully modded.

In India, the Brio sells poorly, and with the Amaze as a roomier alternative and not for a lot more money, our friends there flocks to the latter than the former. Only in Indonesia that the Brio excels with sales growing steadily year by year. With the “second generation” just released in 2018, with bigger second row and a proper trunk, the car is predicted to soar past 60 thousand units sold in 2019 alone.

I put a parenthesis in the second generation comment because funny enough, the chassis is still DD1 according to wikipedia, the same one as the first generation. Structurally, the car has its wheelbase stretched by about 6 Cm, which is a huge increment for a car that size. Interior wise, the car still uses the same interior design from the outgoing model, most likely this is why the car still shares the same chassis code.

Thankfully, the second generation improves aplenty in the NVH department. Since I own the first generation, test driving the second generation felt strange. The feel is the same, it’s like driving my first gen Brio but with a bit more weight from the get go… But it’s noticeably more silent and better road noise at all speed range. Luckily, it’s not available in blue like the outgoing model, phew… Money saved.

Honda is truly stuck in the moment with two of their major line up in the middle class economy market… And you don’t want that as it’s statistically the biggest market today. At this moment, Honda can only put cash on the hood for Mobilio and Mobilio in Indonesia to survive the Mitsubishi/Nissan and Wuling onslaught. There is a loyalty discount for current Honda owners if wanting to buy another Honda, but the amount is still less than the value of the competition. I’d say Honda should give the Mobilio and BR-V about 8-12% price reduction in whatever form. At that price point, the Mobilio is attractive, the BR-V is still a hard sell, but hey, it’s a Honda!

Source:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Mobilio

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Brio

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Amaze

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_BR-V

Rangkuman Pernyataan CEO Honda 2019

Untuk penggemar setia Honda, kuartal 2 (Mei/Juni) adalah waktu yang selalu ditunggu-tunggu, karena pada saat ini lah CEO Honda mengeluarkan arahan bisnis yang akan datang. Meskipun berbicara seputar bisnis, arahan ini umumnya sedikit mengumbar lini produk dari Honda.

Untuk membaca rangkuman pernyataan CEO Honda Takahiro Hachigo san silahkan klik di sini (bahasa Inggris). Yang mau membaca rangkuman dari rangkuman dalam bahasa Indonesia, silahkan lanjut ke bawah.

Hachigo san menekankan bahwa model Honda global (Accord, Civic, CR-V, Fit/Jazz dan Vezel (HR-V) akan mendapatkan lebih sedikit model dari yang ada sekarang. Hal ini tidak berpengaruh di Indonesia, namun di Amerika Serikat, Accord, Civic, CR-V, Fit dan HR-V memiliki model dan konfigurasi yang sangat banyak. Sebagai contoh, Honda Accord di Amerika Serikat memiliki 6 model, dari LX, EX, EX-L, Hybrid, Sport, dan Touring. Penyederhanaan model ini tidak ada efek langsung kepada pengguna setia Honda karena keputusan ini diambil untuk memangkas ongkos produksi dan ongkos inventory saja.

Arahan bisnis yang paling signifikan untuk pengguna dan pecinta Honda adalah pengenalan arsitektur mobil global baru. Mulai tahun depan, Honda akan mengadopsi arsitektur atau platform mobil dengan pembagian konten lebih tinggi. Untuk ASEAN, kita sudah merasakan platform mobil dengan pembagian konten tinggi ini, yaitu di keluarga Brio/BR-V/Mobilio. Tentu saja untuk trio mobil tersebut ada penekanan tinggi di ongkos produksi sehingga terlalu banyak komponen yang sama. Untuk model global, rasanya pembagian komponen tidak akan terlalu terlihat di eksterior, hanya di bagian rangka saja

Honda juga akan mengurangi jam kerja untuk pengembangan kendaraan massal hingga 30% sampai tahun 2025 dan akan mengarahkan sumber dayanya ke dalam pengembangan teknologi baru.

Yang terakhir adalah fokus elektrifikasi dan kendaraan energi alternatif Honda secara global. Honda akan tetap kukuh mengusung teknologi hybrid i-MMD (Intelligent Multi Mode Drive) yang berfungsi serupa dengan Toyota HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) dan akan memasarkan solusi ini secara aktif. Di Eropa Honda juga akan meluncurkan mobil listrik murni pertamanya yang diberi nama Honda E.

Apakah arahan 2019 ini dapat terealisasi dengan baik? Pemasaran hybrid Honda secara global sedikit terlambat. Ketika orang berbicara hybrid, semua sudah menengok Toyota. Upaya Honda di era hybrid awal dengan teknologi IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) tidak berjalan sesuai harapan, karena rupanya sedikit yang perduli dengan kenikmatan berkendara dibandingkan dengan orang-orang yang mencari mobil irit. Mobil hybrid di era awal yang diusung oleh Toyota Prius memberikan sensasi berkendara yang aneh. Dengan rem regenerasi yang membuat mobil mengurangi kecepatan ketika pedal gas diangkat membuat menyetir mobil hybrid Toyota terasa aneh. Dengan IMA, mengendarai mobil hybrid Honda serasa menyetir mobil biasa. Sayang hal ini juga membuat mobil hybrid Honda kalah irit dengan mobil hybrid Toyota.

Semoga arahan ini akan menghasilkan kendaraan-kendaraan yang lebih inovatif lagi.

Sumber: Honda news room

Official 2019 Honda BR-V Refresh

Surprise! Well… Not really…

So there you go, the official image of 2019 Honda BR-V refresh. The tacky door molding is gone thank heaven! While the overall look is like I said in the previous post, understated elegance. Looks okay, not that premium looking, compared to Toyota/Daihatsu Rush/Terios or the Mitsubishi/Nissan Xpander/Livina, but well it’s okay.

The chrome mustache is now slightly off colored like the HR-V refresh. The headlamp is the same with the original model, but featuring a brighter daytime running light system. It’s not a major refresh really, you can even say the outgoing model is cleaner looking even. All models are now sporting a 16″ wheels, I don’t know how it will affect the fuel efficiency, but definitely it will have a slight adverse effect.

Just like the appearance, everything else is upgraded in terms of “same thing new skin” stuff. The interior on the higher end trim is now leather clad, and like the Malaysian BR-V, it sports the old Civic steering wheel. Funny how from all of the minor improvement abound on the BR-V, this thing is the one that makes me say, okay job Honda…

Before, the back seat of the 3rd row is a one piece, now it’s a half piece… I wanted the same mechanism like in the Toyota/Daihatsu Avanza/Xenia, where the 3rd row 50:50 split, folds and tumbles forward independently, this is good effort, a B minus, well it’s a passing grade where I teach.

Mechanically, it’s the same, same L15A, same CVT and 6 speed manual option. I like the red color though. Expect the same thing to come to Malaysia sometimes end of the year.

Do expect some more words about the car, but probably in a couple of days.

Come check every details on Honda Indonesia BR-V website:

https://www.honda-indonesia.com/model/br-v

If you need info and wanted to buy one (Indonesian only) I can refer a good sales guy, drop a comment below.

I’ve seen the 2019 BR-V refresh, it’s okay

So you guys should know about the upcoming 2019 Honda BR-V facelift, it’s already leaked by several local news outlet. No pictures yet, but the leaks described something about keyless entry, revised front and rear design, bigger wheels, and praise God, no more door molding. Well, I have seen the picture, but not going to put it here, I have to protect my source. Anyway, I’m satisfied with it… Satisfied, but not ecstatic.

Honda design has always followed a creed, understated elegance. Never too flashy, never too out there and the facelifted BR-V followed suit. On the Prestige trim, from the front, there’s a new daytime running light, looks like LED, quite bright, but got to be careful with DRL term, Honda used it quite loosely. The huge chrome moustache has been toned down with a black grille stealing the focus, but the chrome treatment is still a prominent feature on the lower end trim. Again, the refresh follows the understated elegance. It’s definitely not Mitsubishi Expander/Nissan Livina duo LOOK AT MY UNIQUE TWO-TIER HEAD LAMP look.

The stop gap refresh Honda Indonesia pulled last year was off to a cold start. Personally, I don’t like it. Honda added side molding/bumper on the doors of the BR-V. According to my source because “according to research”, people wanted a more rugged look for the BR-V. Well, that research is wrong. Many SUVs with better off-roading pedigree doesn’t even have that big of a door molding it just makes the car very pretentious looking. Just looked at serious off-roading vehicles, the Jeeps, the Land Rovers, those gargantuan American trucks, NONE have a tacky looking door molding.

Engine wise, it still carries the L15A, Naturally Aspirated 1500cc i-VTEC engine, the old trusty workhorse. No issue there, but I was hoping for for the P10 engine, the turbocharged 1000cc i-VTEC engine. Yes it’s a three cylinder, but with 129PS at 5500 RPM and 200 Nm of torque at 2250 RPM, it’s more than adequate to scuttle the BR-V easily. My reasoning is simply to bring the BR-V inline with CR-V (turbo engine option), and to simply keep Honda at the forefront of engineering.

I do like the 2019 BR-V refresh look. It’s not going to rock my world or anything, but if any, my beliefs in Honda products is second to none… And since in the budget I can choose either Mobilio or BR-V, most likely I’ll go for the BR-V.

A note to Honda – BR-V Edition

With Mobilio and Brio receiving its mid-cycle refresh, the BR-V is the only model out of the platform that has yet to receive a refresh.

The BR-V, to me is the ultimate Mobilio, the best iteration of the platform bar none. From the outside, it looks like a Mobilio with a facelift, a very good face lift, but it’s so much more than that. The BR-V receives extensive sound proofing, better mechanics and inside it has more headroom than the Mobilio. Yet, for all of its superiority over the Mobilio, I still can’t wrap my head around the third row seat utility.

The BR-V like the Mobilio, has a third row seat that tumbles forward for extra cargo area. Yet, even though the third row back seat can be folded 50:50, the base is not divided. So if you want to fit an extra tall item, you either have to sacrifice the third row seat altogether or put the item on top one of the folded backseat, which, because it’s a cushion, won’t give a stable base to put things on.

I had this one particular case last week when I was driving with 4 other person on my Freed. I was out buying some gardening stuff, some short plants, some horizontal pots, and some compost. Because the third row seat folds 50:50 individually, my big friend can still sit at the back comfortably with only one seat folded, although the compost smells kind of makes him wanted to kill me, but hey, it still works. If I drive the BR-V, the big dude had to sit in the second row with two other big dudes which is not at all comfortable. I’m still boggled by the notion that Honda engineers and designers sorely left out the utility that makes a Honda, a Honda, from the platform altogether.

I know, I know, cost cutting… But Toyota Avanza has 50:50 individually splitting third row seat that tumbles forward… A Toyota for crying out loud… Which I have nothing against, but, it’s a Toyota.

Also, for a premium car, or at least the most expensive car that shared platform with the Mobilio, and the dinky Brio, why the heck BR-V door panels ARE LIFTED ENTIRELY FROM THE BRIO!? Or… WHY DOES IT SHARE PARTS FROM THE CHEAPEST ENTRY LEVEL MODEL!?

Goodness gracious… My Freed is 7 years old and starting to show mechanical and electronic issues, although not disturbing to say the least, but it’s annoying. Frankly, I don’t see myself replacing the Freed with the Mobilio, if I do, that’s because I’m desperately needed to change the Freed, and I’m blood tied with Honda. The BR-V however, has a chance. Comes next year, rumors abound that it will receives a refresh and you know what’s coming next year also? Second generation Toyota Rush/Daihatsu Terios. I’m sure if Honda didn’t offer a substantial refresh on the BR-V, next year, it will be a bloodbath for the model.

So for summary, my note for Honda BR-V:

  • Do something about the door panel lining. Differentiate it more than Brio door panel lining.
  • Use true split 50:50 for the third row.
  • A true LED DRL with brighter lighting.

That’s it… It’s very straightforward. The BR-V is the flagship product of the Brio, Mobilio, BR-V trio in Indonesia. The basics are there, it’s just that the devil is in the detail.

A Note To Honda – Brio Edition

So what’s wrong about the Brio? Bearing the torch as Honda entry level car, the Brio carried the burden laid by the old Honda Fit/Jazz. The Fit/Jazz was everything a compact car could have been. An agile handling, a responsive but frugal engine, high utility function with the fold flat seats and best of all, entry level pricing. The Brio on the other hand covers everything but left one thing wanting, especially the utility part. With a cargo space barely fitting a backpack that can fit 15″ laptop sideways, what happened? Many cars in the Brio class has superior cargo space, in fact, it can be argued that the Brio has the smallest cargo space in the class.

Size wise, the Brio is quite compact, but not as compact as the other car in the segment. Let’s pull a size comparison with the Daihatsu Ayla, just from Wikipedia.

Brio LxWxH : 3.61 x 1.68 x 1.47 Meter

Ayla LxWxH : 3.6 x 1.6 x 1.52 Meter.

Volume wise the Brio basically is about the same with the Daihatsu offering, however how come the cargo space for Agya is so much bigger than the Brio?

This is where the platform sharing fell short for the Brio. Size is never anything. There are plenty of consideration needed to size a car based on its dimension. For example, the wheelbase. The Brio has a short wheelbase, at only 2.34 Meter, compared to Ayla 2.45 Meter. Does 13 Centimeter is a lot? Well yes… For a front wheel drive cars, wheelbase means exactly the interior space a car has for its occupants and cargo if it’s a two box design cars, which underlies station wagon, hatchbacks and anything without a trunk/boot.

So the Brio has a bad length to wheelbase ratio, because it suffers from the platform sharing stigma. The car length was attributed to the fact that the platform caters engine to its biggest size, the 1.5L turbocharged diesel i-DTEC engine available in India. No matter how you sugarcoat the i-DTEC engine, a combination of turbocharger, intercooler and extra pipings necessitate a bigger engine bay than necessary. Brio engine bay fits the L15 i-VTEC like a champ, and it’s actually one of the most popular modification for those who want to get power and stay on this spectrum of naturally aspirated engine.

Lucky this issue only affects the utility side of the car. The Brio is still a blast to drive, even with a dinky 1.2L engine. Short wheelbase does impart the go kart like driving sensation, and with a marginally wide and low slung body, daily driving may be exciting, if the law allows it.

So what can be done with the utility issue for the next generation of Brio? Sadly… Nothing the engineers can do with it if the next car is based on the same platform sharing. What they can do is to design the car with a more aggressive styling like the current Brio RS. Move away from the wide eyed look of the current car, and be more like a smaller Jazz with H wing fascia. The engineers can also design a boxier looking car, but at the expense of making a dorky looking car. I know it’s hard to design the perfect car, since engineers and designers always headbutt their conversation any way they can.

Source:

Honda Brio Wikipedia

Daihatsu Ayla Wikipedia

A note to Honda

Like anything in this world, nothing is perfect, so does Honda and its products. In this entry series called ‘a note to Honda’, I’m casting away my fanboyness to anything Honda for constructive critiques.

Honda never shied away from using an existing platform for a wide variety of cars, some are amazing because of it, but some has weird peculiarity because it uses the same platform.

Honda built its car using global platforms, a mainstay term today but a unique concept back in the day. There was a time one platform called Honda small global platform underlines 5 model back in early 00’s with the Fit, Fit Aria (City), Airwave, Mobilio, and Mobilio Spike.

For more than a decade, Honda never use platform sharing as aggressive as back in the early 00’s with the Fit line. Now they are back with full force with the Brio line. Spanning 4 model line, it might not be as frugal as the Fit platform sharing, but it sets out what’s good and bad about Honda. I’ve wrote about the Brio platform in the past, but more of overview of the platform. Here I will be much more critical of the platform and many about Honda in general.

So next, let’s talk about the Brio.

 

Mobilio Refresh 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.