Here it is folks, pictures and witty comments of 2009 Indonesian Honda Freed. The model you’ll be seeing is the baseline version with the uprated rims from the original Japanese Honda Freed and some exclusions to fit with the intended target market price bracket.
Let’s start to take a look from the exterior sides first.
Short nose, highly advanced engineering
Taking the same platform of the Fit/Jazz, the Freed inherit the same “near-zero” hood, because that’s how awesome Honda engineers are, able to create such a compact engine to make a compact and easy to maneuverable car. But one thing you will notice from the outside is…
Smoked headlight for added oomph
Smoked headlight, standard for all model. Nice addition and makes this white over black headlight really nice. Although not as nice as the…
Uprated tires and rims nudge the ground clearance higher
Uprated rim and tires from the original JDM model. Freed JDM models employs 14” rims as standard and 160 mm of ground clearance. Clearly the use of 15” rims by Freed competitors and the necessity to heighten Freed’s original ground clearance for shoddy Indonesian cities roads warrant this upgrade. Freed uses 185/65 tires on 15” rims, which boost Freed’s ground clearance to a healthy 165 mm. Not tall enough, but enough as not to destroy the driving dynamics. Which you want because…
L15 engine although slightly detune
The Freed has the same engine as the Fit/Jazz and City. Notice the same air duct towards the intake of the car positioned near the firewall of the engine bay? That means fresh relatively cool air is fed towards the intake for maximum efficiency at high speed. Even though the power is down from 120ps that of Fit/Jazz and City to 118ps to the Freed, it’s still the most powerful engine for its given capacity (1.5L). Which you want to utilize because…
Side visibility is superb
The driving position is very nice. Although this car doesn’t feature telescopic steering only tilt and there is no height adjustment on the driver seat, good seating position is achievable. Which gives… Nice visibility from driving position to all sides. The A pillar is slanty enough so you can see tall objects on the side and the instrument cluster is nicely positioned just slightly below the front glass, perfect for glancing while driving.
Cheap AC controls, but awesome dash design
Phew… It’s quite hard to write something that continuous, so let’s continue with the usual flow… Interior size wise, the car is adequate for the majority of Asians, although some tall guy including me will need to adjust the seat quite extremely to find the perfect seating position (just slide the seats all the way back). Seating position for second and third row is limited for my “178 cm long in the legs” posture, as my knee will always scrub against something. Not so much for the first row because there are more leg room upfront.
Upholstery is not what I expected, but still nice
I found that the seating position is a bit low, thus I couldn’t find comfortable seating position on second and third row. Bearable on short trips, but not so much for longer ones. Tall people, definitely sits at the first row only.
One thing that I found very satisfying sitting inside the Freed on the second and third row seat is the tall roofline. The tall roofline gives a lot positive feeling psychologically, being that It’s like you’re sitting in a more spacious room. The same thing applies I guess to your house design, low roofline and you will feel that you’re living in a smaller place than if the roofline is higher… It’s psychobable, because you live horizontally not vertically, but it’s real.
Flat floor + sexy legs
There is one minus point for the second row interior, in that, although the captain seat has arm rest, it’s only on the inner side of the interior, and not the outer. In fact, the outer position where the doors are, there are no arm rest and even a crease to put your arm. You can only rest your arm on the inner side of the seat.
Entry point is very accessible
Entering and exiting the car for the second row is very nice for average and tall people. Thanks to the side handles, small size persons (a kid) can just grab on the handle and climb up the footstep, thank goodness the car ground clearance is not too high as to hamper entering and exiting the car. While trying to enter and exit the car, now I realize, having a tall ground clearance have its adverse side effect; because the taller the ground clearance, the taller the entry/exit point is. Imagine your Grandmother have to literally “climb” her way up to your Land Cruiser… Yeah, buy that LC Grandma haters…
Access to the third row seat is through the alley of the second row seat. Which is kind of tight because of the protruding armrest. But given that this is me “not your typical Asian” we are talking, medium size people will be able to pass through the alley with ease.
The third seat as pictured before, folds upward and splits 50/50. I can easily get out from the third row seat when one was folded upward through the rear hatch… Although I didn’t know why you would do that… The minus point for this folding upward seat is that it won’t allow wide tall objects to be put on the floor, because the seat above it will obstruct the object. Tall slim objects are perfect though.
The Freed is definitely geared towards average Asians upstart family who wants comfort and entry level luxury. The size is obviously perfect for average size Asians, thanks to its box shaped overall body structure. Legrooms might be tight, but shoulder and head room is ginormous. The second row and third row features reclining seats, because there are lots of space available, and it even still has some space left behind the third row seat.
Honda really did it this time. The car price is dead on, fits perfectly between the Jazz and the City and really seals the image that Honda is premium brand. The local advertisement of Indonesian Honda Freed might be too much on the framing of the target market and less about the car, but it’s okay, Honda Indonesia really nails the premium aspect of the car.
Given the price, the Freed is expensive to say the least. But consider this: Freed emulates to a perfect degree of expensive people movers such as Alphard, Elysion and Elgrand. Because the car chassis and platform (FF) mimics perfectly of its more expensive brethren. Nissan Grand Livina is the closest direct competitor to Freed platform wise, but it sits lower and the roofline is lower. Sure the Nissan Grand Livina has the advantage in driving dynamics, being lower and all, but it won’t easily beat Freed’s spacious interior vertically.
I see that the demographic for Freed is very wide ranging. From 30 to 45, and economic strata of A & B+. From upstart family to just those who started a new life together. Perfect? Not really. Hit the target? 102%
Thanks to Pak. Harris at Autoland Kelapa Gading for putting up with me and the family long after the dealership closing time, and no thanks to Nokia E75 shitty low light pictures.