Toyota’s Avanza is certainly no oil painting, but its presence has sparked a mini-onslaught of budget mini MPVs. Hot on the heels of Suzuki’s Ertiga, Honda has launched its Brio-based Mobilio in South Africa.
While we have not yet driven the new seven-seater, we can say that it is powered by Honda’s 88kW/145Nm 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine (lifted from Jazz and Ballade) and that it rides on the Brio’s platform (although it will be available from launch with a more serviceable black interior). The front wheels are driven via a five-speed manual transmission.
Mobilio is certainly no spiritual or other successor to the FR-V that was hugely popular amongst local families. For one, the FR-V’s two rows of three seats were considered slightly too unconventional for global markets and have made way for a more acceptable seven-seat configuration, spread over three rows. There’s stadium seating, so those seated on the rear bench can see the road over the other occupants heads, and seats can be reconfigured in all rows with a single touch. The second row bench slides forwards and back, splits 60/40, and has reclinable backrests. The rearmost twin bench splits 50/50.
Two specification grades are available: the entry-level Trend and family-oriented Comfort. Trend is equipped with features such as central locking, electric windows and tilt-adjustable steering wheel.
Comfort adds plusher items such as chrome finishes for certain cabin details, an integrated audio system with steering wheel controls and compatible with USBs, MP3s and the like, aircon with separate vents for the rear passengers, remote central locking, electric wing mirrors and a rear screen wiper, amongst other things.
All models come with colour-coded body trim and an integrated rear spoiler. All models are also kitted with a comprehensive list of safety features including ABS with EBD, dual front airbags, inertia reel seatbelts, and head restraints on all seats.
Prices are R179 990 for the 1.5 Trend and R198 990 for the 1.5 Comfort. An auto will be added to the range in January 2015, Honda’s local sales and marketing director, Graham Eagle, said.
The new seven-seater is sold with a three-year/100 000km warranty and AA roadside assistance for one year. Services are at 15 000km intervals and Comfort models have a two-year/30 000km service plan.