Monday, August 2, 2010

A day out in the Freed

EDITED : Added some official photos from Jason Ong and his link.

I got a call from Rebecca Saw a couple of weeks back asking me if I was interested to participate in an event by Honda. Hmm, I thought why not.

Come 31st July 2010, I made my way to SOULed OUT in Desa Sri Hartamas at 9am not knowing what to expect...

I parked my car and made my way in. I was greeted by a fleet of these...

Hmm, cute cars, I thought to myself. As I walked in, I was greeted by Becky with a large grin on her face. "Good Morning Leonard! You made it." I signed up, got a goodie bag and proceeded to look around for more familiar faces. Josh Lim was there too of course. Then from the corner of my eye, I spotted Jacob.

"Hey Jacob! Erm, whatcha doing here dude?!" I later found out he was there because he came with Paul Tan and Harvinder Singh (the host of our local 'Top Gear', Driven). We exchanged a couple of pleasantries and then I spotted Jason Chan (WaLauWei). "Breakfast upstairs!" so we made our way up. I really needed some coffee having not slept the previous nite.

A short presentation was given by Harvinder and we were all given a couple of pointers on what to expect and the unique selling points of the vehicle, such as the remote dual automatic sliding doors, walkthrough cabins and flat floor design. All of these USP's are unique to the Honda Freed.

I suddenly realized I was supposed to experience and review the car! Oh No! I haven't the slightest clue what to do, more over how to review anything that doesn't do awesome 0-60 times! *laughs* All the while, I thought it was a launch or something of that sort.

So, the Honda Feed is categorized as a 'Compact Premium MPV', I was told a category it is in on its own. It is based on the Jazz/Fit platform and is equipped with the same 1.5 I-VTEC engine and 5-speed transmission. It pumps out 118PS at 6600rpm and a torque of 146Nm at 4800rpm. Slightly more torque they say.

Now, the whole event was for 32 of us bloggers to go on a test drive to Putrajaya Waterpark and back, experiencing the handling and ride characteristics of the vehicle, then sharing our experience on our respective blogs. The 8 Honda Freed I saw earlier parked outside were allocated to us for the drive.

We were told it will be 4 of us to a car. As we made our way down to the cars, I could see Jason Chan arms up in the air waving at me, "Leonard! Leonard! Let's go in one car." *laughs*

Jason picked car number three for the day. A Pearl White Honda Freed with the registration, WTW 5000. Yup, white! We got one with the Modulo kit on it which consists of a spoiler, door visors and fog lights for extra styling.

After checking out the 'Compact Premium MPV' for a bit, I got inside and sat next to Becky. Up front first in the drivers seat was Jason and his co driver, Lim Ee Van. (It was very nice to meet you Ee Van) I pulled the door handle and the automatic sliding door slid comfortably into place. Both the rear passenger doors were automatic sliding doors! Sweet!

All 8 vehicles were equipped with walkie-talkies, Polaroid camera, food, drinks and a Touch n Go card for the journey. The Polaroid cameras were for the participants to take pictures to express the “Ideas” portion of the Freed tagline and later judged by everyone for the best photo in which prizes will be given away for.

Flagged off by Mr. Toru Takahashi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer and Monique Low, Head of Public Relations of Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

And off we went...

I slid the right arm rest down and snuggled into the rear seat, reached over to pull down the left arm rest only to realize that there wasn't one! Weird, I thought to myself.

Sitting in the rear, I was surprised to find that space was pretty ample and there was enough legroom. The Honda Feed doesn't look overwhelming from the outside but inside, plenty of headroom. As I rubbed my seat to get a feel of the material, my hand ran over the cloth like fabric which in my opinion felt a bit tacky. Isn't this a Compact 'Premium' MPV?

The ride behind was surprisingly decent for a vehicle with such a high center of gravity. The Freed performed admirably against the bumps and potholes of our malaysian roads. In the corners, body roll was also very decent for such a high car. We were all constantly reminded by Harvinder over the walkies on key points to look out for while out on the drive. He also stressed that we were in a 'Compact Premium MPV' and not a sports car. *laughs*

Anyhow, we made our way to the first checkpoint, the Sri Kembangan Rest Area, where we would all switch drivers so everyone will get a turn at driving the Honda Freed.
Here, Rebecca got behind the wheel!

Becky was a little nervous behind the wheel and was very generous with the braking. I must say, the car stops well. *laughs*

Upon reaching our destination, the first thing I did was pop the hood. Inside, I found the tiny 1.5 I-VTEC engine. Although it might be ample for city driving, I still think it could use a bit more power. But that's just me. =P
I noticed while on the highways, the car seem to be a bit on the noisy side higher up in the rev range, but this is due to the fact it has a small engine. Keeping the car in its comfort rev range, the cabin is nice and quiet. No wind noise and no annoying sounds from Dunlops wrapping the 15 inch wheels.

Here's a shot Paul Tan of with Monique Low, Head of Public Relations of Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Harvinder Singh.

After a short briefing, we were given some time to take some pictures of the vehicle. This gave me some time to check out the styling of the Honda Freed.

Notice how they managed to blend the lines of automatic door rails to the tail lights.

From the side. It does look a tad odd in shape.

This is what their design is based on...

The front looks pretty good actually.

The rear.

On our way back, Ee Van took the wheel. I noticed how only behind the passenger seat was there a pocket to put your things in. Why wasn't there one behind the drivers seat? Strange...
Ee Van tried pushing the car to see how quick it will go. We only managed 140kmh. Our jerking back and fourth in the car pushed it to 143kmh. *laughs*

We stopped again and it was time for me to get behind the drivers seat. Seating position is comfortable. The gear shift is mounted high on the dash and is easy to reach. This leaves room between the driver and passenger, which is part of the walkthrough cabin they were talking about. In front of me, there was plenty of room to put stuff. Cup holders, glove box, compartments and the sort. The dash is a nice modern design all made in plastic. This again, removed the word 'Premium' from my mind.

Facing me was the Multi Layer Meter Cluster display. Nice I must say. Reminds me of a mini Stack meter there. *laughs*
The drive for me was not bad. Not bad at all. It's a lovely car for city driving. On the highways, overtaking can be a problem. I can't imagine going uphills... Gear changes are seamless.

We made our way back to SOULed OUT for a debriefing and lunch. Pictures taken with the Polaroid camera were labeled and put up to be judged.

Not before taking a group picture.

Becky did an awesome pose on the Honda Freed and that won our team a prize! We each got a nice Western Digital Hard Drive!

Sweet huh! The silver finishing will match my MacBook Pro!

Here's a shot from one of the Polaroids of me...

The Honda Freed costs RM112,980.00 OTR with insurance and if you want the Modulo kit thats another RM2,200.
Warranty is 3 years or 100,000km (whichever comes first) and 6 months free service or 10,000km (whichever comes first) is provided too.

I had a fantastic time and a wonderful experience. Thank you so much for inviting me Rebecca!

For more information and details on the Honda Freed, visit Honda Malaysia.

You can also check out ;
Jason Chan's post, 'TEST DRIVE REVIEW: The All New Honda Freed',
Lim Ee Van's post, 'The All New Honda FREED',
Jason Ong's post, 'Advertlets Day Out in the All New Honda FREED' for their take on the Honda Freed.


thenomadGourmand said...

Yes yes.. I luv testing BRAKES! ;p

UnkaLeong said...

LOL! Good review on the car. Surprisingly though, @wackybecky hardly steps on the brakes on her ride. Her motto, "speed up and drive over it oni :P"

Stupe said...

Unka - that only applies if the cars is hers...if not hers, she brakes, HARD!

Leo - you own a sports car...and luckily i pushed it to 140km/h...else, you might fall zzzz...

Leo said...

*laughs* Yeah you do! (^_^)

Really?! Maybe she was too excited that day!

Ermm, well, it's a long story. *laughs* but yes, I tinker with a lot of exotics. =P

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