Honda Mobilio Long Term Review
Long Term Test No. 73
Car Tested: Honda Mobilio i-DTEC
Kms Done: 2548 kms
Test Started at: 5899 kms
Test Concluded at: 8447 kms
Mileage: 15.12 km/l, 17.10 km/l (best), 13.45 km/l (worst)
Fuel Consumed: 145 litres
Fuel Cost: Rs. 7236/-
Rs. per km: Rs. 2.83/-
The Honda Mobilio is a very practical MPV that doesn’t feel like a conventional MPV while driving
In India, people have mixed perception of MPVs. Some think that MPVs are practical, spacious and convenient to carry luggage with relatively more passengers at the same time. However, there are many who feel that MPVs are boring, boxy and ugly that are meant only for the commercial fleet. Well, the other day I got a call from the Chief Editor saying that I’ll be getting an MPV for the next few months for my long term review. I didn’t get sleep for the next two days until our Deputy Editor told me that it’s the Honda Mobilio. So here’s all that I experienced right from my dilemma of having a long term MPV, to saying goodbye to the Honda Mobilio after living with it for quite some time.
First things first, why was I feeling uneasy after being told that I’ll get an MPV? Frankly, I’m also amongst those who are averse to MPVs. No matter how modern and tech-laden an MPV is, I simply don’t find this body style convincing. Now why did I feel relieved after realising that I’ll be getting a Honda Mobilio? The styling and appearance. The Mobilio is quite an off-beat looking MPV and you won’t feel uneasy when people find you behind the wheel of this utility vehicle. The front looks quite familiar to its younger siblings but it doesn’t look boxy and has a smart rear design.
There are no bland looking angles thanks to the well proportioned design and if you prefer more bling, take a look at the Mobilio RS with the sporty body kit. It gets projector headlamps, revised grille, shiny diamond cut alloy wheels, sporty bumpers, chunky spoiler and side skirts. The RS edition just transforms the image of the Mobilio and the additional chrome used on the MPV looks tastefully done. It is generally called a compact MPV but the Mobilio isn’t actually small in size, it is quite long. While it is easy to manoeuvre in traffic, one has to keep the 4386 mm length in mind while parking. It has a big turning radius of 5.4 metres, same as the Tata Safari Storme that is good for the huge SUV but not so convenient for a compact MPV like the Mobilio. However, the huge screen with rear parking camera display having 3 angle modes make it a breeze to reverse the 7-seater but again there are no parking sensors.
Now some things inside the cabin don’t really match up to the stylish exteriors. The same Brio family dashboard has been carried forward with a basic yet asymmetric design. The faux wood panel looks like an aftermarket job, which could have been much better in gloss black finish. The only beige panel on the black dashboard is the glovebox lid, which doesn’t look like a perfect fit since there is a huge gap in its closing. Open the glovebox and you’ll find ample space to store your essentials but wait, there is a tacky cable jutting out. It is the USB, AUX and iPod input cable since there is no provision on the centre console.
Most of the elements are directly carried forward from its younger siblings and at this price point, which is similar to the City, you expect more. The driver side power window gets auto down but no auto-up and there is no lane changing indicator either, both of these features are available in the city. The fit and finish in some areas is average such as the inside rearview mirror that vibrates on rough roads and even when the bass drops. The middle row seats squeak a bit when the car goes over speed breakers and undulations. The roof isn’t well insulated since the cabin gets quite noisy when it rains.
There are some nifty features to appreciate in the Honda Mobilio as well. The sun visors are huge in size and both the passenger and driver sun visors get integrated vanity mirrors. The MID displays ODO meter, trip meters, distance to empty, current mileage, etc. but the best part is that it automatically resets the average fuel consumption meter when you refuel the car. Hence it shows the accurate fuel efficiency reading, which was very close to our tank-to-tank testing method. There is no automatic climate control system but the AC chills the cabin quickly. There are dedicated roof mounted AC vents for the rear passengers, which is quite effective too. Honda provides a touchscreen system on the range topping variants, which is sizeable and very convenient to use. The touch takes a while getting used to and there is a slight reflection in daylight. Having said that, the interface is simple, Bluetooth connectivity is seamless and the navigation system is a big boon. It streams music from your phone, which you can control from the steering mounted buttons. It also syncs contacts and the call quality is great as well.
The Honda Mobilio can seat seven adults with ease having excellent space, an airy feel and flexibility
The driver gets height adjustable seat and the driving position is commanding, visibility all around is great and the controls fall within your reach, which makes it a very easy to drive vehicle. The seats are supportive for long distances but while driving for long you feel the need of a front arm rest. The footwell is spacious but a dead pedal is missing. The rear is very well spaced out and has enough room for three abreast since legroom is ample and the floor is flat. The middle row can slide forward/backward to make space for third row passengers and it’s reclinable as well. The windows at the rear don’t go all the way down. The third row is quite manageable for adults since there is good legroom but under-thigh support is a compromise. You can store soft bags with all seats up but fold the third row flat and you get huge cargo space.
Our long term tester comes with the 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine churning out 100 PS and 200 Nm. This new oil burner from Honda has been derived from the 1.6-litre diesel sold internationally. Under the ‘Earth Dreams Technology’ they are focussing heavily on fuel efficiency with the light aluminium block having lightweight crankshaft and pistons. The extensive use of aluminium results in loud diesel clatter on the outside but on the inside the Mobilio is the quietest out of the Brio family. It gets loud at higher RPMs though and when the AC and audio system is off, then it is quite prominent at lower RPMs as well. There are some vibrations as well while cranking the engine and shutting it off.
Honda Mobilio Cost Of Service
* Engine Oil – Rs. 495/-
* Oil Filter – Rs. 395/-
* Air Filter – Rs. 295/-
* Fuel Filter – Rs. 1320/-
* Brake Fluid – Rs. 644/-
* Transmission Fluid – Rs. 370/-
* Engine Coolant – Rs. 314/-
* Brake Pads (front) – Rs. 3299/-
* Brake Shoes (rear) – Rs. 1103/-
* Front Bumper – Rs. 2700/-
* Rear Bumper – Rs. 4003/-
* Headlamp Assembly – Rs. 3021/-
* Tail Lamp Assembly – Rs. 2258/-
The engine feels better suited for city drivability since there is minimal lag and the acceleration is linear. There is no sudden pull of torque in the mid-range like the Amaze because of the weight but the engine is progressive from 1800 RPM until a shade above 3000 RPM. It is a calm highway cruiser but overtaking needs some effort. The throttle response isn’t instant and crisp, you have to work the accelerator to get going. The 5-speed manual gearbox is slick and provides a reassuring feedback without any notchiness but you feel the need of a sixth gear on the highways. The top speed is limited to 149 km/hr, where the engine runs at 3500 RPM in fifth gear.
Considering the size and seating capacity, the Mobilio is quite frugal
The Mobilio has managed to return a max fuel efficiency of 17 km/l on the highways with full load and AC. While keeping the engine on the boil, it has also returned as low as 13 km/l but on an average we got a decent 15 km/l, which is enough for a seven seater I believe. The Mobilio has that kind of a suspension which feels a bit stiff at low speeds but then offers flat ride quality as you gain speed. The car just skips rough roads and undulations at high speeds and helps you maintain the momentum without letting you slow down for negligible bumps and potholes.
The well calibrated steering wheel makes you feel connected to the road with its instant response to inputs. It isn’t too light at low speeds and provides confidence inspiring weight with highway speeds. The very well controlled body roll is a blessing for this MPV as the passengers don’t get tossed around while cornering. In monsoon conditions I felt the need of more grip and wider section tyres because the 185/65 rubber was squealing with hard cornering. Braking performance is car-like as well, minimal nose-dive and instant response. The brake pedal offers fantastic initial bite but if the car is loaded with passengers and luggage, the ABS kicks in early while braking hard.
I’ve been using the Mobilio in many situations – being late for press conferences, multiple visits to the Buddh International Circuit (50 kms from home) for events, frequent airport runs carrying luggage and for shoots with our equipment and team members. The Mobilio has never disappointed in any situation and is literally a multi-purpose vehicle, which you can drive alone with ease, travel out with family or use it to lug around cargo. Considering the price range it is offered at, there are certain features missing in the vehicle and it is a tad basic when it comes to the interior styling. However, if you can prevail over these negligible elements, the Honda Mobilio is the ideal MPV to buy and it doesn’t give you that feeling of driving a van or a utility vehicle.
If the Indian car market gets more MPVs like the Honda Mobilio with slightly upmarket interiors and features loaded to the brim, the segment can become exciting for private car buyers. The Mobilio is a right step forward to tap the audience looking for MPVs for personal use. At this price point though, the Mobilio leaves you asking for more.
* The Honda Mobilio is a neat looking MPV with a clear design
* Well spaced out interiors have enough room for all three rows
* The diesel engine is tractable for city usage
* Balanced driving dynamics makes it an easy and comfortable MPV to drive
What’s Not So Cool
* Basic dashboard design and limited list of features at this price point
* The i-DTEC mill lacks highway punch
Further Reading –
Honda Mobilio Long Term Review – Initial Report
In The Wild With Honda’s Mobilio RS – Coimbatore To Bangalore
Honda Mobilio Test Drive Review
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga vs Honda Mobilio – Shootout
Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta