Honda Mobilio Test Drive Review

The Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) space has been one of the untapped potential segments that recently opened new possibilities for several automakers. After Maruti’s Ertiga made a very successful debut as an affordable MPV in this space; it is now time for another Japanese automaker to venture into the hotly contested segment. Honda Cars India will be launching its first MPV the Mobilio in the country in a few days from now, which is certainly one of the most anticipated launches this year.

With the much awaited Mobilio all set to rule the Indian MPV segment, we compare the mid-sized MPV to rivals like the Maruti Ertiga, Toyota Innova, Chevrolet Enjoy, Nissan Evalia and the Mahindra Xylo in the segment to see if it is worth all the hype.

1) Styling – The Honda Mobilio is the newest of the lot and the styling too is fresh. The car retains the familiar Brio front fascia, but has a lot more chrome induced; while the rear taking inspiration from the City looks very premium. The Mobilio certainly has presence on the road and manages to stand-out compared to the competition. The Maruti Ertiga on the other hand has aged mildly, but still looks pleasing and gets the job done. The Innova recently underwent a facelift this year keeping the MPV young; while the Evalia is sober to look at, but can be mundane. The least uninspiring however is the Chevrolet Enjoy in terms of styling and even makes the Mahindra Xylo look quite suave in comparison.

2) Space – Spaciousness is a primary criterion in this segment and the overall dimensions and seat comfort matter a lot for buyers. All vehicles in this segment come with a 2+3+3 seating layout as standard; but, while the Xylo has the longest wheelbase (2760 mm) and can be availed as even a 9-seater, it is the Innova with a tad bit smaller wheelbase (2750 mm) that offers most comfort. The Mobilio on the other hand actually has the smallest wheelbase in the segment, but owing to Honda’s man maximum philosophy, the cabin is rather spacious with ample legroom even for tall passengers in the third row. It does lack under thigh support though.

The same applies for the Enjoy as well. The second and third rows offer good knee room, but lack under thigh support to an extent. The cabin however is big and airy, courtesy of the large windows at the rear. The Evalia also happens to be very spacious, especially in the second and third rows. The tall stance of the MPV helps in improved headroom; however, the small windows do not make the rear space of the cabin a pleasant place to be in. Claustrophobics might want to stay away.

3) Powertrain – Starting with the petrol powered models, the Innova comes with the biggest and most powerful 2.0-litre unit producing 132 PS and 181 Nm. The Mobilio is competitively powered by the 1.5-litre motor producing 119 PS and 145 Nm, whereas the low selling Enjoy trails behind with a 1.4-litre unit producing 100 PS. The very popular Ertiga happens to be the least powered in the segment with the 1.4-litre engine producing only 95 PS and 130 Nm.

Despite the Innova being the most powerful, it also happens to be very heavy due to the ladder on frame body, while the Mobilio based on a monocoque chassis weighs significantly lesser. This not only improves throttle response, but also makes for better dynamics and lesser running costs. All models are paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox.

In terms of diesel power, the Innova and Mobilio are evenly matched producing 100 PS of power (102 PS in the Toyota) and 200 Nm of torque. What differentiates both the models is the engine capacity. The Innova uses a 2.5-litre D4-D unit, whereas the Mobilio uses a 1.5-litre i-DTEC motor under the hood. The Enjoy and the Ertiga share the same 1.3-litre engine, but are offered in different states of tune – 75 PS and 90 PS respectively. Apart from the Mobilio, the Evalia also comes with a 1.5-litre dCi unit that produces a reasonable 86 PS, whereas the Xylo is the most powerful of the lot with 120 PS of power coming from its 2.2-litre motor.

4) Fuel Efficiency – Winning by a huge margin against its rivals, the Honda Mobilio is the most fuel efficient vehicle in the segment with the diesel motor returning 24.2 km/l. The well engineered Ertiga happens to be the only model to come closer to that number, but is still a distant second returning 20.77 km/l. The Evalia’s efficiency of 19.3 km/l pleasingly makes up for its lack of power, while the least powered Enjoy returns a reasonable 18.2 km/l. The Xylo though being the most powerful offers a mileage of 14.02 km/l; but it is the Innova that disappoints returning a mileage of 13 km/l.

With respect to petrol powered models, the Mobilio once again is the most efficient in the segment returning 17.3 km/l, while the Ertiga trails behind with a fuel efficiency of 16.02 km/l. The Enjoy comes in a far third with a mileage of 13.7 km/l, but it is the Innova that is heavier on the pocket once again with the lowest mileage of 12.50 km/l.

5) Price – The Ertiga makes a compelling case for itself with a very aggressive price tag starting at Rs. 5.80 lakhs for a 7-seater. Taking a note from this, the Mobilio is expected to be competitively priced at Rs. 6.5 lakhs for the base petrol variant and will be positioned between the Ertiga and Innova. The Xylo and Evalia (Rs. 7.83 and Rs. 8.5 lakhs) on the other hand seem over priced in comparison, whereas the Enjoy is the least expensive 7-seater with a starting price of Rs. 5.74 lakhs in the segment. The Innova comes in as the most expensive, but also offers better space, comfort and overall quality, compared to rivals.

Verdict – So will the Mobilio be able to cut across the competition? Well, certainly yes! The Honda MPV ticks all the right boxes with spacious interiors, frugal engines, premium looking cabin and impressive styling. Moreover, the ‘big H’ in front induces a lot of brand value into the MPV. The Mobilio can easily lead the race here, if priced right at the estimated Rs. 6.5 lakhs and can take the fight to the competition.

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