In Japanese Bondage: The Honda Freed Hybrid and the Mazda MPV | The Truth About Cars

10 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on In Japanese Bondage: The Honda Freed Hybrid and the Mazda MPV | The Truth About Cars
Mazda MPV

In Japanese Bondage: The Honda Hybrid and the Mazda MPV

Yesterday, I a look at the Mitsubishi Delica Gear and the Toyota Hi-Ace, the queens#8221; of the Japanese market. I decided to look at the odd men out, so to those mini-vans that hit the spot in the market and offer seats in a small or mid-sized Sticking with that theme, both of these are available outside of the United so, sorry, you can#8217;t get them

But it#8217;s fun to see how other people so let#8217;s take a look.

As my family has grown in size and over the past few years, my have been absolutely When we lived in Japan we saw one frequently and even today, we are half a world away, my and her parents Skype at least a week and we are blessed with presence in our home usually two or times per year. Last we decided to bless their with our presence and the whole clan picked up and headed the Pacific.

In preparation for our arrival, my ran out and purchased a new seven seater and with an eye towards the fact most of those seats be empty most of the time, went small and they hybrid.

The Honda Freed is a seven seater” with side doors that is in size and function to the Mazda 5 we get In person it bears a striking to the most recent incarnation of the Fit, with a steeply nose, a long curving and a rectangular back half ends so abruptly it looks it was cut with a knife. As a Star nerd, the little Freed me very much of one of the small used in The Next Generation the outside and on the inside, if it is not overly it is at least futuristic.

The Freed offers three of seating with each of the two rows slightly elevated in a way makes the vehicle’s cabin to have stadium seating. The row is even with the rear and my guess is that this was necessary to fit atop them, but the is generally nice and gives the passengers a chance to look the front seats and catch a out the windshield.

I understand that are second row captain’s chairs if they can be called that, but my car was outfitted with a three bench seat. The back row is and only offers space for Because the rear seat is so far there is no additional cargo and no place for a fold-flat seats. To space for cargo, the rear is split in two allowing each can be folded and then swing up a position where they the rear quarter windows.

I don#8217;t like this

I don’t spend a lot of time in these days so stop me if you familiar with the two level the Freed mounts. It is an odd looking at first, but it fits in well the car’s overall styling. The top of the incorporates the instrument bezel and a for the car’s navigation system beneath its rounded leading a second almost flat comes out and provides space for the controls and the gear shift.

It is, I a little odd but quite refreshing that the alternative would simply been a flat with a glove box.

I had the opportunity to ride in the Freed on the where it seemed to do just I did not get to take the wheel until we safe at home in Kyoto and my trips were mostly to the local area. Around it was a competent little car that the city streets well and without any kind of drama I hit the gas. All in all, not bad.

But not all of the hybrid systems were so In order to save gas, at stoplights the engine would itself off if I held my foot on the too long and, of course, the engine turned off so did the air conditioning. a problem on a hot summer day so I began to use the brake to hold my position in to keep the engine running and the air pumping.

Not horrible, but annoying. The “eco” effect I noticed was how the car while coasting. It seemed to me whenever I took my foot off the gas car would begin to slow rapidly than a normal, car might and it the overall effect was the car seemed as though it was especially for some reason.

That the effect was predictable and never any issues while driving if I never quite acclimated to it

I generally liked the Freed enough but I think there are a lot of cars on the market I would go to before I actually purchased With four adults and children in the cabin, the little car was cramped and with all the seats in there was virtually no space for any of luggage. Even without the the car was still crowded with my and me up front, two kids in the middle and in the third row.

To facilitate a to the grocery store we would to fold up one of the rearmost seats, and I hate the way they fold up they block a window and a possible problem should somehow, say in the event of a side come loose and fall any body parts that end up in that space in an accident.

I like the idea of a smaller but I think we need to acknowledge larger families need size vehicles. In my in-law’s the Freed makes a great of sense as it offers good in a small, easy to drive while having the extra for those times my wife and decide to head home for the For daily use, however, the smallest I would be willing to buy for my own is another van we can’t get here in the the new Mazda MPV.

In the interest of full I want to start this of the article by stating right up that I owned a 2002 JDM MPV with the 2.3 liter 4 cylinder for the three years we lived in Prior to purchasing it, my wife and I some time in the then new 2006 MPV and I was quite taken by it.

It was experience that sent me to my Mazda dealer to seek out a version and it was my inner cheapskate caused me to end up purchasing a slightly 2002 for a fraction of the price the was fetching. Regardless of the fact the design was already #8220;day old I loved that van and sold it to when I left just so I see it when we go home.

It’s how the mind works, because I was in Japan my MPV seemed like a large, reasonably well vehicle. Back in the United however, I soon saw just how the MPV actually is when compared to vans and the especially so when to the even more giant that prowl this of the Pacific. Even so, the earlier of MPVs did well in the United but I will note that to satiate the American’s desire for of everything the smaller 4 cylinder was not here and only V6 MPVs sold on our shores.

Mazda MPV

The 2006 MPV I drove, and yes I know Mazda still sold in the USA in 2006 and so I want to stress that the US got the old version while the stopped selling that domestically in 2005, was a handsome, nosed, low profile vehicle appeared more like a station wagon than a mini-van. They came in two both 2.3 liter four one turbo charged, the other not and had any of features that were at the time but, as one commenter who in Hong Kong rather pointed out when I mentioned the JDM MPV in remarks a week or two ago, a lot of the more modern electronic and features found in many of the vans. Our Canadian enthusiasts, who rhapsodic about the previous four wheel drive will be thrilled to know the current redesign also both front and four drive versions.

As those of you who them in your cars know, the Mazda 2.3 liter is a running little engine does pretty well on the The extra weight of the MPV and a load of passengers does affect the however, and there are times I found myself working the harder than I would like. In general, it was serviceable on the but I would have enjoyed the turbo.

Around town, as with all Japanese minivans, the engine was than sufficient.

Inside, the MPV was a combination of #8220;get the job done#8221; and pure class. I liked the gear selector was not on the dash to the wheel but was located below it on a protruding console on the lower of the dash. Above that, the controls were prominent and and, topping the center and tucked neatly between a of vents, was the navigation/audio screen.

In of the driver, in a blatant display of Zoom-Zoom philosophy, back lit gauges included a large, to read tachometer alongside a speedometer. There are several options available and they run the totally practical cloth three row bench to the highest-end leather recliners you can get. is no doubt in my mind that the primary mission is to move in comfort and style and that which is still present to a fold-flat rear seat and the in the floor that swallowing seat necessitates, comes in a second.

On the road, the current MPV is not as to drive as many of the larger, JDM vans currently on the market. it is has a longer nose, the driver well behind the front and the overall driving dynamic is car-like. Also, thanks to a greenhouse, the windows too are slightly than the enormous ones on more typical high-end JDM movers like the Elgrand and the and that makes it slightly difficult to see out of.

Handling and the ride is and the driving experience is reminiscent of a full size luxury I like it.

The MPV is all about compromise unlike many compromises I been forced to make my life, the trade-offs made in its do not end up giving away all the good in of all the bad. The design offers seats and sliding doors the handling dynamics of a large It gives up overall height, is bad because it limits the driver’s but also good because it the sail area that most mini-vans skittering the freeway on gusty days.

It sits the driver further in the cabin than most which I think makes it difficult to drive in tight but gives an added sense of and control. I think the MPV would do on the American market and I would one in a heartbeat.

It’s a shame we get either of these wonderful movers stateside. They strike a perfect balance by big on the inside and small on the outside in doing so, are exactly what a is supposed to be. To wrap up, both of mighty minis are decent that would probably people into showrooms in the States, but only one, the MPV, would make my short of mini-vans.

If only they sold here. If only…

M Kreutzer currently lives in New York with his wife and children but has spent most of his life overseas. He has lived in for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner primarily in the Pacific. A long auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has his hobbies whenever possible.

He enjoys writing and public where, according to his wife, his subject is himself.

Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
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