From the good old days when 20 passengers stuffed tight into the boxy looking Mahindra UV was a common sight in rural India to the sturdy, reliable and comfortable Toyota Innova becoming a rage, the Indian UV market has come a long way. User expectations have spiraled through the roof, and new products such as the Mahindra Xylo and Maruti Suzuki Ertiga have tried their bit to offer comfort and sophistication without breaching the sensibilities of an extremely price conscious and VFM driven audience. The Ertiga, of the two models mentioned above also met with good success, creating a unique niche for itself, and drawing customers from other segments as well in the process.
Building on the evolving MPV segment, Honda Mobilio, the latest MPV offering from Honda, aspires to take the game to the next level. Bringing in Honda’s globally renowned styling, packaging and engineering values into one neat and frugal package, designed keeping the requirements of the Asian market in mind, the Mobilio may bring in a whole new bunch of customers into this segment. We drove the delightfully styled and exceedingly well packaged new MPV from Honda on the inviting roads around Nashik. Here’s all you need to know about this bright new people mover
Design and Styling
The Mobilio is based on the Brio/Amaze platform, and glaring visual similarities between the products are quite evident – especially at the front. Even with all the similarities, however, the products are technically very different. The wheelbase on the Mobilio, for example, has been extended to make space for seven adults. The front track of the Mobilio is narrower, while the rear track is wider as compared with the Amaze. The increased length of the car along with a totally different body type front door onwards presented a challenge to the Honda designers. After having a good look at the car, we have to say that they dealt with the predicament rather well.
Up front, the nose of the car is quite similar to that of the Brio/Amaze. While the shape of the bonnet and headlamps remains the same, the bumper, the grille and the associated details have been given a thorough makeover to lend the Mobilio an identity of its own. The big, bold grille, drenched in chrome seems to have been taken from the more premium Honda City. The chin of the car looks very different from the Amaze, thanks to the black treatment of the central air dam and the elliptical fog lamps. The honeycomb mesh effect surrounding the fog lamps adds a dash of sportiness to the face of this smart MPV. The angular, flared out lower flanks of the bumper are also more aggressively designed than the Amaze, and work well towards offsetting the people mover image over the car and lending it an air of athleticism.
In profile, the big new 15 inch wheels help distract the eyes from the unusual length of the car. While the styling is similar to that of the Brio / Amaze till the B-pillar, aft-that, the designers at Honda have given the surface a fresh new twist in profile. The ascending window sill takes a momentary drop post the B-pillar before starting its ascent again and ending its journey above the tail-lamps. Not only is that an aberration from the regulation shoulder-lines, it’s also a very functional detail – maximizing the glasshouse area and augmenting the feeling of space and airiness for the second row occupants.
The quarter panel on the front window is blacked out and features three ribs as a styling element. The B and C pillars are blacked out, but the upper part of the window rims is finished in body color. Another delightful design details is the glass panel of the fixed third window which extends and wraps itself around the D-pillar, making for a floating roof effect – a unique and charming detail for the segment.
The second door has a mild crease passing through the handles and merging into the curve of the car’s haunches. The side skirt below the door sills also extends out with a sharp crease towards the rear wheel breaking away from the drab template of an MUV and carrying on with the athletic demeanor of the front end.
At the rear, when looked at straight-on, the Mobilio gives away its tall dimensions and relatively narrow track. To offset the tallish rear view, however, Honda have included plenty of horizontal elements in the rear design. To start with, the roof spoiler adds some meat to the view, and adds some mass to what in its absence would have been a flimsy, basic roofline. The overall look of the rear is more angular than organic with plenty of wide, horizontal elements.
The Honda City-esque tail lamps are horizontally aligned too, and are connected by a wide, straight panel with a sharp crease, and holding the Honda emblem in the center. The shape of the registration plate recess too is also very angular
The low loading lip of the boot has sportily styled and connected honeycomb mesh inserts flanking it with slim, wide horizontal reflectors within. The lower portion of the bumper too has extensions with sharp creases to maintain the sporty theme from the front end.
Overall, the Mobilio looks like a well designed and well finished product in the flesh –more so since it represents a segment which has been perceived traditionally as dull and boring. The Mobilio’s design, with its deviation from the norm and pleasant details in certain places, manages to delight. The car looks very nice when looked at from the front or rear three quarters. The length of the car is more evident in profile, but Honda have done a good job of offsetting it by introducing unusual elements and adding a zing of sportiness to the overall package. The Mobilio by virtue of its cool exterior and spacious interior should appeal a lot not just to the traditional MPV segment buyer, but should make many a sedan buyer pause and give this body type a thought.