The Honda Mobilio is the latest model to take center stage at the Japanese carmaker’s showrooms. And why wouldn’t it? For less than a million pesos, you’ve got a handsome, seven-seater MPV that is well built and offers pretty decent driving dynamics. It’s for the family man who wants the “H” badge, buts needs the extra space for the family and their gear.
But if you find the Mobilio just a bit too bland for your taste, then you might want to check out Honda’s other MPV offering, this time giving a bit more zing where it counts--the drive. We’re referring to the recently unveiled Honda Jade RS.
Set to go on sale in Japan by the end of this month, the Jade RS does look like your typical MPV from the outside. It’s low, just like a sedan, and compact for easy maneuverability in and around cramped urban areas. But just like its Mobilio sibling and the equally compact Stream MPV (on which it is based), it affords occupants loads of space inside. In this case, it seats seven in a five-plus-two seating configuration.
Look past the MPV profile, however, and you’ll see that the RS variant offers a few tasty bits befitting that two-letter designation. The mesh grille up front is a good start, along with the RS logo. The sporty look is emphasized by dark chrome trim pieces on the foglight bezels, door handles, and tailgate moldings.
That seven-seat cabin mentioned earlier is a mix of sporty and comfortable vibes. The comfort side comes from the spacious and versatile seating configuration and creature comfort features, as well as the materials used for various surfaces. The sporty side, meanwhile, is seen in the fabric and prime soft seating surfaces, the red stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters for the CVT automatic gearbox, and the sporty design of the accelerator and brake pedals.
The biggest treat that Jade RS owners will enjoy, though, is what lies under the hood. The Japanese automaker, known for making sporty vehicles, has equipped the latest Jade RS variant with a 1.5-liter VTEC turbo engine with direct injection technology. While no power and torque figures have been released yet, Honda does point out that the engine, with its small-diameter turbine and vaunted variable valve timing can dish out power and torque akin to that of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder motor. Moreover, fuel economy is rated at an average of 18km/L.
As if this engine wasn’t exciting enough (for an MPV), the Jade RS features a system called Agile Handling Assist that essentially improves handling and traction by making use of brake vectoring technology. In layman’s terms, it helps give you confidence by guiding you as you steer the vehicle in tricky conditions. Plus, the suspension has been made more rigid, as well as the chassis, thanks to a new tunnel brace fitted underneath the MPV.
If you want one, it helps if you’re a lucky resident of Japan. But hopefully, the folks over at Honda Cars Philippines will spring a surprise and treat us to the driving fun this MPV promises. That's assuming, of course, that the Jade is available as an LHD model.