THE HONDA FR-V
Honda's new compact MPV contender matches a 3 + 3 seating configuration with intelligent packaging and seat conversion mechanisms, to provide accommodation for six and their luggage.
Versatility is provided by a multifunctional, sliding front centre seat, sliding rear centre seat and dive-down rear seats that can be folded flat into the floor with minimal effort. The 3 + 3 layout with six individual seats, permits numerous passenger and load carrying combinations, and lends itself to easy passenger interaction and in particular parent-child communication.
Three abreast seating
Based on the CR-V platform, but with a longer wheelbase, the FR-V has been designed to offer a spacious interior on a par with D-segment saloons. The cabin architecture is such that three adults can sit in front comfortably in a V-shaped arrangement, while allowing the driver sufficient space to operate all controls without hindrance.
The almost class average body width provides a cabin that is 1380 mm wide. At the same time, front seat dimensions have been carefully tailored to ensure high levels of comfort while still permitting three seats to be accommodated. So while their overall widths are almost the average generally, seating width is nevertheless comparable in each of the three seats provided, achieved through a more compact frame structure containing additional support material. Tall seatbacks and long seat bases ensure excellent support for both backs and legs.
A best-in-class tandem distance of 1005 mm (ie the distance between the front and rear passenger hip points) also ensures excellent leg room, further helped by a flat floor without tunnel intrusion.
Sliding centre seats the front can be moved up to 270 mm beyond (40 mm more than the front outer seats sliding length of 230 mm) in seven steps notched positions, the rear up to 170 mm beyond the rear outer seats in three steps notched positions and provide passengers with the opportunity to maximise shoulder and leg room. Reclining rear seats (two steps) further enhance comfort.
Multifunctional front seat converts into table, acts as storage
The multifunctional front centre seat also features a seatback that can be folded forward to form a comfortable armrest or table, a recessed tray adding to its functionality. In this position, it also allows long loads to be carried. Further versatility comes from a split seat squab, the front half of which flips through 180 degrees to reveal secure storage beneath for small valuables and, on its surface a further recessed tray. A pull out storage tray is located beneath the seat.
Dive-down rear seats can be collapsed with minimal effort
Expanding the luggage area requires only three steps: making sure the front centre seat is slid forward (step one), pushing down the rear seat headrests (step two) and collapsing the 'dive-down' style second row seats by means of a catch on each seat back (step three). The seats completely disappear to create a flat load floor.
The boot has good practical dimensions and a tailgate aperture that is almost square in shape. Luggage capacity is a competitive 439 litres (VDA) to the window line, rising to 1049 litres (VDA) with the second row seats folded and up to 1600 l with the second row seats folded down and measurement to the roof. Maximum luggage area dimensions (with the second row folded) are a very competitive 1530 mm long by 1100 mm wide, with 2400 mm load-through available if the front centre seat is folded, for particularly long items. Boot dimensions (with second row seats in place) are 857 mm long by 1100 mm wide. A space saver spare wheel is located under the boot floor.
Among the benefits of the FR-V's interior are:
Safety of paramount importance
Across the range, the FR-V features dual stage front airbags; side airbags for front seat occupants; full length curtain airbags; and three point seatbelts on all six seats, with pretensioners and load limiters in the front, those for the driver being dual stage. To ensure occupants in both the front outer and front centre seats are equally well protected, the extra large, 133 litre passenger airbag opens to a width of 860 mm. The front centre seatbelt is built into the seat, while that of the rear centre seat has a twin buckle and retracts into the roof.
Acknowledging that children will be sitting in both front and rear, ISOFIX fittings are included on the front centre seat as well as the two rear outer seats for the safe securing of child seats. Each also has a tether anchor point in the base of the seat back. Where small children are placed in the front centre seat, Honda recommends that it is moved to its rearmost position.
Stylish cMPV contender
Honda opted to move away from the utilitarian styling norm of the sector, and the FR-V's tapering, arrow-like nose, upwards sweeping waistline and sloping tailgate, combined with its wide, planted stance help to create a sporty dynamic, design. 4285 mm long, 1810 mm wide and with a wheelbase of 2680 mm, its dimensions are close to the sector average. However, at 1610 mm tall, its height is below the average.
Inside, Honda has set out to create a high quality interior on a par with premium D-segment saloons by ensuring good fit and finish and careful selection of materials and colours. In particular, the fascia presents a modern, high-tech appearance, with a centre section housing the fully integrated audio system providing a strong visual focus.
The driver enjoys good all round visibility, and a steering wheel adjustable for reach and rake, and a height adjustable seat allow an optimum driving position to be selected. The main instruments appear as a darkened panel with the ignition switched off, transforming to a bright display when the key is inserted. The gearshift is mounted on the fascia alongside the steering wheel and falls easily to hand.
As well as the storage tray and storage compartment contained within the front centre seat, plenty of space for odds and ends is provided throughout the cabin: a large glovebox, large door bins those in the rear shaped to accommodate large drinks bottles, a covered cubby hole in the central fascia, a fold down coin holder alongside the steering column and a pull out three-capacity cup holder in the lower fascia.
A neat touch is the provision of a sun visor, footrest and dedicated air vent and heater outlet for the front centre seat passenger.
Powerful petrol and diesel engine line-up
FR-V is launched with a choice of two petrol engines: a 1.7 SOHC VTEC and a 2.0 DOHC i-VTEC.
The 1.7 litre engine's peak torque of 154 Nm delivered at 4,800 rpm provides excellent flexibility during everyday driving, while boosting fuel economy. The particularly flat torque curve ensures that the 1.7 litre FR-V pulls strongly across the rev range, particularly between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, for effortless performance. Maximum output of the 1.7 SOHC VTEC unit is 125 PS (92 kW) at 6,300 rpm. It is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The 2.0 litre engine combines VTEC with Variable Timing Control (VTC) to match outstanding fuel economy and cleaner emissions with high output and strong torque in all speed ranges. It is mated to a six-speed manual transmission which, with its overdrive top gear, delivers superior high speed cruising and fuel economy. Peak torque is 192 Nm at 4,000 rpm, but even by 3,000 rpm the engine is generating 188 Nm.
Salient features of i-VTEC are:
In 2005, the two petrol engines will be joined by Honda's innovative 2.2 litre diesel engine that made its debut in the latest Accord range. The 2204 cc, all-aluminium engine delivers 140 PS at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 340 Nm at just 2,000 rpm. Key features of the 4-cylinder unit are DOHC, four valves per cylinder, balancer shaft, second generation common rail direct injection, and variable nozzle turbocharger with intercooler.
All three engines surpass Euro IV requirements.
Supple ride, minimal body roll
Honda's chassis engineers set out to overcome the inherent high roll characteristics of cMPVs, while simultaneously ensuring good ride comfort, allied to surefooted handling and good steering response.
Although a number of chassis components are unique to FR-V, the overall layout is very similar to the suspension arrangement of CR-V. That means the toe control link MacPherson strut design at the front in conjunction with a high-mounted steering rack, and reactive link double wishbone at the rear, both of which provide significant packaging benefits.
Like CR-V, the FR-V's steering rack features a centre take off which means the track rods are substantially increased in length to provide improved toe control. Over the vertical travel of the wheel the toe characteristics are more like those of a double wishbone arrangement, moving from slight toe-out at full bump to slight toe-in at full rebound.
The compact reactive link double wishbone rear suspension features a rear mounted toe control arm that flexes backwards under braking. The slight movement of the suspension to the rear in turn acts on the compliance bushes that locate the lower wishbone to the chassis and their compliance in a diagonal direction pulls the trailing arm into a toe-in direction.
Further fine tuning of the FR-V's suspension and in particular more compliant toe control arm bushes front and rear, provides greater passive steering effect and excellent stability during high speed cornering. However, steering remains uncompromised at mid to low speeds, with sharp, but stable cornering characteristics.
Since the higher centre of gravity of MPVs can often lead to excessive body roll and discomfort for passengers, good ride comfort was made a priority. The FR-V's wide track (1550 mm front, 1560 mm rear) plays a key part in this, since the wider the track relative to the same centre of gravity, the greater the roll stiffness of the car. This in turn has permitted the use of softer springs for improved ride comfort.
Furthermore, the suspension geometry has been designed to optimise the position of the roll centre axis, moving it closer to the centre of gravity. The result is a more stable, flat ride with minimal body roll.
In addition, body pitching has been minimised through optimised anti-dive and anti-lift angles, achieved through raised installation points of the front and rear suspension arms.
FR-V 2.0 and 2.2 litre models are equipped with Honda's own 4-channel Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system.
All models are equipped with ABS, Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and brake assist system for emergency braking. Braking is by ventilated discs at the front and solid discs at the rear.
While wider than the average C-segment car, FR-V's manoeuvrability isn't compromised, and the turning radius at 5.2 m is one of the best in class.
1.7 litre models are fitted with 195/65R15 tyres on 6.0 JJ x 15 steel wheels, while 2.0 litre and 2.2 litre models are equipped with 6.5JJ x 16 inch wheels alloy on Executive models shod with 205/55R16 tyres.
Bore x stroke (mm)
Max. power kW/PS
Max. torque Nm
75 x 94.4
86 x 86
85 x 97.1
Unleaded 95 Ron
Unleaded 95 Ron
Toe control link MacPherson strut, coil spring, gas pressurised shock absorber, anti-roll bar
Reactive link double wishbone, coil spring, gas pressurised shock absorber, anti-roll bar
WHEELS AND TYRES
15 x 6.0 JJ
16 x 6.5 JJ
16 x 6.5JJ
Overall length (mm)
Overall width (mm)
Overall height (mm)
Front track (mm)
Rear track (mm)
Ground clearance (mm)
Luggage space VDA (ltr)
Kerb weight (kg)
Max permitted weight (kg)
Fuel tank (litres)
439 - 1049
Max speed (km/h)
Acceleration 0-100 km/h
FUEL CONSUMPTION (1999/100/EC)
Information correct at time of going to press
N.A. Not available at time of printing
N.B: Specifications may vary from one country to another. For more details, please contact your local PR office.