It’s done wonders for the Accord and CR-V, and now comes the third application of Honda’s i-CTDi diesel engine: this time the FR-V 6-seater will be recipient to the 2.2 litre diesel made famous by that ‘hate something, change something’ TV commercial. Serving up 140PS with 340 Nm of torque, the 2.2 unit will perfectly complement the people and load-carrying strengths of Honda’s latest compact MPV.

From September this year, a pair of Honda FR-V diesel models will go on sale, in SE and Sport trim guises. Each will feature a 6-speed manual transmission, plus a list of standard equipment that includes remote central locking, front, side and curtain airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist, climate-controlled air conditioning, one-motion fold flat rear seats (with 33:33:33 split) and a stereo CD / RDS tuner.

Prices of the FR-V diesel models will be announced closer to the September launch, but expect a premium of around £1,500 relative to the equivalent 2.0 litre i-VTEC petrol models.

The ECO (Economy Cost Option) package will continue to be available for retail customers of FR-V diesel models. Offering servicing for 62,500 miles / five years and three years’ comprehensive insurance as a £1,630 prepaid package (both available separately), this has proved to be a popular option with existing FR-V customers. As part of a three year finance package, ECO represents an additional monthly payment of around £45 per month.

The 2204 cc, all-aluminium engine delivers 140 PS at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 340 Nm at just 2,000 rpm. It’s fuel efficient, refined to drive, quiet in operation, and produces low emissions. 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.

The engine surpasses Euro IV regulations, and delivers strong fuel economy, matched to leading performance figures thanks to the engine’s strong torque delivery.

Key technologies include optimum use of the combustion chamber, a continuously variable swirl control valve, a common rail system, variable nozzle turbocharger, water-cooled EGR and an electrically operated EGR valve. Achieving exceptional refinement, NV reduction technologies include offset cylinders, a second order balancer shaft and an acoustic engine cover, whilst friction is minimised through features such as roller follower rocker arms. Close coupled and under floor catalytic converters contribute to the low emissions performance.

The FR-V also breaks with the typically utilitarian look of the C-MPV segment, to offer sporty, dynamic styling. The trend for vehicles generally to become taller and shorter has made the appearance of MPVs all the more utilitarian.  The FR-V, in contrast, presents a wide, firmly planted stance. This is complemented by a design characterised by a dramatically sweeping nose and headlamps, a theme continued along the length of the body in the form of a steadily rising waistline. The result is a crouching form that delivers a sporty dynamic in marked contrast to the C-MPV norm.

By matching a 3 + 3 seating configuration with intelligent packaging and innovative seat conversion mechanisms, the
FR-V has the ability to carry up to six people whilst simultaneously offering good load volume. This contrasts with 7-seater competitors, the majority of which offer poor luggage capacity when all seats are occupied.

The multifunctional front centre seat can convert into a table or large armrest. Further versatility comes from a split seat squab, which reveals further storage areas.

Similarly, the dive-down rear seats can be collapsed with minimal effort. Unlike some of its competitors, opening up the total luggage area requires only three steps in total: no tricky double folding of seats is required, and neither do they need to be removed from the car and somewhere found to store them. What’s more, the seats just disappear into the floor to give a completely flat load floor.

Honda has carefully considered passenger safety and 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. To ensure occupants in both the front outer and front centre seats are equally well protected, the extra large passenger airbag opens to a width of 860 mm.

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 backs. Where small children are placed in the front centre seat, Honda recommends that it is moved to its rearmost position.

In establishing the FR-V’s ride and handling characteristics, Honda’s chassis engineers set out to overcome the inherent high roll characteristics of C-MPVs, whilst simultaneously ensuring good ride comfort, allied to surefooted handling and good steering response. The result is a relaxing drive with a supple, but flat ride, high stability during cornering and high speed cruising, and top of class ride comfort thanks to low rate springs.