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 a class-clobbering 340 Nm of torque, the acclaimed 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.
Honda has a long history of involvement with the compact MPV – beginning with the Civic Shuttle in the mid eighties, before the market segment was defined. Of late however, the sector has shown exceptional growth with annual sales currently around 192,000 units, or more than 7.5% of the total UK market - with Britain the third biggest C-MPV market in Europe. Further strong growth is forecast, as MPVs generally are on their way to becoming the standard for family cars.
FR-V sales have been brisk during the first three months of this year, following the model’s November 2004 launch. Currently it is the best selling 6-seater and lies sixth in segment, ahead of petrol versions of the VW Touran. Honda estimates total annual sales of around 6,000 units per annum, with the diesels accounting for 58% of the mix.