Honda BR-V - First Look
Update: All the wait and the anticipation came to an end with Honda finally unveiling its debut compact SUV BR-V that is set to take on the likes of Renault Duster, Hyundai Creta, Ford Ecosport and Nissan Terrano in India. The compact SUV segment is already quite competitive but Honda BR-V with its stunning appearance and an impressive set of interior features, has the right ingredients to take its competitors on. With two engine variants of petrol and diesel, Honda BR-V holds an edge over other compact SUVs with a third foldable seat. Know more about this new Crossover revealed at Auto Expo.
The seven-seater Honda BRV is a very important product for the company in India. When launched, it will be the only 7-seater offering in the segment as Mobilio, on which it is largely based, hasn’t done well in terms of monthly sales. Honda needs a successful 7-seater vehicle in the Rs 8-12 segment and the BR-V promises to deliver where the Mobilio failed.
The BR-V is based on the same platform as the Brio, Amaze and the Mobilio. It may be referred to as a Mobilio on steroids but aesthetically, it looks different and pretty appealing. The upright and raised stance gives it a muscular look and Honda’s engineers have used clever bits to make it look like a cross-over, if not an SUV. Take for instance the raised ground clearance (over 200mm), matt black cladding all around and silver skid plates, all of which give it a purposeful stance. The front end has a lot of resemblance to the City in terms of the headlight and chrome grille design. The bumper design is radical by Honda standards and houses chromed fog lamp rings.
Side profile of the BR-V is where it reminds you of the Mobilio including the large windows which are so important for an airy cabin. Alloy wheels look stunning but the BR-V looks equally good from the back. The sharp tail lamps take centre stage and the unique horizontal tail-piece glass running across the width of the tail gate catches your fancy easily. Nice touch there Honda! The BR-V gets a silver skid plate at the back as well along with a built in spoiler.
Dimensionally, the BR-V is 57mm and 185mm longer than the Mobilio and Creta respectively. It has a width of 1735mm which is 52mm more than the Mobilio but 45mm lesser than the Creta. The BR-V sits tall on its toes which means it is 47mm and 20mm higher than the Mobilio and Creta respectively. In flesh, the Honda BRV SUV looks great and will be one of the better looking 7-seater options in the Rs 8-12 lac bracket.
Step inside and the interiors seem to be a mix of the Jazz and the City. The BR-V, thankfully, will not sport the same cabin design as the Mobilio and this is a welcome change. The car you see in the pictures was a pre-production prototype but yet overall fit and finish seemed very good. The three pod speedometer console looks good and will feature a comprehensive driver information display for fuel economy, outside temperature, odometer etc.
The seats, like most other Honda offerings, look slim but should be comfortable over long drives. Practically, the BR-V scores top markers with lot of cubby holes and large windows that aid visibility. Top variants will come with a touch-screen infotainment system along with a climate control system – the buttons work well and we love the little silver surrounds. This prototype didn’t have Bluetooth telephony controls on the steering but we expect the production version to have a different set-up.
The 2nd row of seats offers great legroom and headroom but shoulder space isn’t the best for three adults. That said, the seats offer a 60:40 split and can be folded away easily for access to the last row as well as for transporting larger quantities of luggage. Access to the last row isn’t too bad and it’s a usable place for shorter adults. Visibility remains good and passengers get their own cup holders and places to keep knick knacks. Finally, even with all the three rows in place, the BR-V offers decent amount of space for a couple of suit-cases.
The driving part – we got to sample the BR-V around a test track at Honda’s R&D facility in Japan. The driving stint was restricted to a couple of laps and we were offered only the petrol CVT model. The BR-V when launched in India, will also come with a 1.5-litre diesel engine, the same unit that powers the Amaze, Mobilio and the City. It will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission and will produce same power and torque as well. Expect it to offer approximately 25kmpl as per ARAI tests. We expect Honda to work hard on keeping the NVH levels low.
The petrol engine puts out 120PS of power and will be offered with a new 6-speed manual transmission (the City has a 5-speed) as well as a CVT transmission too, the one we drove. On our short spin, it was apparent that the BR-V pulled cleanly from a standstill and the engine was responsive when we needed to go fast. Steering feedback was great for a 7-seater though we were always aware of the bulk and length of the vehicle. Honda claims to have stiffened the suspension slightly though we would need to drive the car on Indian roads to pass any statement. The larger 16-inch wheels (the Mobilio wears 15-inchers) are a welcome change and the BR-V should be able to drive through countryside trails without any drama. It also sports better and bigger brakes as compared to the Mobilio. Expect the petrol BR-V to deliver around 12kmpl in real world conditions. But this engine is all about top-end punch and this is where the BR-V will smoke other 7-seaters easily.
The BR-V will go on sale early next year with prices starting at approximately Rs 7.3 lac for the petrol range and Rs 8.7 lac for the diesel versions, prices being ex-showroom Delhi. Honda is expected to offer the BR-V in E, S and V trim levels. There could be an optional pack with features like touch screen infotainment and GPS navigation. The BR-V doesn’t really have direct competition but will be compared with other cross-over and compact SUVs like the Maruti S-Cross, Renault Duster and Hyundai Creta.
Watch Showcase Video of Honda BR-V