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Honda Elevate Price will be announced in Festive season: Let’s have a look at Honda’s previous attempts at making SUVs

Modified On Sep 04, 2023 05:16 PM By Tarun for Honda WR-V

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Looking back at Honda India’s lineup since 1998, the immensely popular body style has rarely been offered by the carmaker

Update (04/09/23): Honda has announced the prices of the Elevate SUV.

Honda Elevate

Honda Elevate is the Japanese marque’s big step and long-awaited entry in the aggressive and competitive compact SUV space in India. It’s a brand new Honda nameplate that we are seeing for the first time since 2017. The Honda badge has long been seen as primarily a sedan brand with the likes of the City and Accord, maybe a hatchback one too, after the Brio and Jazz. However, it has not really been known for its SUVs since Honda never had many utility vehicles on sale in India over its stint of 25 years. 

That’s about to change with the carmaker announcing plans to launch five new SUVs by 2030. This shift starts with the freshly unveiled Elevate which is not just a new car for India, but a new global offering. While the model’s market entry is still some time away, prices are expected to be revealed this festive season. Let’s take a brief look at Honda’s past SUV offerings in the country: 

The First Honda SUV For India

Honda CR-V

Honda started its SUV stint with the second-generation CR-V in 2003. It was priced heftily, at around Rs 15 lakh, which made it strictly for the upper middle class or richer. 

The CR-V came with the same 2-litre petrol engine. Pedal to the metal and you could see it gulping down petrol like people drink cold water in summers. Back in 2003, SUVs were not nearly as popular as they are today; and coming from a mainstream brand, it surely caught some eyes. The CR-V was always seen as a luxury and reliable SUV and not as an off-roader, despite being offered with AWD. 

Towards the end of 2006 came the third generation of CR-V. Honda brought it to India shortly after its global unveiling, suggesting its popularity here. It was priced handsomely at around Rs 18 lakh (ex-showroom), which meant an on-road price above Rs 20 lakh. It was still a costly affair, but the CR-V was well-received and garnered decent sales given its segment and price tag. 

Honda CR-V

Interesting Fact - Several people might remember this version of the CR-V from the movie ‘Wake Up Sid’. 

The third-gen was on sale for six years, before being replaced by its next-gen successor in 2013. Now, this version of the CR-V looked bigger, more aggressive, and bulky. A diesel option was rumoured, but it remained a petrol-only offering with two engines on offer - 2-litre (MT only) and 2.4-litre (AT with 4WD only). It was always a feature-rich offering and this one was no different. Back in 2013, it got a touchscreen infotainment system, sunroof, dual-zone AC, rear camera, and six airbags. The CR-V was priced around Rs 24 lakh (ex-showroom). 

In 2018, we got our final taste of the Honda CR-V in the form of another facelift. This time it finally offered a highly fuel-efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine but at a time when it seemed like diesel engines were on their way out due to tougher emission regulations. 

Honda CR-V

Finally, after 17 years of being on sale, the nameplate was discontinued as Honda shut its premium lineup rolling out of the Greater Noida plant. The CR-V was getting outdated and costly and the sales numbers weren’t too great. 


Honda Mobilio

In 2016, Honda launched the BR-V, a.k.a ‘Bold Runabout Vehicle’. It was based on the Mobilio but was a brand new model and positioned as its SUV derivative. The BR-V was certainly more stylish and premium looking with a dash of cladding all around the bottom edge. However, it still looked very MPV-ish and wasn’t feature-rich compared to offerings in the budding compact SUV space like the Hyundai Creta. 

The same 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines of the Mobilio made its way here, and it thankfully got the choice of a petrol automatic. Over four years of being on sale, it was never a number cruncher and in 2020, it was phased out. 

Its Subcompact SUV Stint

Honda WR-V

In 2017, Honda’s answer to the growing popularity of the subcompact SUV space was to make some changes to the Jazz, and VOILA! You had the brand new WR-V. It was seen as a rugged crossover alternative to the hatchback and an indirect contender in the sub-4-metre SUV segment. 

It had all the qualities of the Jazz with better ground clearance and a more stylish appeal. 

By 2017, people already knew the reliability of a Honda, its i-VTEC engine, and the fuel-efficient diesel motor. The WR-V (and even the Jazz) diesel claimed over 25kmpl of economy, making them the most fuel-efficient diesel cars. One thing that would have made the WR-V better was an automatic transmission, but alas, it never materialised. 

In 2023, we saw the WR-V shelved into the brand’s past, along with the fourth-gen City and Jazz. Honda’s likely to try dipping its feet in the subcompact SUV space again and it could very well be with the revival of the WR-V nameplate. 

An SUV-packed Future?

Honda Elevate

We mentioned at the start, the Honda Elevate is the first of five new SUVs planned till 2030. Included in that list of upcoming models is an all electric version of the Elevate SUV. The Elevate is a promising start with its sleek and upright styling and a proven mechanical underpinning from the City sedan.

However, Honda is starting its SUV innings with the Elevate on the back foot. It has a premium look and feel, but lacks in various top-end features offered by its existing competitors. As always, the biggest determining factor for the SUV’s success will be its pricing which is slated to be announced by August or September 2023.

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