Honda established its presence in India back in 1995 and rolled out one of the best sedan, the City to India. Ever since then, it has captivated the imagination of everyone with its sheer quality of engineering.
Those were the days when the sedan made your heart skip a beat, Honda City was one of them. You could customise the City inside out and it would come out in flying colours. Even today the Honda City remains one of the best contenders at the racing events in India.
Cut to the present scenario, SUV is the 'Name of the Game', Honda wants to play the game too. Hence, the Honda BR-V was launched. Does Honda have it in them for the hunt?
Design Of the Honda BR-V
With the tall sculpted bonnet, the large and wide honeycomb air dam which is well connected by the flared wheel arches gives the BR-V characteristics of an SUV. And that's where the design of an SUV ends.
Honda wants the BR-V to be multi-utility and that's evident from the side, you can see shades of the Mobilio design language which Honda calls it as 'Active - Solid Motion'. This is mainly to accommodate the third-row seats.
The chrome strip and the side body cladding is an attempt by Honda to add cosmetics and help attain the image of an SUV. At the rear, we can safely call it an MPV, you cannot see the high rear bumper nor the chunky tailgate.
Riding in the city conditions with as many potholes which you experience in your daily commute, a high ground clearance is a welcome. Honda has built the BR-V with a clearance of 210mm which is the best in class. You can safely drive the BR-V to a soft off-roading experience.
Honda has covered the aspect of seating cleverly with the third row in the cabin, which many compact SUV cannot stake claim to. Dimensions of the Honda BR-V is well proportionate and can house a family of six comfortably.
Honda has taken the design of the Jazz and the City's dashboard to the BR-V, which is evident in the similar AC vents and the brushed silver accents. Missing out on the smart infotainment system without navigation system will hit Honda the most, many manufacturers are offering it at least on the top variant.
Having said that, the all-black seats and the interiors give the Honda BR-V a rich and premium touch. The three rows are good to seat six adults and this will be the USP for the Japanese auto major.
Drive & Handling of the Honda BR-V
Fitted with the 1.5-litre 4-cylinder unit on both the diesel and petrol, the Honda BR-V engine is rather surprisingly good. Honda's approach to the design of the BR-V is to carry more than five people, so expect a lag in performance; however, this is quite negligible.
Honda has powered the BR-V diesel engine with 1.5-litre i-DTEC 4-Cylinder which churns out 99bhp @3600rpm and the torque peaking at 200Nm @1750rpm. The diesel mill is mated to a 5-Speed manual gearbox.
The diesel unit did not have much lag as we experience in a lot of diesel cars. The 1.5-litre mill performs really well with lag being low. In city conditions, the BR-V behaves with efficient performance.
The 1.5-litre diesel i-DTEC engine is focussed on the lower rev range delivery, your city ride is comfortable and you need not shift gears multiple times to get you going. The power band is linear at the 3rd gear and you easily move from 20kmph to 100kmph, this is 'Advantage BR-V'.
When you put the BR-V to test on a climb, the lack of lag helps it climb without much fuss, this is a plus when you are travelling with more than six passengers. The power to weight ratio is commendable at 78 bhp/tonne, which cruises well on a stretch of an open highway.
- E - Rs. 8,75,000
- S - Rs. 9,90,000
- V - 10,90,000
- VX - 11,84,000
- V CVT - 11,99,000
- E - 9,90,000
- S - 10,99,000
- V - 11,85,000
- VX - 12,90,000
The i-VTEC petrol engine is touted to be one of the best in India, Honda has powered the BR-V with the engine as the City. The 1.5-litre engine punches out 117bhp @6600rpm and a peak torque of 145Nm @4600rpm, this is mated to 5-Speed manual and an option of CVT gearbox.
Honda has been developing the petrol mill keeping the Indian conditions into aspect for nearly two decades. They understand the conditions well which is seen in the petrol engine of the BR-V.
The 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine grunts when you floor the pedal, on the low rev range though you can feel a slight lag. The clutch is smooth as butter and helps you through traffic ridden city roads. Here, the CVT takes the cake and eats it too, with the ease of driving through urban traffic conditions.
Mileage: MT - 15.4kmpl & CVT - 16kmpl
The ride and handling of the BR-V at the low rev range show characteristics of a car rather than an SUV. During any potholes situation, the BR-V performed well with its McPherson strut front & torsion beam rear doing the work effortlessly.
Honda BR-V wears the Michelin tyres (195/60 R16) profile which is commendable by Honda since it's coming straight from the manufacturer. The braking has a good bite, also, Honda has fit the ABS as a standard feature across variants, this adds to its performance.
Pros & Cons on the Honda BR-V
√ Excellent legroom and headroom
√ 210mm Ground Clearance
√ Dual Airbags and ABS with EBD as standard
√ Boot space of 223-litres; 691-litres of space when the third row is folded (best in class)
√ Good engine (Petrol & Diesel)
√ Keyless entry, CVT with Paddle Shifters and Projector Headlamps
x Safe design; not a bold statement
x Priced above the City, which is better in features
x Width is limited; good for two adults
x 3rd row suited more for kids
x Poor rearward view
x No reverse camera for parking
x No touchscreen infotainment
Verdict of the Honda BR-V Review
Honda getting into the game of the compact SUV was expected sooner than later, a lot of us wanted to know what Honda will offer. Well, Honda seems to have compromised a lot in the overall package of the BR-V.
Taking a gamble in the Indian market is a no-go zone and Honda is willing to take that path and could burn their fingers in making this decision. The Honda BR-V is a confusion between an SUV and an MPV, it does not justify as an MPV with its limited seating option nor does it justify as an SUV except for its cosmetic touch.
The Honda City with its premium features is priced well below the BR-V and the compact SUV from Honda does not get all of the premium touches apart from the engine.
Does the BR-V stand up to the cult status of the Honda City? Well, not really; yes they both belong and cater to different segments, but, Honda should not compromise the branding they enjoy.
The Honda BR-V does stand out in many aspects, the three-row seating which is not seen in any of the compact SUVs, the CVT with paddle shifters, high ground clearance, and the standard fitment of dual airbags and ABS with EBD edges out its rivals.
Author Verdict of the Honda BR-V
I like the cake but can not eat it, the Honda BR-V is a package, not an SUV, Honda is going the Maruti way and not sticking to the Honda that I grew up with. A good dose of premium SUV features like off-road capabilities would have set a benchmark in the compact SUV segment.