Honda has finally launched the BR-V and this new SUV is the first such offering from Honda in this lucrative SUV segment. The BR-V is not a compact SUV being above 4m but it compensates that by offering three-row seating which is unique as most of its rivals are 5-seaters. The BR-V is aimed squarely at the Hyundai Creta and in that sense Honda has priced it quite well, undercutting its arch rival. The BR-V is available in 4 trim levels (E, S, V and VX) with the CVT petrol being only available in the V spec. You also have 6 colour options in the BR-V
Powertrain and Performance:
The engine line-up is the familiar 1.5 diesel and petrol while there is a new 6-speed manual being standard. The petrol is additionally available with a CVT options with paddle shifters. Honda says that NVH has been improved in the diesel and it is, albeit a small one. The diesel actually feels nicer than in some of the other Honda cars with a strong bottom-end and in the highways, it pulls quite well. The 6-speed manual is a big change making the driving experience a smoother one and the shifts are nice with a very light clutch.
The petrol manual is more fun than the diesel and is overall our choice with the slick gearbox working well with the engine. Plus unlike earlier Honda petrols it does not lack bottom-end punch and you do not need to downshift a lot in traffic. The petrol is more refined than the diesel and this smooth motor is a superb engine. The CVT will be preferred by many and rightly so as no matter what, dealing traffic in our cities becomes a painless affair. At low speeds it is responsive and smooth plus you can shift manually too. It is only when you push hard that the engine becomes noisy hence the CVT is best driven with light throttle inputs. The massive 210mm ground clearance swallows bad roads well and ride quality also gets good marks from us overall. The BR-V is a big car and it feels its size but body control overall is good with roll in control and it is easy to drive in the city with its light steering. In terms of efficiency the diesel is 21.9 kmpl while the CVT petrol does 16 kmpl and manual 15.4 kmpl.
Build and Styling:
The BR-V is no compact SUV at a length of near 4.5 m and that lends it some presence. The styling is pure Honda with a shrunken CR-V vibe. It is the best looking among the Amaze, Mobilio or Brio too. Honda has given it all the SUV styling characteristics with roof rails, cladding, skid plates, 16 inch alloys while the sharp front-end with superbly styled headlamps with LED DRLs along with plenty of chrome complete the premium SUVish look. It is only the side with its length that reveals its MPV origins but otherwise the BR-V is good looking overall. Inside it features the dash borrowed from the recently updated Amaze but the all black look with silver accents looks much better to our eyes.
We also like the dials and the sporty three spoke steering wheel. In the features department the BR-V misses out on a touch-screen or reverse camera but it does get you push button start, climate control, Bluetooth, steering mounted controls etc. The biggest highlight though is the excellent packaging and space. The middle row is comfy and has enough space for three but the 3rd row is a surprise as you do not feel claustrophobic here with large windows and decent space. The 2nd Row seat features a 60:40 Split with Slide and Recline option while the 3rd row seat is a 50:50 spilt folding type which can be reclined. Boot space is an excellent 691 L with third row folded while it is 223 L with all three rows in place.
With a starting price of Rs 8.7 lakh the BR-V enters the densely populated SUV segment armed quite well. Its major attraction is space and practicality while it has enough styling to justify its SUV tag. The engines and efficiency are always a Honda strong point and continue to be so here. With its correct pricing the BR-V will be a big-seller for Honda in India.