Finally the compact SUV segment of Indian automobile market has got the entry of Honda cars India Limited in form of new BR-V. And why not, given the tremendous potential this category holds for the manufacturers, everybody is jumping in to claim their share of pie. Renault was the first one to crack the segment with Duster followed by hugely successful Hyundai Creta that came along last year and is currently ruling the roost with its stylish demeanor, room interiors,and capable powertrains.
To win over these adversaries, Honda knew it had to have some ace up its sleeve and BR-V have got many of these. Not only look stylish and contemporary, it comes with segment first 7-seat configuration distributed over three rows. It has got powerful petrol and diesel motors and to widen its sales prospects, Honda has offered both manual and automatic transmission options though the latter comes only in petrol variant. So what this new Honda B-RV is all about? We get behind the wheels to find out.
Design, Style & Interiors
Even a casual glance will reveal that Honda B-RV is based upon Mobilio MPV. Upfront there is large slat Chrome grill flanked by shapely headlines on either side. Front bumper looks dynamics thanks to the lot of cuts and creases that slashes right from bottom to the top. In the profile,BR-V has uncanny resemblance with Mobilio only point of difference is the black cladding running all around. Large 16 inch alloy wheels feel the arches completely and provide good driving control. At the back, a slim reflectors strip runs through the width of the car which tries to differentiate between B-RV and Mobilio. Overall BR-V is a handsome design however we would like to have some more individuality in its turn out.
One of the biggest draws of the BR-V is its 7-seat configuration which is touted as the First in class offering. To start with, this Honda is genuinely spacious especially if you compare it with other SUVs available in this category. Front seats of the car are spacious and come with driver seat height adjustment except the lower variant. That said, it is the middle row which comes with loads of leg room and head room although the width of the seat is good enough for seating only two fully grown adults. This bench also gets 60:40 split which enhances the practicality and allows multiple permutation and combinations. Third row comes with 50:50 split and surprisingly turned out to be a good sitting option even for the adults in the journey is short. Another good fact of the car is the luggage space which is quite decent even with all the three rows upright in their original position.
Design layout of the cabin is very practical although it pales in front of some of the Other manufacturers which are using flair to lure the buyers. Horizontally running AC vents channelize flow of air in superior manner and all the controls falls to hand very easily. The most disappointing thing however is the entertainment system which feels like it belong to entry level hatchback. There is no touch screen feature neither the option of navigation which is indeed a shame for a car which costs over Rs 10 lakh.
Engine, Transmission & Driving Dynamics
The BR-V comes powered by 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines and we got our hand on variant drawing motive power from oil burner. This engine works out 100 PS and 200 Nm of Max Power and max torque respectively. The numbers or average more so if you pit them against the Rivals but then drivability of the engine is very good. There is almost no Turbo lag whatsoever and this Honda pulls very cleanly right from the start. 6 speed manual transmission is a delight to use. It offers a very short, crisp, and precise shifting experience and coupled with the claim of ARAI certified 21 kmpl in the diesel version, Honda BR-V is going to delight Indian users with its efficiency and reliability. In sum, diesel BR-V may lack in the punch but makeup by offering good mileage and drivability.
Aimed at family users, Honda BR-V offers good ride quality as it absorbs bumps and road undulations for most of the part. That said do not expect handling of a Sedan or hatchback from the car. It has got 3 rows of seats and the long length means there will be somebody roll when thrown around the corners. Still Honda has done a commendable job by restricting body roll within the limits. Steering feel is very good and although tires offer average road grip, the car is capable to hold on its own. The car comes with airbags as a standard part of the equipment and also offers ABS among all the trims in the diesel version.
With a starting price of Rs 8.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), BR-V doesn't disappoint on value for money front. It looks fine, has got spacious interiors, come powered by a reliable and efficient engine line-up, and offers decent ride and handling combination. From average customer viewpoint, BR-V ticks all the right boxes. However, it has got its share of limitations too. Despite being spacious, second row is not good enough for 3 adults. Interiors are functional but they feel dated and Spartan, especially the infotainment system which do without touch screen feature and navigation system. We think that Honda has played too safe and will be having hard time convincing buyers to take BR-V home.
Style & Substance 3.5/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics 3/5 Safety & Equipment 4.5/5
Power-Plant &Transmission 3/5 Fuel Efficiency 4/5
Value for money 3/5