Japanese auto giant Honda launched the BR-V in India on Thursday. A petrol variant of the compact SUV starts at Rs 8.75 lakh while a diesel variant starts at Rs 9.90 lakh.
Unveiled at the Delhi Auto Expo 2016, BR-V, as in ‘Bold Runabout Vehicle’, has interesting looks. However, we get a déjà vu of the first walk around the Mobilio while going along its sides.
The stance of the BR-V is tall and powerful, and the high chrome strap on the grille has a striking resemblance with that of the Vitara Brezza – which was unveiled on the same day as the BR-V.
However, this so-called compact SUV is anything but compact; it’s a giant seven-seater based on the platform of the Brio, Amaze and Mobilio. In fact, the BR-V feels bigger, taller and bolder than the Mobilio, despite having the same side-profile lines that flow towards a taller hind. Honda calls it their ‘Active Solid Motion’ design philosophy.
But, oh yes. There’s a lot of Japanese touch in the flesh from Honda this time. You can see “Nippon” dominating over the “Bharat” style of design in everything about the SUV, from the proven 1.5-litre i-VTEC and i-DTEC engines to the multiple safety features and stylish rear tailgate.
The car is loaded with high-end features such as a start/stop button, steering-mounted controls, automatic climate control, roof-mounted AC vents, Bluetooth connectivity and a height-adjustable driver’s seat for easier motoring. But wait, where’s the touchscreen?
The dual airbags – standard in all trims – can absorb any impact, no matter how hard. Other in-built features such as the anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability assist and hill start assist heighten the safety of the car. However, do not disappoint yourself by harbouring cruise-control dreams.
Under the hood
The 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine sends out 117bhp of maximum power and 145Nm of max torque. The 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine, on the other hand, generates 99 bhp of maximum power and a top twist of 200 Nm.
The BR-V has an edge over its rivals, most of which come with a five speeds, by offering options such as a six-speed manual and a continuously variable transmission gearbox.
Five years ago, there was no Ford EcoSport, no Renault Duster, no Hyundai Creta – not even a distinct compact SUV category. However, as the segment grows at over 35% on an annual basis today, Honda wondered, ‘Why should we be left behind?’
This car could well turn out to be the next breadwinner for Honda. However, with the auto giant’s existing line-up, comprising the Brio, Amaze, City, Mobilio and CR-V, Honda leaves us with one question: What segment did they actually have in mind for a seven-seater “compact SUV”?
Share your thoughts about the new Honda BR-V with the author @GulshanMWankar.