The Honda BR-V has arrived, joining its siblings the very able, long-established CR-V and the highly popular HR-V, introduced in South Africa last year. The BR-V is also an SUV with bold features, wide stance, fairly sporty and with a raised look, which should appeal to buyers in SA.
Added to this is that it is a genuine 7 seater, with three seat rows, as is its sibling, the Honda Mobilio, which has been discontinued in SA. Front and rear bumper garnishes, roof rails and 16-inch wheels are key visual elements, while the striking front grille, with its bold, chrome-embellished cross-bar, prominent Honda logo and streamlined headlights, endow the BR-V with a distinctive personality that is unmistakably Honda.
At the rear, the boldly shaped tail light clusters are linked by a slim LED light guide. An integrated rear roof spoiler adds a sporty impression, while the generous tailgate opens all the way down to bumper level, allowing easy and convenient access to the boot. In my opinion the BR-V is a more attractive offering than the Mobilio was.
Inside, the cabin’s roomy dimensions allow the introduction of a third seating row, boosting the BR-V’s occupant seating capacity to seven. Access to all seating positions is easy and convenient, thanks to split seat rows that can be tumbled forward at the pull of a lever.
The fold and tumble convenience of the middle and rear seating rows also provides exceptional versatility, allowing BR-V owners to configure the vehicle in different ways, depending on the seating capacity and luggage space required.
The interior is well equipped, and premium materials are used for a smart, upmarket ambience. It has a stylish instrument panel which is very easy to use. The latter features trip computer functionality, with information on driving range, fuel consumption, fuel tank level, ambient temperature and time, as well as odometer and trip meter readings
The interior has a lot of standard features such as air-conditioning, front and rear electric windows and remote keyless entry. A four-speaker audio system with USB connectivity is also standard, and mobile phones can be linked to the system via Bluetooth.
Controls for the electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, electric windows and central locking are located on the door-mounted driver-side arm rest.
Active and passive safety are also addressed via ABS anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags and inertia reel seat belts for all but the second-row centre seating position (which gets a lap belt).
Safety and security features include an engine immobiliser, automatic door locking and reminders for seat belt, headlight and ignition key. Comfort and Elegance versions also gain an alarm system.
All derivatives of the new Honda BR-V are powered by the same, efficient 1,5-litre four-cylinder engine. The SOHC unit uses Honda’s i-VTEC variable valve technology to produce 88 kW of maximum power at 6 600 r/min, together with a torque peak of 145 Nm at
4 600 r/min.
The drive in the BR-V is smooth and reliable, and due to the extra seating will be fairly comfortable as well. The last row does not have windows so it could get a little toasty back there.
Fuel efficiency is impressive, at a claimed 6,2 litres/100 km for the combined cycle in the case of the CVT-equipped BR-V models, while manual-gearbox versions still manage an economical 6,3 litres/100 km. CO2 exhaust gas emissions come to 148 and 151 grams for the CVT and manual gearbox derivatives respectively.
BR-V buyers get to choose between a six-speed manual gearbox and Honda’s refined Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). In the case of the latter, paddle shifts are provided for manual shifting between the CVT’s virtual ratios. I found the gearbox to be smooth and easy to change.
The model line-up and pricing is as follows:
The price includes the standard Honda five-year/200 000km warranty and three years of AA Roadside Assistance.
Comfort and Elegance models benefit from a two-year/30 000km service plan. Services are at 15 000km intervals.
The BR-V is another addition to the rather stacked segment of SUV offerings, but it is differentiated by being a 7 seater, so young families will like this car.