Honda’s latest car is a safe and practical seven-seater

Honda’s latest car is a safe and practical seven-seater

By SHAMS NAQVI | | 7 May, 2016
It is the day and age of 7-seater cars. It gets even better if the 7-seater is affordable as well. This segment has seen a slew of new cars in the last couple of years. Some like the Maruti Ertiga have hit the jackpot while others like the Mahindra Quanto and Honda Mobilio could’ve done better. It is precisely that reason why Honda has launched yet another people’s mover in the market. With the BR-V, the Japanese car maker is aiming to strike it big in a keenly watched and contested segment. On face of it the BR-V is everything an urban family is looking for. It’s stylish yet affordable, offers great utility and comes from a reputed car maker. Honda invited us over to the beautiful city of Udaipur to get up, close and personal with a car they hope will change the game in the utility vehicle segment.
Looks
The BR-V from certain angles will remind you of the Mobilio. But Honda has made some smart changes, especially on the profile that really work for the car.  This includes plastic cladding, a beautiful looking chrome strip just above the cladding, chrome door handles, a roof rail and those striking looking 16 inch alloy wheels. The front again with a lot of chrome looks aggressive and a major credit for that goes to the projector headlamps that come with LEDs and a thick double slat chrome grille. A nice looking bumper with a lot of creases and a silver skid plate complete an attractive front look. The rear is rounded off well in terms of design and the connected tail lamps add a very exclusive touch to the car. Chrome and skid plate make an appearance here as well. Maybe in terms of dimensions the car could’ve been a little taller and more compact but we doubt how much of that would’ve been possible considering the BR-V is based on the Mobilio and Amaze platform.  
Interiors
For a 7-seater nothing is more important that interior space and especially on the front two rows there’s no dearth of knee room. The third row also has adequate leg space only that the occupants will have to sit in a knee up position on a higher seat. The BR-V isn’t as wide as the Hyundai Creta and that means shoulder room for 3 passengers sitting together in the second row may be a bit of a hindrance. A centre arm rest and AC vents on the roof will make it even more comfortable for the middle seat occupants. Getting to the third row is very easy as the second row tumbles down in 60:40 ratios and even the third row tumbles down in 50:50 ratios to accommodate more luggage. Due to the low height it’s very easy to load heavy luggage in the boot. The top variant of the BR-V will come with features like Start/Stop button, Climate control and keyless entry. The dash follows an all-black theme and the quality of materials is used. The steering wheel, the gear knob and the seat are wrapped in leather to give the interiors a premium feel. However the absence of a touch screen entertainment system and a rear parking camera or even parking sensors may keep some buyers away from the BR-V.
The good thing is that now both come with a 6-speed manual gearbox which directly results in a better performance and fuel efficiency. Talking about latter Honda is claiming a mileage of 15.4 kmpl on the Petrol and 21.9 kmpl on the Diesel. Also like other Honda’s the BR-V too will have a Petrol CVT variant on which the company is promising a mileage of 16 kmpl.
Engine
As is the case with all recent cars from Honda in India and that includes the Jazz, the City and the Amaze even the BR-V will come in both Petrol and Diesel engine options. Both are 1.5 litre motors and while the Diesel gives a maximum power of 100 PS the Petrol is more powerful at 119 PS. The good thing is that now both come with a 6-speed manual gearbox which directly results in a better performance and fuel efficiency. Talking about latter Honda is claiming a mileage of 15.4 kmpl on the Petrol and 21.9 kmpl on the Diesel. Also like other Honda’s the BR-V too will have a Petrol CVT variant on which the company is promising a mileage of 16 kmpl. It also comes with an added convenience of paddle shifters though I feel in a segment like this cruise control is a better option that having paddle shifters. In Diesel unlike its rivals the Hyundai Creta and the Recently Duster there’s no auto shift. A glitch in the past has been the NVH levels on their cars and this time around Honda claims to have worked really hard on that front.
Ride & Handling
An impressive ground clearance of 210 mm will suffice well for most road situations we face in our country. Because of its low stance the BR-V handles really well and you can confidently throw it around corners. This may be one of the best handling ‘SUVs’ we’ve seen in recent times. The length of the car may interfere with taking tight u-turns as the turning radius isn’t very appealing.  The suspension is tuned fantastically well to take on the bad roads the BR-V just carries forward the legacy of other Honda cars when it comes to guaranteeing impressive ride and handling characteristics.
Verdict
Honda is pitching the BR-V against cars like the Creta and Duster both of which have done well in the segment despite being just 5-seaters. In that sense the BR-V has an edge because of the practicality it offers. Honda has also ensured safety for occupants by providing dual airbags as standard across all variants. The premium positioning of the car means that Honda has kept the starting price of the car at Rs. 8.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the Petrol variants and Rs. 9.99 lakh for the Diesel variants. The only CVT variant is priced at Rs. 11.99 lakh. The good thing is that there’s a 3-year unlimited kms warranty on the car, and if you’re in the market strictly to buy a good 7-seater from a reliable automaker, the BR-V is one of your best bets.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars

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