At first glance, the Honda BR-V is imposing, and is unlike anything we had seen from the Japanese carmaker. The bold chrome grille, the silver-coloured skid plate and the beautifully designed headlamps make it a handsome vehicle. The rear, with the restrained design, gives the impression of an expensive SUV. The side profile, however, is another story—it is as if Honda worked on its multi-purpose vehicle Mobilio, and it lends the compact SUV a 'semi-estate’ look. But, it is not really a deal breaker.
Inside, the BR-V gets a black dashboard, and the buttons and knobs are well-sized, even for people with big hands. But it does not come with touch screen infotainment system, which even entry-level hatchbacks these days have. Though the music system sounds decent enough, for an SUV to lack a navigation system somehow leaves that gnawing feeling.
The BR-V is really big on space, which is a luxury for a compact SUV. The driver’s seat and the front passenger’s seat are the best. There is ample headroom, legroom and shoulder-room, but this has partly been achieved by reducing the thickness of the seats, especially in the second and the last row (yes, there are three rows). The seats appear a bit flimsy, which is something one would not expect in a Honda. The large windows add to the feeling of spaciousness in the cabin. Thankfully they do not affect the air-conditioner's performance.
I drove the diesel version powered by a 4-cylinder, 1,498cc DOHC i-DTEC engine that belts out 100 ps@3600 rpm and 200 Nm of torque @1750 rpm. Despite the size, it breezed through the city. At no point the bulk (kerb weight 1,271kg) was a hindrance. The steering feedback was great, and braking was remarkable. The only complaint was the noise from the tyres creeping into the cabin.
The BR-V is your ride if you live in the suburbs and drive to city for work. It is also a fantastic choice for people with large families (and pets) who love road trips and cross-country driving. It is a mile muncher, no doubt, and with 210mm ground clearance, it is ready to take anything that comes its way. Its Advanced Compatibility Engineering body makes it an attractive proposition for buyers who are particular about safety.
Honda has already received 10,000 bookings for the BR-V. The automatic version is available only in petrol. There are five variants in petrol and four in diesel. A diesel automatic would definitely make more people interested. Also, thanks to the competitive starting price (08,75,000 ex-showroom, Delhi) there is little that the BR-V does not have going for it.
Fuel tank: 42 litres
Boot space: 223 litres (all three rows up) and 691 litres (third row folded)
Turning radius: 5.5m
Price: Rs 8,75,000 ex-showroom, Delhi