Honda has finally plunged into the fast growing urban crossover segment in India with the newly minted BR-V seven-seater SUV.
The timing, pricing and the prestigious upright 'H' badge give this Honda a lot of appeal, writes Indian automobile website MotorBeam.
The Honda BR-V is without any doubt a very important car for Honda's present as well as future in India.
The company is currently in dire needs of a fast selling product as both the best selling cars from its stable are being outgunned by its counterparts from Japan and Korea.
Thus when Honda decided to step into the hotly contested urban crossover segment, we had to look at the car with a sharp eye and judge its impact on the Indian roads.
Upon approaching the car from the side, it is very hard to miss the Mobilio silhouette due to the omnipresent kink in the window-line.
Other than that, it has got a heavily revised front, spruced up side profile and a new look for the rear as compared to other cars from the Brio family.
The obligatory faux silver skid plates, tall roof rails, 210 mm of high ground clearance and plastic cladding make up for the SUV look of the car.
The interior of the BR-V are definitely a welcoming experience.
The car shares the same dashboard design as that of the facelifted Amaze and three-spoke steering wheel is borrowed from its siblings.
An automatic climate control system is present, along with rear AC vents.
But notable shocking omissions from the equipment list is the touch-screen infotainment system, rear parking camera and rear parking sensors, which makes manoeuvring the car this big, very challenging.
The seats are supportive up front and there is great legroom for the second row passengers.
The USP of the vehicle is the third row of seats which is also pretty usable for average sized adults, though they will start complaining too after some time.
Cargo space is expansive as the second row seats offer one touch tumble along with 60:40 split.
The Honda BR-V is powered by the same engines as that of the Mobilio.
The diesel engine produces 100 PS of power at 3600 RPM while mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
There is negligible turbo lag after which performance is quite linear.
Honda has added some insulation to the engine compartment thereby making the NVH levels mildly better, but it is nowhere near Hyundai levels.
The petrol engine on the other hand is available with a smooth shifting CVT or a 6-speed manual gearbox and churns out 119 PS of power at 6600 RPM.
The manual variant has an ARAI certified fuel economy of 15.4 km/l, it should return around 11 km/l in the regular driving cycle.
The CVT feels quite good for city driving, offering the comfort and convenience of an automatic.
However, give it the beans and the rubber band effect rears its ugly head. In theory, this CVT is more fuel efficient than the manual at 16 km/l.
Since the car itself is just a Mobilio in disguise, thus it felt like a pure urban vehicle with sedan like characteristics, albeit with some controlled body roll due to higher ground clearance.
We did take the BR-V off tarmac on many occasions and it felt upto the task most of the times.
Brake bite is quite good and the Michelin tyres on our test car did the job quite well.
Also, the steering feel is good and it weighs up well with very predictable handling.
The Honda BR-V is a sturdy urban SUV with an added advantage of useful third row of seats.
The car looks handsome and is paired with motors that offer great drivability, but the NVH package is the real chink in its armour, along with the missing gadgets which should be present in a million rupees car.
The Honda BR-V makes good sense for those who want a compact SUV with oodles of practicality.