Published on July 26th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair


Honda BR-V 1.5 V Review: Giving the Market What it Wants

The Honda BR-V is yet another smash hit by Honda Malaysia. This is a vehicle that exceeded just about every expectation. It’s been able to exceed its annual sales target in just six months.

We spent a couple of days with the BR-V, getting to understand it a little better.

The BR-V is an entry-level 7-seater MPV that takes styling cues from SUVs, This puts it in a very niche market. We have to applaud Honda for yet another packaging miracle. Despite its very reasonable asking price, the BR-V manages to give owners exactly what they want – space for the whole family, premium looks, decent safety, the right amount of performance, and fuel efficiency.

The BR-V is powered by a 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine. Honda sells just 2 variants of the BR-V and we found ourselves in the higher V-Grade variant.

The BR-V is a sales success because of Honda’s understanding of its customer base. For under RM100,000, customers looking for a 7-seater find themselves playing with very utilitarian vehicles. Sure, these compact MPVs get the job done well, but owners are forced to give up some of the features they might have been able to secure on a sedan of equivalent value.

So instead of inserting yet another boring van in the mix, Honda created the BR-V. Your family needs 7-seats with air cond blowers at the rear.

But you want crossover SUV looks, leather seats, 2-tone rims, a fuel-efficient powertrain with sufficient push. With the BR-V, everyone gets what they want.

For the customer, it really begins with the exterior design. The BR-V ticks all the right boxes. It looks like a rugged, premium crossover in the vein of the previous generation CR-V. They could have easily gone for the HR-V’s coupe crossover styling, but sticking to SUV cues was a wise decision, as it makes headroom and legroom less of an issue.

Like all of Honda’s offerings, the BR-V is extremely easy to drive. There’s no harshness here. The Continuously Variable Transmission is smart and smooth. The wing mirrors are a great size and there’s a reverse camera if that isn’t enough. The electric power steering is effortless without feeling completely limp. It’s not your typical performance-oriented Honda, but we don’t think anyone was expecting that.

As you may have noticed, the BR-V shares some major similarities with the City and Jazz. On paper, the highest ‘V’ Grade models all sell at around RM85,000-RM90,000. But there are some real differences in the way the drive and feel. In fact, the powertrain’s not completely the same despite what you might see on paper.

And whether or not you’re peering under the hood, you really can’t take the BR-V as a 7-seater crossover variant of the City or Jazz.

Some of the materials here are different. It’s still well put together, but we can’t help but feel like the City has a nicer cabin. You’ll also be trading little amenities like the one-touch turn signal and a slightly nicer audio solution for those extra seats.

But if these creature comforts are things you can live without, the BR-V lets you own a brand you love while still making room for your family.

Honda BR-V Specifications
Engine: Inline 4, 16-Valve, DOHC
Capacity: 1497cc
Power: 119hp @ 6,600RPM
Torque: 145Nm @ 4,600RPM
Selling Price: RM89,667

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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