January 05, 2017 @ 05:44 PM

BR-V’s bold move

Honda won’t be resting on its laurels here as it aims to maintain its position as the leading non-national carmaker here. The BR-V will be spearheading that assault

Everything that needs to be said about the Honda BR-V has pretty much been covered and a quick spin around Bangkok has proven that the marque’s first affordable seven-seater in the country is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from them lately; bloody brilliant.

Aimed at young families looking to add on their headcount, the BR-V brings a cavernous interior, elevated ride height and all the practicality that’s become synonymous with the brand at sub-RM100,000 pricing.

Only two variants will be available here and both are also assembled at Honda Malaysia’s plant in Malacca; an entry-level Grade E that goes for RM85,800 and a more premium kitted out Grade V that is priced at RM92,800. Both prices are on-the road and inclusive of a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. Furthermore, the service interval has also been increased to 10,000km now with up to six complementary, alternate free-labour services till 100,000km.

The BR-V sits on a reworked platform utilised in the Honda Brio sold in Thailand and Indonesia. Honda Malaysia avoids calling it an MPV and the rugged exterior goes a long way in justifying their claim. Tagged as a crossover, it amalgamates SUV styling cues such as the 201mm ride height with the practicality of an MPV for a shot in the arm that the segment was in desperate need of.

In a class that counts on the likes of the Nissan Grand Livina and the Toyota Avanza as its students, the BR-V looks set to school them all as it bridges the gap between the B-segment Honda City and HR-V compact SUV.

A roomy interior is one of the BR-V’s plus points and the numbers certainly don’t lie. Its 2662mm wheelbase is longer than the CR-V by 40mm and eclipses the Avanza as well in both wheelbase and width.

Furthermore, the BR-V sold here will be further enhanced with additional measures to reduce NVH levels at the bulkhead and steering column. Insulation was also added in the doors, hood, dashboard and rear roof section as well as below the floor mat.

Even with the third row up, boot space is a respectable 233-litres. Drop the 50:50 split last row and it climbs to 539-litres. The 60:40 split one-touch tilt and reclinable second row can be slid forward as well.

A sole powertrain option is available and one that is quite familiar to the local market. The 1.5-litre inline-four i-VTEC mill that is found in the City and Jazz will propel the BR-V with 118bhp and 145Nm of torque. A CVT with a torque converter links the engine to the front wheels.

Safety wise, both variants are packaged with dual front airbags, ABS, EBD, hill-start assist, Isofix anchorage points and stability control. All these add up for a five-star Asean NCAP rating in and a four-star Child Occupant Protection rating.

Although positioned as the entry-level variant, the BR-V Grade E still packs a formidable amount of kit in the form of projector halogen headlights, LED DRL, 11 cupholders, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear air-conditioning with individual blower control and an audio system with Bluetooth, USB, AUX and hands-free connectivity.

Distinguishing the Grade V are lower garnish pieces for the bumper and sides, steering mounted audio controls, automatic air-conditioning, leather upholstery, a 6.0-inch display, reverse camera and HDMI input.

For those that aim to further capitalise on the BR-V’s versatility, three accessories packages are available. The Utility Package priced at RM1,280 includes door visor, cargo tray, trunk organisers, sun shade and door protector film. The Urban Package includes a tailgate spoiler, running board and side step garnish and is priced at RM2,945. Lastly, the Modulo Package is priced at RM3,750 and adds on a front and rear lower garnish as well as side under and tailgate spoilers.

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