Space is probably one of the most common requirements I get asked about when readers are looking to buy a car. The problem, however, often lies in pricing. Enter Honda’s new light SUV, the BR-V.
Since it launched internationally in January it has sold more than 40 000 units. And it’s not surprising. Honda has managed to offer something that it’s competitors do not; seven seats!
I attended the local launch this week and left feeling rather impressed. It has a strong SUV look and once inside you are met with a simple yet modern and refreshing interior. Especially the centre console. Three trim levels are available namely Trend, Comfort and Elegance. There are standard creature comforts across the range which include Bluetooth, USB/aux-in ports, electric windows, air conditioning, ABS and two airbags. Step in to the Comfort, which Honda believes will make up most of its sales, and you will get electric mirrors, an automatic function for climate control and ventilation ducts in the rear, sliding function on the middle row seats and seatback pockets. If you need more, the Elegance adds leather seats, keyless entry and start, and an upgraded speaker system.
It is a comfortable ride and everything appears cool, calm and collected when navigating the city streets. It’s only when you hit the open road that you realise the only engine available, a 1,5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, struggles somewhat at high speeds. I drove the model mated to the new six-speed manual gearbox and found myself working quite hard to keep momentum. If you need to overtake you need to shift down and hold thumbs. There were a few moments where I had to abort the overtaking mission and fall back in line. And this was with just two people in the car. Imagine if you had the whole family loaded in to the back with luggage. The engine is also rather grumbly and intrudes in to the cabin. However, the good news is that fuel consumption is relatively low. We managed around 7,2l/100 km which is not far off the claimed 6,3l/100 km.
The thing to remember here is, and something I had to keep reminding myself of while sitting in the car, is that this is a sort of budget buy SUV. And you will be forgiven for expecting more once inside the car as it feels somewhat premium. Again, I just kept reminding myself that this car was under R300 000 and has enough space for the whole family, and friends. Even the very rear seats are spacious enough, maybe not for very tall adults, but for me it was more than spacious enough. I know because I climbed in to the back and sat in them. With these folded down you get a huge 691-litre boot!
The Honda BR-V pricing starts at R238 900 and goes up to R288 300 for the Elegance CVT model. It’s practical, cheap, spacious and it carries the Honda badge which means you can count on it being reliable. If space is what you require, the Honda BR-V would be an excellent buy!