The BRV is Honda’s take on a Creta-sized SUV. Like the Creta, it is front wheel drive and the ‘prototype’ version we drove came with a 1.5-liter iVTEC engine mated to a CVT gearbox and we expect it to come to India with additional option of the City’s diesel engine and manual transmission.
The BRV is based in the Brio/Amaze platform and first impressions are of a well-proportioned car. It doesn’t have the presence of a full-on SUV, but the design is pleasing, especially with the sharp nose, the Mobilio-like kink in the window line and the really cool tail lamps. On the inside, the all-black dash does look nice and happily, doesn’t resemble the Brio/Amaze/Mobilio asymmetrical dashboards. Plastic quality is good and the front seats are comfortable.
The middle row is spacious as well and the seats slide on rails to improve third-row legroom. Yes, you read that right, the BRV has a third row unlike the Duster or the Creta. There’s enough space in there for the average Indian though he might find headroom a bit compromised.
Our lap of the track was too short and run at yawn-inducing speeds (the Japanese are quite paranoid about speed, it seems) to be of any real value but we can tell you that the engine is smooth, the CVT is not the best thing you can ask for on a track and that the BRV handles reasonably well.
Typical of Honda, the 118bhp motor from the City is quite torquey and responds well to small throttle inputs. Push for more however and the CVT kind of sucks the life out of the engine.
At the moderate speeds that the pace car set, the BRV felt quite planted and easy to drive but we will reserve a definitive judgment on this for the day we get one in India. When will that be? Expect the BRV to be showcased at the Auto Expo and launched in the first half of 2016.