TEST DRIVE: 2018 Honda BR-V 1.5 S CVT

Seven-seater vehicles are one of the popular choice of Filipino car buyers. The reason for this is that Pinoys love to travel in groups and have a family-oriented culture. As you all know, seven-seaters are not just exclusive to SUVs. You now have the option to get a more affordable vehicle that can also accommodate up to sev en occupants--thanks to the dawn of the seven-seater crossovers.

Crossovers are the type of vehicles that are relatively smaller in size as compared to SUVs. You may also look at crossovers as the more youthful or more muscular version of the MPV. One of the vehicles offered in the said segment is the Honda BR-V. With that, we took the entry-level variant of the BR-V for a drive to see if it’s an ideal choice as a seven-seater family hauler.

The exterior of the BR-V is like a Mobilio on steroids. It’s as if the Honda Mobilio decided to hit the gym to do some workout exercises to get more muscle, sharper character lines, and a more composed stance. Up front, the BR-V has sweptback headlights along with a large chrome-accented grille. It also has an aggressive-looking bumper, which is complemented by round fog lamps. I like the BR-V’s front end design because it’s not over the top and it does give the vehicle a confident and a bold look.


Turning to the side, this BR-V has prominent wheel arches, which adds to its aggressive and muscular appeal. It has sharp character lines that gives the BR-V the right amount of flair. The black cladding goes well with the vehicle's white exterior paint. The rear is fitted with a spoiler and taillights that are "seamless." The only thing that I don’t like in the rear is the chrome bar fitted on the tailgate. I wish that Honda made it slimmer because it's too thick for my liking.

The interior of this BR-V is decent, simple, and straightforward. It has all the essential features, which will make you think that it is not an entry level variant. The center console is equipped with a touchscreen infotainment system that comes with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The steering wheel is integrated with audio controls, and it has four power windows. It also has a second-row air-conditioner, which cools the cabin despite the intense summer heat.

The seat configuration of the BR-V is 2+3+2. The second-row seat could easily accommodate three Filipino adults. The last row is a bit tight for individuals that stand 5 feet and 8 inches. You can still squeeze two adults back there but, the ride comfort would not be that good. However, there's more than enough space if two kids will sit in the third row. In terms of safety, this BR-V comes with a slew of features such as driver and front passenger airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), vehicle stability assist, among others.

The BR-V is powered by a 1.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC gasoline engine that delivers 118 hp and 145 Nm of torque. It’s the same 1.5-liter engine that's fitted in the Mobilio, City, and Jazz. The BR-V comes with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Driving the BR-V around the city is nice. It has a light steering feeling, thanks to its Electric Power Steering (EPS), which allows you to drive through tight streets easily and tackle tight parking spaces without a sweat. The BR-V also has good forward visibility because of its large windshield and front driver and passenger side windows. However, I find the rear visibility a little limited due to the BR-V's tailgate design. In terms of ride comfort, this BR-V absorbs impact from potholes within reason. The overall ride around the city is smooth and the BR-V’s seats are comfortable. The BR-V registered a fuel economy of 6.2 km/l around the city--with speeds ranging from 10 kph to 15 kph and with four passengers on board. The BR-V also performs well in the open highway. It has a stable and a balance ride when running at highway speed. The sound insulation inside the interior is good with road noise reduced to a minimum. In terms of fuel economy, this BR-V yielded 18 km/l whilerunning at 80 kph. You do have to take note that I have no passengers on board during that drive.

As a whole, this BR-V is packed with features which wouldn’t make you think that it's an entry level variant. It also has a decent 1.5-liter gasoline engine and an aggressive-looking exterior. Priced currently at PHP1.030 million, I could say that the BR-V S variant is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a daily car and a road trip vehicle that can seat up to seven occupants.