Honda Motor Japan has revealed a new crossover SUV in prototype form to the Malaysian and other motoring media in the region at its Twin Ring Motegi test track, a day ahead of the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.
The BR-V is based on the Honda Brio platform, and will carry a 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine developing 120PS and 145 Nm of torque. Seating capacity is seven, with the normal two rows taking five passengers, while a third row can take another two adults. The third row folds flat onto the rear floor, and although third row seats are usually cramped, the ones in the BR-V can actually seat adult-sized people thanks to the design engineers incorporating a sliding function for the middle row seats.
The BR-V is slotted to make the Honda Crossover SUV line-up more complete by offering a vehicle that is slightly smaller than the HR-V, just as the HR-V is designed to offer a vehicle slightly smaller than the CR-V. With the BR-V, Honda will have a very comprehensive product line-up insofar as these utility vehicles are concerned, and customers with varying needs and different affordability levels will be catered for. Given this scenario, we would expect the BR-V price level to be below that of the HR-V.
From its looks and specifications, the BR-V looks a winner from the start. Ironically, we tested the BR-V at the very same Motegi site that we tested the HR-V prototype two years ago. The fact that we were given the opportunity to drive a ‘working’ model implies that Honda is almost ready to start volume production; we should be hearing about the production within a year, and if all goes well, we should see the BR-V in Malaysia by early 2016, or even earlier.
The BR-V’s dimensions are 4,456mm in overall length, 1,735mm overall width, and stands at 1,606mm tall. Ground clearance is good at 201mm. Wheels are 16-inch. A very thoughtful feature are sliding and tumbling second row seats that make ingress and egress form the third row easier, besides allowing for the stowage of lengthy or bulky items.
The BR-V is powered by a 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine from the Honda family, but coupled to a newly-developed CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) designed for small vehicles. However, the final drive ratio (Overall reduction at the transaxle) is lowered for SUV use. Mooted fuel consumption is around 15 kilometres per litre. Acceleration from zero to 100kmh is claimed at 13 seconds. There is also an option for a 6-speed manual transmission. Engine power is claimed at 120PS at 6,600 rpm, while torque is 145Nm at 4,600 rpm.
Aesthetically, the BR-V is a decent looker, brimming with Honda DNA, and looks like a smaller version of the HR-V. Based on a presentation given by Honda, the BR-V offers more space and interior roominess than its closest competitor (which was not named). The additional versatility of having a seven-seater capability will be an additional appealing factor in its favour.