2016 Honda BR-V
The Honda CR-V’s little brother comes to Auto Expo 2016 in Indiaby Robert Moore, on
Auto Expo 2016 has kicked off in India, and Honda had quite the stand setup for the world to see. Honda is showcasing all of the current models in its lineup for India, but on top of that, it brought the Honda Accord, the Honda Project 2&4 Concept, and the McLaren Honda M4-30 Formula 1 car. Next to all of these in Honda’s pavilion, sits the Honda BR-V, which is finally being introduced to the Indian Market.
The President and CEO of Honda Cars India, Katsushi Inoue, said, “As we celebrate 20 years of our existence in India and building an affinity with over 1 Million Indian customers, HCIL is adopting a new brand direction of ’Advanced and Exciting’ and our products, dealerships, and communication will be guided by this new brand direction. Year 2015 has been a very successful year for HCIL as we achieved our record sales of 200,000 units in a calendar year. The launch of exciting new models Honda BR-V and Accord in 2016 will help us accelerate our growth this year and also strengthen our brand in the country.”
As you can probably guess, the BR-V is essentially the CR-V’s little brother. It was designed by Honda R&D Asia Pacific as an exclusive model for the Asian market. Will it prove to be a worthy family-based utility vehicle for the Indian market as well? Join me as I take a closer look at the BR-V and give it some good, old-fashioned, American critiquing.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Honda BR-V.
2016 Honda BR-V
On the outside, the BR-V Has a rather sporty design to it. Up front, the radiator grille – if that is what you would call it – is rather narrow, spanning no more than two inches from top to bottom. Above the grille is a chrome trim insert, with the Honda emblem perched right above it on a “U” shaped trim insert that connects the headlights to one another. Down below the air dam provides most of the airflow to the radiator. Round fog lights grace the corners of the fascia and are surrounded by chrome trim. A gray front splitter rests below the air dam. I specifically like the body lines on the front fascia. It almost gives the front end a mustache of sorts, with body line curving 180 degrees and fading away below the headlights.
I specifically like the body lines on the front fascia. It almost gives the front end a mustache of sorts
To the sides, the body progressively gets higher as you move toward the rear, with a sharp upward swoop below the rearmost stationary window. Down below the wheel arches protrude from the fenders and rear quarters, giving the SUV a wide-looking appearance. Down below, there is a mild body line between the wheel arches with gray trim inserts placed at the bottom of the doors.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get a good look at the rear of the BR-V just yet, but it looks like the taillights bubble out from the body a bit. Outside of that, the rear is a mystery, but I bet the trim that runs from the front fascia, and front wheel arches, continues over the rear arches and comes together on the rear fascia. Altogether, it really isn’t a bad design for a compact SUV of its caliber. Based on looks alone, I think it is safe to assume that the BR-V will provide some pretty stiff competition in India’s compact crossover Market.
So far, we don’t have any images of the interior, but from a little research, I have a pretty good idea of what the interior looks like. Since this is a compact crossover that somehow manages to offer seating for a total of seven people, the dash shouldn’t extend very far from the firewall. There should be a six- or seven-inch touchscreen infotainment display, and a smaller LCD display recessed above the center stack. The instrument cluster will also be rather small compared to the CR-V for instance. Expect to see a large, single gauge in the middle, with several smaller, half gauges to the side. Small but functional will be the theme here.
Expect cloth and leather options for the seats, with the most of the trim garnishing the interior made of plastic.
Given the fact that there are two rows of rear seats, the gear shifter should be elevated above the center console and almost be an extension of the dash itself. The center console will be rather small with small pockets for storage and a storage compartment below the center armrest. Expect cloth and leather options for the seats, with the most of the trim garnishing the interior made of plastic.
It’s also important to realize that cargo room will be slim when the rear seats aren’t folded down. With the rear seats folded, there should be a decent amount of cargo room. Don’t expect much for rear passenger dimensions – this is a compact crossover after all.
The BR-Z comes with a 1.5-liter, SOHC, four-cylinder engine that produces 117 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. The SUV should also take on the 1.5-liter, diesel engine that is offered in the City and Mobilo. It is said to produce 99 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque. Power will be sent to the wheels via either a CVT or a five-speed manual transmission. At this point, no performance figures are available, but given the nature of this vehicle and its intended purpose, they probably won’t be anything to write home about.
Honda has yet to release pricing for the Indian market, but its main competition – the Hyundai Creta – is priced between 901,169 rupees and 1,414,055 rupees – $13,303 and $20,875 at current exchange rates, respectively – so expect the Honda BR-Z to fall start out right around 900,000 rupees or so.
The Hyundai Creta is another one of those models that never made it to U.S. shores. It was designed with Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design philosophy and was heavily inspired by the Hyundai IX35 SUV and is basically a smaller version of the Santa Fe, which is also available in India. It features similar styling to that of the BR-Z. The Creta is offered with one gasoline-powered engine and the option of two different diesel engines. The 1.6-liter gasoline engine puts out 121 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque. The 1.4-liter diesel unit produces 88 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The range-topping 1.6-liter diesel puts out 126 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque – not bad for a compact SUV. Pricing starts out at around $13,000 at current exchange rates and creeps up to more than $20,000 for the range topping model.
Maybe it is the fact that I’m American, but I’m really not a fan of these compact crossovers, regardless of brand. The fact that the BR-Z is a seven seater in such a tiny package makes me even more leery. I don’t see how a vehicle such as this can be anywhere near comfortable with seven people crammed inside. The thought of a clown car keep conjuring in my mind. Not that I’m hating on Honda or anything – I get that these little SUVs are popular in other markets, so it makes sense. Vehicles like this just don’t jive with our thirst for gasoline and big vehicles. That said, I do like the overall design of the BR-Z for what it is. I think it will serve its purpose well in India (and Asia for that matter). Honda likely has a big hit on its hands.