And that came about because Honda Malaysia wanted CarSifu to drive the BR-V and tell the public all about it. We are happy to oblige.
Some of you would have seen the BR-V previewed at an autoshow in the Klang Valley last month.
Honda is pretty stoked about its first 7-seat crossover and wanted us to get a feel of the vehicle that was conceived in Thailand as an Asean project. The BR-V is now on sale in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and India as well.
As an entry crossover, the vehicle is positioned below the HR-V, which was one of Honda’s bestsellers at launch nearly two years ago. The Japanese car maker is banking on the BR-V to get it off to a flying start in 2017 as it will be introduced as a locally assembled model in January.
The Thailand media drive comprised a short drive to a bear-themed cafe in Bangkok on the first day followed by a 200km+ run the next day between the Thai capital and Ratchaburi, a scenic provincial town that boasts natural and cultural attractions – the most popular being the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
The seven-people carrying capacity of the BR-V is obviously its selling point and Honda is confident it would draw buyers with big families or those aspiring to upgrade from lesser brands.
While the HR-V is derived from the Jazz platform, the BR-V is based on the versatile A-segment Brio platform that has spawned a hatch, a sedan, an MPV and now a crossover.
To cater for 7 people comfortably, the BR-V is longer and taller but narrower than the HR-V. The front and rear have been altered to give the BRV a crossover look and stance but the side profile is still reflective of the Brio-based Mobilio MPV.
Plastic body cladding around wheel arches, a raised ground clearance, bigger alloy wheels and roof rails are added to make a convincing case for a crossover. To keep cost and pricing down, the front wheels get ventilated discs while the back get drum brakes. The steering column is also only adjustable for height but not reach.
The dashboard looks respectable and an infotainment touchscreen and Start/Stop button keep it in tune with the times. Hard plastic abounds but the cabin does not look low-rent.
The Thai-specced 7-seat BR-V has full leather seats, and a basic 5-seat BR-V is also available. But the 5-seater will not be coming to Malaysia.
For those of average-size, there was little to complain about the space, and third-row passengers are able to get more legroom by sliding the mid-row seats forward.
Bulkier adults in the last two rows will find space to be snug. Third-row passenger comfort has also been given due consideration by the Honda designers with a ceiling mounted air-cond blowers in mid-row to shunt cold air to the BR-V’s nether regions.
In addition, third-row passengers get two of seven cupholders in the cabin and side armrests. Both rows are also notable for having backrests that are reclinable. In the second row, this makes up for the lack of thigh support.
In normal driving, the BR-V showed itself to be a pleasant vehicle to handle with enough urge from the 1.5-litre engine to pull it along at a brisk pace.
Steering is light and the vehicle is manoeuvrable through the notorious Bangkok jams. The engine’s 118hp/145Nm and CVT setup offer linear power delivery to the front axle with sufficient pickup when overtaking traffic.
For passengers and driver alike, the cabin is calm and collected but can get a bit noisy in S-mode. A pliant suspension helps absorb most bumps and ruts on roads. Body roll is noticeable in such a long vehicle when taking corners.
Overall, the BR-V comes across as a crossover that emphasises comfort and practicality while striving to be economical in the process.
That should comply with mainstream demands for an affordable people carrier that looks presentable performing the deed.