Let’s set the record straight. The Honda BR-V has nothing to do with the HR-V, despite sharing a similar sounding name.
The more upscale HR-V is part Honda’s Global Small Car family and shares the same platform with Jazz, City, Freed, and Japan-only Shuttle.
In the same way the 1.8-litre HR-V is unrelated to the 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre CR-V, so is the BR-V.
Instead, the BR-V is from the same family of cars as the 1.2-litre Brio hatchback and Brio Amaze sedan, as well as the 1.5-litre Mobilio MPV. None of these models are available in Malaysia, but they are widely sold in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and India.
Where the CR-V and HR-V are global models, the BR-V is aimed at only the Asian market, and is jointly developed by Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co., Ltd., in Thailand, and P.T. Honda R&D Indonesia.
So What Is It, Then?
Think of it as Honda’s answer to the Toyota Rush. Like the Rush, the BR-V is a seven-seater. Just as the Toyota Rush is based on the Toyota Avanza, the BR-V is based on the seven-seater Mobilio (below). As mentioned earlier, the BR-V has not related with either the HR-V or CR-V.
*Above: Honda Mobilio seen @ GIIAS 2015
Ground clearance is said to be more than 200mm. That's more than the HR-V's 170mm, but similar to the Rush's 200mm.
The BR-V models on display here are technically prototypes but you can expect the final production car will look almost exactly as what you see here, give and take some local variations for wheel design and front grille.
The BR-V will only go on sale in Indonesia in 2016.
What is its engine?
Under the hood is a 1.5-litre SOHC i-VTEC engine. It produces 120 PS at 6,600 rpm and 145 Nm at 4,600 rpm, similar to the City. Transmission is either a 6-speed manual or an Earth Dreams CVT automatic.
Since it shares the same drivetrain with the Mobilio, the BR-V is only available as a 4x2 (front-wheel driven).
What Does It Look Like Inside?
At this point of time, the two cars on display are locked but we might be able to get a bit more time with the car tomorrow (21-August).
We expect the BR-V’s interior to be very similar with the Mobilio, so don’t expect it to be as sophisticated as the HR-V. Remember that the BR-V is aimed at emerging markets and keeping the car affordable is crucial.
Update: Glimpses of the BR-V's interior here.
How big is it?
We don’t have any information on the dimensions yet, but visually, the BR-V is quite a big car. Think of a Toyota Rush, only lower.
What about safety
Honda is known to have very high standards for safety and it is good to know that although the BR-V is aimed at emerging markets, the company did not skimp on safety features.
The all-important VSA is available, as are dual front airbags, hill start assist as well as emergency locking retractor (ELR) seatbelts in front and ISOFIX mounts for child seats.
Of course, not all these features will be available across the range.
When Will It Be Launched In Malaysia?
Nothing has been confirmed yet, but if it does pass Honda Malaysia’s feasibility study, we can expect it to be here by 2016.
Do keep in mind that the BR-V’s sister-car, the Mobilio, didn’t make it here despite many early speculations (on our part as well). The project was quietly shelved, likely because Honda Malaysia’s own studies showed that the Mobilio might not meet the expectations of local consumers.
If launched in Malaysia, the Indonesia-made Mobilio had to compete at a disadvantage against our national brand Proton Exora and Perodua Alza. The BR-V however, does not have any competition apart from the aging Toyota Rush so it might have a better chance than the Mobilio.
For those who are currently owning a Perodua Alza, where do they go from there? At the moment, the conservatively-styled Toyota Innova and Rush are their only choice and neither offers a compelling enough package to justify an upgrade from the Alza. The more stylish SUV body BR-V however, might just be the car for this group of consumers.
How much will it cost?
BR-V is likely to be positioned below the RM98,690 HR-V, and seeing that Honda does not have any seven-seater model below the RM100,000 mark, it is quite likely that the BR-V will be priced close to the Toyota Avanza 1.5E’s RM72,787 and the Nissan Grand Livina 1.6’S RM83,974.
In Indonesia, the BR-V will be sold at between IDR 230 to 265 million. The HR-V ranges from IDR 246 million to IDR 270 million.
Six body colours are being made available for the Indonesian market, being Taffeta White, Modern Steel Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, and three completely new colours, which are Misty Green Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, and Passion Red Pearl.
Read also: GIIAS 2015: Previewing The 2016 Honda BR-V's Interior, And More