New Straits Times - - Cars Bikes And Trucks - cbt@nst. com. my ARMAN AH­MAD

SOME man­u­fac­tur­ers pride them­selves on good han­dling and per­for­mance. Oth­ers fo­cus on ex­clu­siv­ity and brand pre­mium. At the end of the day though, the sign of a re­ally good car man­u­fac­turer is the num­ber they sell. As the say­ing goes, the proof is in the pud­ding.

One sure way to achieve this is to make your car ap­peal­ing to the per­son that matters the most — the buyer.

Among the ma­jor brands in Malaysia, Honda has great in­sight into the wants and needs of the av­er­age Malaysian mo­torist.

Their South­east Asian of­fer­ings, like the City, res­onate with peo­ple in the re­gion. Which is per­haps why they are now the sec­ond top seller in Malaysia be­hind Pero­dua.

In fact, Honda has al­ways been good at comb­ing the world, cater­ing to ev­ery de­mo­graphic with their prod­ucts, which are fine-tuned to meet the de­mand of their tar­get mar­kets.

One of their lat­est of­fer­ing — the BRV — is no ex­cep­tion.

First off, you get a lot of car for your money. The BRV is 4,456mm long, 1,735mm wide and has a 2,662mm wheel­base. It’s a seven seater, nonethe­less.

Un­der the hood is the ubiq­ui­tous 1.5 litre i-VTEC pow­er­plant found in the Jazz and the City, no doubt a fa­mil­iar sight to any South­east Asian me­chanic worth his salt.

Churn­ing out 118hp and 145Nm of torque at 4,600rpm, the BRV’s engine is at­tached to a CVT trans­mis­sion that fea­tures Honda’s Earth Dreams tech­nol­ogy.

There is much de­bate as to what the BRV ac­tu­ally is. Some say it’s a MPV, while the com­mon opin­ion is that it is an SUV. How­ever, the maker calls it a cross­over.

In terms of size, the BRV sits be­tween the HRV (the small­est of the lot at 4,294 mm long, 1,772 mm wide and 1,605 mm tall) and the CR-V (largest at 4,590 mm long, 1,820 mm wide and 1,685 mm tall).

We had a go in one re­cently, on a me­dia test drive or­gan­ised by HMSB to Pe­nang.

The BRV ap­pears smaller than it looks in pic­tures. While its pro­por­tions be­lie its size on cel­lu­loid, in the metal, the il­lu­sion is dis­pelled from the mo­ment you stand next to it.

In­te­rior fit­tings are of good qual­ity, with an in­stru­ment panel that looks more up­mar­ket than most of­fer­ings in this seg­ment.

Cu­ri­ously though, the door cards have han­drests that pro­trude quite a dis­tance, and eats up a lit­tle into the oth­er­wise gen­er­ous space of the in­te­rior.

While of good qual­ity, the price point means the in­te­rior is still rel­a­tively ba­sic.

There aren’t much soft-touch plas­tics to speak of. The door card for ex­am­ple, is a wide swathe of plas­tic that res­onates hol­lowly if you knock on it.

The base Honda HBV E vari­ant is priced at RM85,800 OTR with in­sur­ance,

while the V vari­ant is RM92,800.

Un­der the hood is the ubiq­ui­tous 1.5 lit Jazz and the City.

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