Honda BR-V vs. Honda HR-V

Honda BR-V vs. Honda HR-V

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Contents -

Honda’s cross­over co­nun­drum means trou­ble for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the BR-V’s sib­ling

Honda has been on a roll lately. The brand’s new rash of crossovers and MPVs is bring­ing new cus­tomers through the doors in droves. The new Asian-mar­ket BR-V and the global HR-V, in par­tic­u­lar, present a unique dual-pronged at­tack on the sub­com­pact-cross­over mar­ket.

At first blush, the BR-V looks re­mark­ably like the Mo­bilio it is based on, down to the stepped belt­line, al­beit with ex­tra black side cladding. But a slightly longer wheel­base, a 210mm ride height, fat­ter tires, and sex­ier styling make all the dif­fer­ence in the world to cross­over-crazy buy­ers.

Thin seat­backs and wide doors pro­vide for a spa­cious in­te­rior. While the cabin is on the nar­row side, there’s lots of legroom in the first two rows, and the tall roof as well as the re­clin­ing seat­back means even our gan­gly test drive ed­i­tor fits in the third row. At least for short trips.

Seated be­hind the wheel, you ap­pre­ci­ate the work that has gone into dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the BR-V from the Mo­bilio. Aside from the cheap-look­ing (but ef­fec­tive) ceil­ing vents, the in­te­rior looks much like that of the higher-class City. In­deed, the BR-V drives much like the Honda sedan, with the same light touch, ef­fort­less CVT, and con­fi­dent body con­trol. Un­for­tu­nately, the low seat point and the lack of height ad­just­ment leave you won­der­ing if this isn’t in­deed a City in dis­guise. Avanza driv­ers lit­er­ally look down upon you as you pass each other on the street.

Thank­fully, Honda isn’t kid­ding about that ground clear­ance. The BR-V takes in stride tall humps and steep park­ing ramps that would catch out a sedan. De­spite the ride height, the re­vised dampers and sus­pen­sion vis-àvis the Mo­bilio give it a lot of me­chan­i­cal grip. The only dings on its back­roads per­for­mance are the grabby rear drum brakes (ca­pa­ble, but hard to mod­u­late) and the lack of rear sus­pen­sion travel— odd for a car with this much ground clear­ance.

Yes, cross­over-ish as­pi­ra­tions notwith­stand­ing, the BR-V is clearly not meant to go far be­yond your typ­i­cal half-de­vel­oped farm road. But for the daily grind, it’s per­fect. A nar­row width and good sight­lines en­sure that thread­ing through traf­fic is a breeze.

Both S and V vari­ants come with the 1.5-liter en­gine and the CVT from the City, with Sport and Low modes to make up for the lack of pad­dle shifters. De­spite the heav­ier body, both deal with even the steep­est of climbs with no is­sue. The most you could ask for is a lit­tle more en­gine brak­ing from the CVT in Low mode for hill de­scents.

While lack­ing the HR-V’s pull in high revs, even in Sport mode, the BR-V feels just as quick through traf­fic, and pips the HR-V by about 1km/L in ur­ban econ­omy. On the high­way and with a full load, it re­turns an im­pres­sive 2022km/L at 80kph.

And price. Start­ing at un­der P1 mil­lion, the BR-V of­fers a lot of space, util­ity and style for the money. Not sur­pris­ing, then, that buy­ers just can’t get enough of it.

Words by Niky Ta­mayo Pho­tog­ra­phy by Christian Halili

It stays rel­a­tively flat through hair­pins and sweep­ers

It’s not quite the cross­over it pre­tends to be

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