Honda BR-V 2020 Review

Honda Malaysia has just announced the launch of their Honda BR-V.

Honda BR-V

BR-V stands for Bold Runabout-Vehicle and in Malaysia, it has 2 variant models – Type E and Type V.

The OTR Malaysia market price is RM83,210 (Type E) and RM90,010 (Type V) before insurance. At these prices, it makes the BR-V one of the more affordable SUV/MPV crossovers in Malaysia.

Honda BR-V

Although the BR-V is already available in our neighbouring countries, this is Honda’s first venture into building a full-sized seater crossover for the Malaysian market. The BR-V consists of a significantly revised platform that is shared with its counterpart in Indonesia and Thailand.

Quick Specs:

Engine Type4 Cylinder, 16 Valve, SOHC i‑VTEC4 Cylinder, 16 Valve, SOHC i‑VTEC
Fuel Supply SystemElectronic Fuel Injection (PGM‑FI)Electronic Fuel Injection (PGM‑FI)
Displacement (CC)1,4971,497
Max Power [PS(kW)@rpm]120(88)@6,600120(88)@6,600
Max Torque [Nm(kg‑m)@rpm]145(14.8)@4,600145(14.8)@4,600
Maximum Speed (km/h)160160
Acceleration 0 ‑ 100km/h12.212.2
Fuel Consumption (L/100km)6.46.4

Pros :

Good ride comfort in its SUV/MPV class
Fuel-efficient power train

Attractive interior finishing

Cons :

Side airbags/Curtain airbags unavailable for this model

Central armrest not included

In-car entertainment system lacking

Styling

The Honda BR-V 2020 gets updated with an amended front bumper as well as a newly-designed front grille. It has a redesigned lower bumper garnish, and modified front fog lights as well as LED daytime running lights. At the rear, the BR-V also gets similar treatment. There is a new lower rear bumper garnish, a shark-fin antenna and also a side trim.

lights

The BR-V also gets new 16-inch alloy wheel tyres, roof rails, hill-start assist and two front airbags. Honda has also included a dedicated rear air conditioner, a smart entry system that helps in keyless entry and keyless locking for added convenience to the driver.

In its interior, the BR-V has gotten a new leather seat upholstery with added red accents. The second row offers a “one touch tilt and tumble system” that allows convenient access to the back row (third row). In the third row, the seats are adjustable with a 50:50 split folding, there is very spacious head room as the BR-V height is tall.

seats

If all the seats are folded, the maximum capacity of the BR-V is an impressive 539 litres. If the seats are all set up, the capacity is at 223 litres.

Performance

Under the hood of the BR-V, is a very reliable 1.5 litre iVTEC four-cylinder engine. It is the same model engine used by the Honda Jazz and the Honda City models. The power output is rated at 120 PS and 145 Nm, shared evenly between the front wheels via the CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) system. Impressively, this is the highest performance output rated by a crossover vehicle, compared to its Toyota and Nissan competitors.

Even though limited by its small engine, the BR-V still has great handling and agility compared to its competitors. It does all this with a fixed-driving seat position, and inverted A pillars, which in turn gives you a great view of the road.

The car’s body roll is kept to a minimum, and with a height clearance of 201mm, you will not be running over curbs and steep parking slopes. The steering system feels solid, and has a healthy weight to it, so you feel like you are driving a car that is equal to its size.

body

This is a vehicle suitable for medium sized families.

Compared to the other seven seaters in its class, the BR-V is extremely comfortable. Even if you are sitting right at the back in the third row. Furthermore, this vehicle drives very similarly to a regular sedan because of its driving dynamics. This means that whether you are driving long distance, or short distance, the handling and the feel of the vehicle remains very similar. 

The average mileage with a mix of city driving and long distance driving for this vehicle averages around 8km/L.

Safety

The latest Honda BRV 2020 comes with dual SRS front airbags, electronic stability control, ABD with EBD, two ISOFIX mounts on the outer seats of the second row. It also includes seven three-point seatbelts.

The Honda BR-V comes with low-rolling resistance ECO tyres to improve fuel efficiency. However, we find that this results in a harder, bumpier ride. The BR-V could do with tyres with better grip. Once the tyres were upgraded, the ride was noticeably better. Honda has also crash tested the BR-V at 64 km/ph (offset barrier frontal crash).  The BR-V has also received a 5-star rating from the ASEAN NCAP.

Features

The latest BR-V does not carry a full range of features. It still, however, offers the essentials like keyless entry with a push-button start, automatic climate control and rear AC vents. However, for a vehicle in this range, it is still missing out on some features like a reverse camera in the Type E model. It is rather odd that they did not include this feature because a vehicle of this length will need reverse assistance. They have also omitted a touchscreen audio system, automatic day/night glare rear view mirror, cruise control, and a driver armrest (which we feel is essential in a vehicle of this size).

touchscreen

For the Honda BR-V 2020, it seems like the engineers made the vehicle more rigid, so that it will reduce the body roll. This causes the vehicle to drive rather stiffly. The good thing though, is that when you drive the BR-V, it feels very car-like. You might forget you are driving a bigger MPV/SUV.

body

In regards to the quality of the ride, it does not feel like you are sitting on a sofa or a cloud, because of the stiffer body. You will feel the bumps and knocks if you are on a rather badly-maintained Malaysian road.

Fuel Economy

Based on driving tests, the Honda BR-V real world fuel consumption averages around 7-8 litres /100km. This is quite a good feat compared to the other crossover vehicles in its class like the Perodua Arus or the Proton Exora. However, the caveat is that the mileage is highly dependent on your driving style and the road conditions.

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Honda Malaysia has always been very generous with their warranty. For the BR-V, Honda has included free labour services for up to 5 years with unlimited mileage. Free labour servicing can be claimed up to 5 times within the stated time frame or mileage as above. This warranty also applies to HR-V Hybrid, Civic, CR-V and the Accord.

FAQ

Should I buy a New or Used Honda BR-V?

There are no real differences to the older BR-V compared to the latest BR-V 2020. As we explained above, the only difference is a facelift of the front grills, front and back bumpers. The engine remains the same. So if you are already an owner of the Honda BR-V 2017, it would be a wise decision to maintain that model.

Honda BR-V 2020 vs Perodua Aruz?

In regards to the Perodua Aruz, which comes in second cheapest after the Alza, it seems like a great alternative to the BR-V. Unfortunately, based on reviews, it falls short on ride comfort, and it rates poorly on fuel consumption. However, the Aruz does come with 6 airbags, which is significantly more than the BR-V.

The Perodua Alza is a cheaper alternative to the BR-V 2020. However, do note that the Alza mechanics is almost 10 years old. It also does not have any electronic stability control, which should be a basic safety feature for all cars of today. 

Honda BR-V 2020 vs Toyota Rush?

Comparing the BR-V to a close competitor – the Toyota Rush, it seems to have the same issues as the Aruz. It suffers from high fuel consumption and poor ride comfort. The good thing about the Rush is that it has rear-wheel drive. This gives the car a great maneuverability in tight U turns. This vehicle is more suited with carrying bigger loads over rough roads and terrains.

Honda BR-V 2020 vs Proton Exora?

This leaves us with the last comparison for a vehicle in its similar class – the Exora. The Proton Exora has received generally positive feedback compared to the BR-V with its new facelift. However, there is still an issue with its 10 year old powertrain tech, and a fuel-guzzling engine.

Customer Reviews

Overall, many customers of the Honda BR-V have found that the vehicle gives a decent performance if it is not weighed down. It has great space inside, even right at the back row (which many crossover vehicles suffer from a lack of legroom).

Customers also noted that the BR-V has some huge boot space, being able to accommodate seven riders’ luggage comfortably. The handling of the BR-V is also something customers have come to appreciate. It handles great in tight spaces because of its high clearance.

boot

Lastly, customers really love that the BR-V is extremely fuel efficient compared to the other crossovers in the Malaysian market.

The Verdict

The Honda BR-V 2020 is a great crossover vehicle that will be very well appreciated by a small but growing family. It is also a great vehicle to move luggages and items. The BR-V was not made to be a trend-setting vehicle, but more of a practical people mover with fuel-efficiency in mind.

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