Long-term test (Introduction): Honda BR-V 1,5 Elegance CVT

If, like me, you’re in your late 30s, the cars available back in the day which could carry more than five people were mostly limited to minibuses such as VW’s Kombi. That has now changed significantly. On the affordable side of the scale, Honda’s BR-V is right up there with cars such as the Suzuki Ertiga and Toyota’s Avanza in providing space for seven occupants.

Setting the Honda apart from those rivals is crossover styling that fits in somewhere between that of an MPV and an SUV. That has its benefits. Climb inside and there is generous space in the driver’s seat and in the second row. Small adults can fit in the third row of seats (offering two separate pews), but ideally these chairs are perfect for children and they even offer access to cupholders.

Although I’ll be up front in this car for the next three months, the air-conditioning vents situated in the roof to keep the second and third row of occupants cool rank as one of the car’s best features. Also, while the BR-V has a mere two airbags, it is fitted with a full-size spare wheel.

Under the bonnet is the 1,5-litre petrol engine which also does duty in the Ballade, HR-V and Jazz. It produces a modest 88 kW and 145 N.m. Connected to a CVT (continuous variable transmission), more drivetrain noise infiltrates the cabin than the HR-V we recently ran in the fleet. This is partly due to the fact that I occasionally need to work the engine harder to maintain an ideal cruising speed. Even so, with a conscious right foot, I’ve managed to keep the fuel consumption to a respectable 7,43 L/100 km.

I’ve picked up on a few cabin quirks. There is no back lighting for the gearlever position (P, R N, D) or for the buttons controlling the windows and mirrors. It’s not the end of the world but it takes some getting used to every time you drive the BR-V at night and need to make adjustments.

Practicality is the BR-V’s trump card. Apart from generous luggage space (192-440/1 344 litres as tested), the third row of seats can fold flat and forward, which opens up the boot to large objects.

We’ve been outspoken about some of Honda’s infotainment systems and this one also takes some time to master. With a limited number of buttons, you need to figure out which control changes which setting. Curiously, the ven- tilation system’s screen is larger than the infotainment’s item.

Being a crossover, I definitely plan to do some modest gravel- road driving in the near future to see whether the excellent on-tar ride remains.

After 1 month
Current Mileage: 
 703 km
Average fuel consumption: 7,43
 L/100 km
We like: 
space; practicality
We don’t like: 
design of infotainment system