Bolder than ever, the second-generation BR-V signifies a step up from its predecessor. We take it for a drive…

The last time (before the local arrival of the new model, that is) I sat in a BR-V, I was seated on the second-row bench, with my girlfriend next to me and a couple of friends on the third row, being transported via Uber to one of our favourite restaurants in Cape Town. Not that we minded, it was a seemingly comfortable place to be sat in. Apart from sampling the previous-generation variant, this is arguably the way and place I’ve spent the most time in Honda’s compact seven-seater. 


However, knowing that I would soon drive the box-fresh BR-V, I would have wanted one last go behind the wheel of the first iteration. How would the new generation compare to its forebear? Well, for starters, the brand-new BR-V is a significant step-up in terms of exterior design, convenience and safety features, and driving quality. 

Starting with the exterior design, the second iteration looks bolder than before. The bodywork’s styling takes on a more SUV-like-design approach rather than staying with its predecessor’s MPV aesthetics. The range-topping Elegance model we sampled sits on 17-inch alloy wheels. All models feature LED head- and taillamps. Four exterior colour options are available. These are Opal White, Modern Steel, Lunar Silver, and Crystal Black. Our press unit was finished in the latter hue. 


The new BR-V is longer (+35 mm), wider (+45 mm) and taller (+13 mm) than its forebear. The latest model measures 4 490 mm bow to stern, 1 780 mm in width and 1 638 mm in height. The increase in exterior dimensions has resulted in a more spacious cabin. Honda says the 60:40-split second-row bench now offers passengers 64 mm and 20 mm more leg and shoulder room. Passengers on the 50:50-split rearmost seats now have 36 mm and 30 mm more leg and shoulder room. Behind the latter items, the BR-V offers 244 litres of boot space. Folding them down increases packing capacity to 691 litres (behind the second row). Utility space comes in at a claimed 1 164 litres. 

The position of the driver’s seat (height-adjustable in the Elegance variant) has been lifted by 44 mm for enhanced outward visibility. Setting off, the BR-V’s 1.5-litre four-pot was sufficiently punchy around town. The naturally aspirated petrol unit produces 89 kW and 145 Nm of torque. The Japanese automaker claims the CVT-equipped models sip an average fuel consumption of 6.3 L/100 km. Match this figure, and the 42-litre fuel tank should allow you to travel a distance of 667 km. 

Speaking of the continuous variable transmission, which has been “specifically” tuned for the compact seven-seater, this is arguably the only gripe we had with the all-new model. As with other CVT-equipped vehicles, the unit found in the BR-V does elicit a pronounced whirr when depressing the throttle. However, the drone quieted down once travelling at a constant speed. 

The steering was light, allowing for easy manoeuvrability around town (rear park distance sensors and a reverse-view camera are included with the mid-tier Comfort and the Elegance variants). The ride quality is supple, with the updated suspension set-up soaking up most road imperfections with aplomb. Traversing well-kempt gravel shouldn’t be an issue, thanks to the 207 mm ground clearance. 

Apart from the whirring noise ever so often heard inside, the cabin is a comfortable place to be sat in. As standard, all BR-V models ship with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The top-tier Elegance model features a six-speaker sound system (the entry-level Trend and the Comfort derivative are equipped with four speakers). Automatic climate control is also present on the top-spec model. 

The Elegance further gains Honda’s ‘SENSING’ system, which comprises an array of active safety items. This package includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and a lane-watch camera.


At a glance

Honda BR-V 1.5 Elegance CVT

Bolder than ever, the second-generation BR-V signifies a step up from its predecessor. As a package, the latest iteration feels even more family orientated, thanks to increased interior space and its updated convenience and safety equipment (especially in the top-spec Elegance). The SUV-like exterior styling is also a huge plus. As standard, the mid-tier and range-topping models ship with a four-year/60 000 km service plan, optional on the Trend variant. However, all derivatives come with a five-year/200 000 km warranty. 

  • Price: R459 900
  • Engine: 1.5 L, 4-cyl, petrol
  • Transmission: CVT
  • Driven wheels: F
  • Power: 89 kW @ 6 600 r/min
  • Torque: 145 Nm @ 4 300 r/min
  • 0-100 km/h: n/a
  • Top speed: n/a
  • Fuel consumption: 6.3 L/100 km
  • CO2: 151 g/km

Full pricing for the local BR-V range here.