The Honda BR-V hasn’t changed much. So what?

The seven-seat SUV gets a facelift three years after its local launch
by Jason Tulio | Oct 21, 2019
PHOTO: Jason Tulio

Cool, is this BR-V new?

A few years ago, Honda Cars Philippines introduced the BR-V to the local market, and with it came the trend of affordable seven-seater SUV/MPV-type cars that are a little bit bigger than the Mobilios of the world. It wasn’t long after this that the Toyota Rush and the Mitsubishi Xpander arrived. Since then, these cars have become the go-to affordable seven-seaters for small families. Now, Honda has introduced this facelifted version. 

What’s new with it, exactly?

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It’s pretty standard refresh fare, really. The front has been reworked to feature more chrome and a redesigned bumper. This top-of-the-line BR-V 1.5 V CVT variant gets LED daytime running lights, while retaining the halogen head- and foglamps of old. The rear end likewise gets a new bumper, while underneath are stylish new 16-inch alloys. Platinum White Pearl and Passion Red Pearl now come as new color options for the top-spec edition. It’s honestly a little bit more stylish compared with the ubiquitous look of its predecessor.

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Inside, you get an updated infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, new leather seats, and Dark Steel-colored panels. A reversing camera now comes as standard equipment. The driver’s seat still doesn’t come with height adjustment—which is either fine or terrible depending on your vertical disposition.

Okay. What about mechanically?

Not much. This is a facelift, after all. Under the hood is still the 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine with 118hp and 145Nm on tap.

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Compared with its rivals, the BR-V has a noticeable spring and agility to it (albeit limited by its small engine), while the almost-fixed driving position gives you a commanding view of the road; the angled A-pillars help a bit with this as well. The steering still has a healthy weight to it, which is fit for the vehicle’s size. Body roll remains minimal, and the elevated ground clearance means you won’t have to worry about steep mall parking lots. It’s fit for families with younger kids, and for your basic barkada- and officmate-hauling needs.

Mixed highway and city driving netted us around 8km/L.

So, it’s the same car, basically. Is that a good thing?

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Honestly, yes. The BR-V was never meant to wow customers with its impressive array of tech and engineering marvel. Priced at P1,155,000, this is still a budget small SUV by 2019 standards. For that price, you get a roomy cabin, a powertrain suited to city driving, a relatively stylish exterior, and an infotainment system fitted with the latest tech.

The downside here, which can also be said about its Mitsubishi and Toyota rivals, is the oft-cited ability to climb up to Baguio. It can manage the trip, sure, but expect some high revving along the way. 

Check out more photos of the facelifted 2020 Honda BR-V below:

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PHOTO: Jason Tulio
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  • Top Gear Philippines Rating
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    Engine
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    1.8 E CVT
    Starts at P1,110,000
    TGP Rating:
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    Pros
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
    Cons
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
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    Honda’s winningest combination comes when you opt for a six-speed manual transmission available in the Civic hatchback Sport, in which …
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