Should Honda make this Brio-based five-seat SUV?

We call it the ZR-V, which stands for Zippy Runabout Vehicle
by Andrew Guerrero | Mar 4, 2020
PHOTO: Andrew Guerrero
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One of Honda’s popular models in its local lineup is the BR-V. It’s basically the seven-seat SUV version of the Mobilio, which in turn is the MPV version of the Brio hatchback. So, what if Honda decided to do a five-seat SUV version of the Brio? This is an idea that’s been stuck in my head ever since the BR-V was introduced. It sounds like a cool idea, so I decided it was finally time to do a rendering.

Up front, this Brio-based mini SUV’s face is mostly shared with the BR-V’s, the same way the Mobilio and the Brio share the same front-end sheetmetal. To add to its sportiness, however, it gets unique pieces like a honeycomb grille that is complemented by a gloss-black upper ‘wing.’ The sides feature wheel-arch extensions and lower cladding with the same design as the BR-V’s. The rear end, meanwhile, gets angular design cues to match the front styling: unique taillights with horizontal extensions, a restyled liftgate, and a more aggressive rear bumper compared with that of its seven-seat counterpart.

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One of our goals was to minimize the use of unique body stampings. The majority of the panels exclusive to our Brio-based crossover are metal and plastic parts that bolt on. Unlike on the BR-V, we opted to use lower-profile roof rails like the ones found on the HR-V, because this is more suited to the sportier roofline. As for its size, our mini SUV measures 3,860mm long, 1,730mm wide, and 1,572mm (including roof rails).

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We ditched the Brio’s standard 89hp 1.2-liter engine and gave it the BR-V’s more powerful 1.5-liter i-VTEC gasoline mill that puts out 118hp and 140Nm of torque. This powerplant should be more than adequate for this little runabout since its estimated base curb weight is under 1,100kg. Power is sent to the front wheels either through a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission.

The independent MacPherson-strut front suspension and the torsion-beam rear setup remain the same, but the ride height has been raised, and the front and rear tracks have been widened. The car rolls on 16-inch alloy wheels shod with 195/55. It sits approximately 52mm higher than the Brio, and now has a ground clearance of 189mm.

What do we call our creation? If we follow Honda’s naming convention for crossover SUVs, we’d have to give it a name that ends with ‘R-V.’ The name I chose for this five-seat mini SUV is ZR-V for ‘Zippy Runabout Vehicle’—an appropriate name for the BR-V’s nonexistent, theoretically zippier sibling that currently only exists in the digital world. For reference, when Honda makes a crossover based on an existing vehicle and gives it distinctive styling, it’s often spun off to its own line. Examples include the Mobilio-based BR-V (Bold Runabout Vehicle), and the previous-gen Jazz-based WR-V (Winsome Runabout Vehicle).

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Our estimated starting price for the manual-transmission variant is P795,000. If Honda were to build this ZR-V, would you consider it? Let us know what you think.

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PHOTO: Andrew Guerrero
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