Looking for a people carrier/MPV to ferry your family around? The Honda BR-V maybe a good choice for you. It may not be as popular as some of its competitors, but we'll tell you why it's worthy of your consideration.
The Indian market is full of vehicles that don’t simply conform to one design standard. The BR-V is also one such car, a cross between an MPV and an SUV, like the Tata Hexa and the recently launched Maruti XL6. Like the XL6, the BR-V is very eye-catchy. Its high ride-height, plastic body cladding on the exterior, and fake skid plate under the front bumper, all make for a butch, mean-looking vehicle.
Let’s go over a brief history of the Honda BR-V before we jump on to the main topic.
Honda BR-V over the years
The history of Honda BR-V in India is a very brief one. It was launched on 5 May 2016, as a spiritual successor to the Honda Mobilio MPV. The engines on offer are a 1.5-litre inline-four i-VTEC petrol engine that produces 118 bhp and 145 Nm and a 1.5-litre inline-four i-DTEC diesel engine that produces 99 bhp and 200 Nm. The engine is paired with a 6-speed manual, with only the petrol ‘V’ trim being offered with a CVT gearbox as well. Both petrol and diesel engine options are available on all trims.
In 2019, the BR-V received a minor facelift. It features cosmetic changes to both the interior and exterior of the car. The most noticeable of these changes are to the front bumpers, fog-lamp housings, headlamps (with LED DRLs), and front grille. It also features a fake skid plate and new alloy wheels.
Reasons why you should consider buying a Honda BR-V
We’ve already establishes that the BR-V has good road presence owing to its butch and muscular exterior design. Apart from the looks, you also get the ‘Honda’ stamp of reliability. The engines are made to last decades, without compromising on either power or efficiency. Also, the navigation system works offline, which is great.
What could have been improved on the Honda BR-V
The equipment list is a little small, even on the top trim. The automatic transmission is only available in the second-to-top ‘V’ trim, while only the top ‘VX’ trim gets a reverse-parking camera. The uneven distribution of equipment means there isn’t a single trim that offers everything, and that might be a little upsetting for some buyers. Also missing in the equipment list are: height adjustable front seatbelts, telescopic steering adjustment, steering mounted controls, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Should you choose a new Honda BR-V instead of an Old one?
There has been no significant change in the BR-V over the years, so the new ones and old ones are virtually identical. If your Honda dealership offers a great discount and/or benefits, then you should definitely consider a new one. If your budget allows, that is.
All the important facts you should know
What to check
While the Honda BR-V is a fairly reliable car, it is known to develop the following problems:
The switchgear is, sadly, of subpar quality, which is especially disappointing when you consider the price which the MPV demands. Check all the switches/buttons in the cabin and make sure they work properly.
As usual, mechanical bits develop wear and tear after heavy usage. Some owners, however, have reported heavy brake fade even under moderate usage as. While it isn't a huge problem, replacing each brake disc/drum will set you back nearly ₹3,500.
Gearbox and Clutch issues
The CVT gearbox in the BR-V is also prone to wear. The clutch in the diesel variant is also prone to heavy wear. Make sure you take a good test ride to feel for any transmission issues.
The Honda BR-V has reasonable service costs, and even if you’re buying one with considerable kilometres under its belt, you won’t be belting out much cash for maintenance. The fourth service (40,000 Km/4 years) will set you back by 5000 bucks. The fifth service (50,000 Km/5 years) is more expensive though, almost 7 grand.
As for spare parts, availability will never be an issue. Honda BR-V shares a lot of its components with the Amaze and the City, which means there is no need to panic, ever! They aren’t too expensive either, which is good.
Real-world fuel economy
In the real world, a petrol Honda BR-V with a manual transmission would give you around 11 Km/l in normal city conditions. It sound poor, but it is quite fine actually. Many cars this side would struggle to go past 12 Km/l. The automatic would give you around 10-13 Km/l in everyday driving conditions. The diesel BR-V manages a little more, averaging around 17 Km/l in city traffic.
What should be avoided
There isn’t really any major problem with the BR-V, so nothing to really avoid here.
What should be bought then
You should consider a model with low mileage on the clock. Somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 Km should be ideal. You’d be able to squeeze a good deal if you negotiate properly.
We have handpicked a few used examples from our classifieds. You can check these out here:
Alternatives you can consider instead of the Honda BR-V
The closest competition to the BR-V is the Maruti XL6, but as it is a recently introduced car, it won’t be available in the used car market for quite a while. Instead, we’ll go to the next best thing, the Ertiga! Compared to the BR-V, the Ertiga is much more affordable, and it has more trims to choose from as well. It has also been on sale for a little longer, which means you can find a better bargain.
If you don’t need the extra seats, then you should consider the Hyundai Creta as well. It is only a five-seater, as opposed to the seven-seater BR-V, but it has three engine options, two diesel and a petrol, which is one more than the Honda. Also, Creta is an SUV and has a better street presence overall.
Consequently, if an SUV seems like a good choice, you might want to check out either the Mahindra Scorpio or XUV500. These are excellent SUVs, and they both offer 7-seater configurations. If you’d like to read used vehicle buying tips for these two vehicles, we have them both on here (Buying Tips For A Used Mahindra Scorpio) and here (Tips to Buy Used Mahindra XUV500).