If you agree that Mobilio was a beefed-up Brio then the Honda BRV is bound to look as if Jazz took Anabolic steroids and some Kardashian genome.
We all make mistakes, so do car designers and manufacturers. After something has gone wrong there are three basic scenarios; make up for it or let it go from bad to worse but the last choice is the most painful one where the result is indecisive and public. Honda seems to have landed on the third possibility with the BRV.
Honda gave India the 7 seater Mobilio around two years ago, which on paper was putting the market leader Innova to shame (which was also their marketing technique-failed!!!!!!), but in real world conditions it wasn’t anywhere close to it. If we look back in the timeline Honda did make several mistakes with the second-gen City in India but they did make up for it soon with some cosmetic changes, then a vtec option followed towards the end before they presented us with the fabulous arrow-shot design third-gen City ivtec taking Honda to the top spot once again. So Honda knows how hit the right notes and they do it well.
Not yet saying that they have done it with the BRV but it seems they are on right track and will eventually get there soon.
First glance of BRV gives shades of the new Jazz in its DNA, the side profile makes you realise that it is indeed a big car and the rear looks quite contemporary with nothing much to complain but one can easily point out the absence of the rear camera/parking sensors which is quite astonishing from Honda considering the size of this car. The overall look of the car gives an impression that screams out “Crossover” and make no mistake about it. This car doesn’t give me an impression of an SUV or MUV. As a matter of fact it also reminds me of the great Tata Aria……..oops too big of a compliment, nevermind. Make no mistake about it the BRV is bold but in a feminine way.
So, why am I too pessimistic about this car? Its big like the Creta, it has enough horses, it has the reliability and quality assurance of Honda….yap yap yap……clearly I am not talking numbers or figures in this article, but provide you with an insight that actually matters. Step inside the BRV and the third-gen City’s steering wheel greeting you, we loved it on the City but that’s a sedan so why was it that difficult for Honda to take that into consideration. It’s not just the steering but quite a lot of things that just don’t give that SUV feel to the car. Like the car has a good ground clearance of 210mm but the 16 inch rims don’t do justice to the cars performance and handling, which also give and undertyred feel to the car. I am also not a very big fan of Honda’s suspension setup which gives the ride quality a thumps down here. The all-around black cladding also eats up a lot of wheelwell which could have been naked and have given the car a Duster like imposing look, this again screams out loud “Crossover” in my head. The estate like rear end convinces me that the voices that I am hearing in my head are indeed true and I can go to bed with that assurance.
Honda BRV looks like a positive step forward if you think about the Mobilio but if you keep its competition in mind this is just a step in the journey which will give us a great car which I will proudly call an SUV or MUV one day. Had Honda branded the BRV as a crossover it could have captured an unconquered territory of crossover market, which currently remains as indecisive as the Honda BRV.
Honda is planning to price the BRV in the price bracket of 8-12 Lakhs put the car in direct competition with the Renault Duster, Hyundai Creta. With Creta’s waiting periods getting longer and people looking for a brand new options, the Honda BRV is going to be interestingly placed and the only thing that can work in its favour.
Words: Atul Bandhu