Honda BR-V

Honda BR-V. Picture: Honda SA.

Honda BR-V review: Seven up!

Now more than ever people want big-car practicality without the exorbitant price tag or fuddy-duddy people-carrier image. So how about the Honda BR-V?

Honda BR-V

Honda BR-V. Picture: Honda SA.

I hear it all the time from those trusting souls in the market for a new crossover. “You know, I test-drove the… (*insert the name of virtually any crossover vehicle here), and I was disappointed at how small it was inside.” Yes, I’m afraid that’s the irony of the most popular segment. Despite manufacturers selling you the dream of practicality to rival a barn, they can only afford to make simple reskins of existing small-car platforms.

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Thankfully, the latest Honda BR-V 1.5 Elegance CVT we have on test appears, on paper at least, to be one of the most practical and cost-effective people-carrying crossovers on the market. Beware, sensible buying advice ahead …


Honda BR-V
Honda BR-V. Picture: Honda SA.

Let’s start with the price because everyone is watching their bottom line these days. The Honda BR-V 1.5 Elegance CVT is yours for R469 900, which may sound like a lot compared to a VW Chico, but there are more affordable options with less specification from Honda. The 1.5 Comfort with a manual gearbox retails for R419 900, and, full disclosure, that’s probably the one we’d angle for. But more on that later …

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However, even at R470 000, the top-spec Honda BR-V does offer great value versus other seven-seater equivalents. That’s because the Honda BR-V, once upon a time, used to be the straight-up Mobilio MPV. Yes, one generation ago, back in 2016, Honda decided to jack up the ride height and add some wellies in black-plastic cladding to the wheel arches to give it an SUV look. Gone is the snake-that-swallowed-a-chest-of-drawers appearance.


Honda BR-V.
Honda BR-V. Picture: Honda SA.

It’s paid off. The new Honda BR-V is much more pleasing to the eye than the UberXL mobile it replaces. Yet, all the important ingredients are still there. It’s a full seven-seater with Honda’s tried-and-tested 1.5-litre engine that’s absolutely bulletproof and actually perky to drive. Drive is sent to the front wheels only. Zero to 100 km/h comes up in just over 10 seconds, and the fuel consumption on our real-world test route was in the 7.0 l/100 km range. All are par for the course for this practical crossover.

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Honda has delivered a decent interior, too. With a pseudo leatherette steering wheel and seats, you can adopt a comfortable driving position as soon as you step behind the wheel. The 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay means there’s plenty of convenience on offer for the driver and passengers. This is supplemented on the Elegance model by brilliant auto-adjusting LED lights with attractive DRL signatures. And there’s more. Try reverse camera, blind-spot monitoring (with camera), full climate control and auto wipers. And our favourite feature at this price is lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control that paces you with the car ahead in traffic. You do get a lot when you purchase a Honda BR-V in Elegance specification.


Honda BR-V.
Honda BR-V. Picture: Honda SA.

For moving a lot of people in a frugal and manageable family wagon, you cannot do any better than this affordable go-getter. The suspension offers a good compromise for passenger comfort. With rails on its roofs, underbody skid plates, and ground clearance increased to 207 mm, there’s not much it cannot do. The BR-V has grown in size, too. Interior space has increased to offer space for adults in the first and middle rows, though the back pair of seats are still only best suited to children.

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The clever shape-shifting cabin offers seat-folding options galore for the three rows. The middle and rear seats fold flat to accept the bulky cargo, and the middle row squabs pivot forward against the front seats to accommodate tall objects. With all three rows of seats in place, there are 244 litres of boot space (up from 194 litres), which should suffice for a small shopping expedition.


Honda BR-V
Honda BR-V. Picture: Honda SA.

In a market tall in ride height, short on value and rife with lofty expectations, the Honda BR-V – in our humble opinion – offers arguably the best value on the market. It’s a tough, usable and, now, attractive crossover proving that the durability of Honda’s products from the subcontinent (sourced from India) is in good order.

It’s so good, in fact, that, Rand-for-Rand, we can’t think of a better seven-seater on sale.


  • Best for Cross-country adventuring over any terrain with the whole family on board. The new model has shaken the UberXL appearance.
  • Not so sure: This Honda is a bizarrely image-free conveyance. Some will love that; others might want more individuality.
  • Engine: 1 497 cc 4-cyl petrol
  • Power: 89 kW, 145 Nm
  • Performance: 10,48 sec 0-100 km/h (tested), top speed 170 km/h
  • Gearbox: CVT
  • Economy: 7.10 l/100 km (tested), 6.30 l/100 km (claimed/combined)
  • Tyres: Bridgestone Turanza 215/55/R17
  • Braking: 100 km/h – 0 in 3,58 sec (tested)
  • dB measurement: 88.5 ave
  • Price: R469 900

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