Honda upgrades its BR-V

The BR-V facelift has more technology, refinement and improved safety.

Wynter Murdoch

Reasons to check out the new Honda BR-V

• Subtle design and equipment upgrades enhance style and functionality;
• Eye-catching new LED Daytime Running Lights improve safety;
• Rear parking sensors are standard features on Comfort and Elegance derivatives;
• The range-topper gets a seven-inch touchscreen with integrated reverse camera;
• Added noise insulation for improved refinement and comfort across all models.


Though originally developed and built in India and imported from there, from this year the BR-V has been produced only at Honda plants in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand.


However, no matter where it is manufactured, the company maintains that quality standards remain consistent and derivatives sold in South Africa carry a five-year/200 000km warranty backed by three-year AA Roadside Assist. Further, a new four-year/60 000km extended service plan is included for mid-range Comfort and flagship Elegance models, and is offered as an option for entry-level Trend variants.


In terms of upgrades, the BR-V now features striking LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) in the lower section of its redesigned headlight clusters. Comfort and Elegance derivatives are equipped with rear park distance control, while the latter version also gets a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen that includes a reverse park camera system. Noise, vibration and harshness levels are said to have been improved through the addition of extra sound insulation material.


“The updates for 2020 build on the BR-V’s admired reputation for eye-catching style, along with outstanding comfort and driving convenience,” says Dinesh Govender, General Manager of Automobiles at Honda Motor Southern Africa. “Several new technologies have been introduced, making the BR-V an even more competitive offering in its segment.”


He says the addition of LED lighting not only improves the vehicle’s visibility and safety, but lends it an impactful, modern appearance, while the incorporation of additional insulating material reduces the amount of road and engine noise entering the cabin, resulting in a quiet and refined drive.


Honda’s high-revving, proven 1,5-litre, i-VTEC, four-cylinder engine powers the BR-V, delivering equitable performance. The unit produces 88kW of power at 6 600 revs/min, with peak torque of 145Nm achieved at the 4 600 revs/min mark. While the Trend derivative is equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, Comfort and Elegance models offer a choice of six-speed manual or Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).


From the outside, there’s a degree of rugged stylishness in the BR-V’s look. A wide front grille helps to emphasise width, while silver-finished aluminium roof rails add appeal. Across the range, practicality remains a key selling point, the vehicle sporting high ground clearance (210mm) and 16-inch wheels to offer advantages when travelling on less-than-perfect roads, as well as a high seating position for driver and passengers.


A spacious and versatile layout defines a cabin environment designed to accommodate up to seven occupants – the two-seat, third row being better suited to children rather than adults – or adaptable to provide additional cargo capacity. The second-row bench features a 60:40 split with reclining backrests, as well as fore and aft adjustment.


Additionally, the smaller seat section can be folded forward to provide easy access to the 50:50 split third row, which, equally, can be tumbled forward to increase luggage space from 223 litres to a copious 691 litres.


ABS anti-lock brakes are fitted across the range, along with dual front airbags. Anti-theft security is provided by means of an engine immobiliser, remote central locking and speed-sensitive auto door locking. Electrically powered windows all-round and air-conditioning add comfort and convenience, while a four-speaker audio system is provided incorporating Bluetooth and USB connectivity.


Fittingly, in line with its Comfort specification, the intermediate model is equipped with fully automated climate control with roof-mounted vents between the front and centre rows to distribute air to rear-seat passengers. The driver’s seat benefits from height adjustment and a centre armrest. Additional features include an auto up/down function for the driver’s window, a power switch to allow locking and unlocking from inside the car, as well as a factory-fitted alarm system.


In addition to these features, exclusive to the updated Elegance model is a seven-inch display-audio system, located above the climate controls in the centre stack of the dashboard. The full-colour display incorporates an integrated reverse parking camera, which complements the newly-introduced rear parking sensors.


Visually, the Elegance model stands out thanks to its silver-hued front and rear bumper garnishes, chrome finishes for door handles and side door protectors, along with front fog lights. Leather-clad seats are supportive and comfortable, while Honda’s smart entry system allows convenient keyless unlocking and starting of the vehicle.


Though plastic finishes in the cabin tend to be hard to the touch, lines are clean and uncomplicated – the straightforward nature of controls and switchgear pleasing from an operational perspective.


On the road the BR-V responds in spritely fashion in urban driving, easily maintaining pace with traffic from robot to robot and generally offering a smooth ride. On the highway the vehicle is similarly accomplished, though at high revs – during overtaking manoeuvres, for instance – engine noise tends to intrude a little into the cabin.


That said, the ride is firm but pleasingly comfortable, the BR-V’s long wheelbase – 2 660mm between axles, 30mm longer than that of a larger sibling, the CR-V – contributing to a feeling of solidity on the road. Be aware, though, that none of the derivatives in the range feature traction or stability control.


Depending on model, Honda claims that fuel consumption in the combined cycle ranges between 6,2 and 6,3 litres per 100km – commendable for a seven-seat SUV. In all, the upgraded BR-V lives up to its reputation of offering dependable, comfortable and economical family transportation.



1,5 Trend Manual       R274 400

1,5 Comfort Manual   R309 000

1,5 Comfort CVT        R329 000

1,5 Elegance Manual  R333 300

1,5 Elegance CVT      R353 000