Since it was launched at the 2016 Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS), Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) has sold almost 15,000 units of the BR-V making it the brand's second best-selling nameplate second only to the Honda City.
Tweaked in just the right places, the refreshed BR-V is bolder and more masculine, yet also more refined. The refreshed compact 7-seater sports a larger chrome front grille, and new front and rear bumpers, new 16-inch alloy wheels. The V variant also now has LED Daylight Running Lights, a Sharks Fin antenna, Smart Entry with Push Start System, and Paddle Shifters, features that were once only found in more expensive models.
As with the exterior upgrades, the changes to the interior where subtle but have a big impact, including the improved Dark Steel color. Those who prefer a lighter interior may opt to go for the S variant that has the gray-colored headliner, paired with black and gray fabric seats. On the other hand, the V variant gets the sportier black headliner paired with black leather seats with red accents that can also be found on the leather steering wheel, shifter knob, and interior door panel. For parents with small children, ISO-FIX is standard for all variants, and so is the reverse camera.
To test the new BR-V, HCPI hosted an overnight trip to Bataan. The drive started from BGC in Taguig and ended in Anvaya Resort in Morong. Thanks to the Low-Pressure Area that was affecting Central Luzon at the time of the drive, what would have been an easy and relaxing drive proved to be an eventful one. Besides taking a longer route to maximize seat time, we drove in all sorts of weather conditions - from dry and sunny, to zero visibility in torrential rain - fully utilizing the new safety and driver-assist additions to the refreshed SUV.
Traveling in the BR-V was easy from the get-go. While far from being the most luxurious accommodations from Honda, the basics are all covered, plus more. The BR-V has a roomy interior, the controls are familiar, and the seats are comfortable. Despite the changing external temperatures, the air conditioning kept the cabin climate constant throughout the drive, and (in our case) Apple CarPlay kept our music flowing.
On the road, the BR-V is stable and feels solid even on higher speeds. Acceleration isn't the fastest, but it remains to be the most powerful in its class with its Euro-4 compliant 1.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC gasoline engine paired with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Braking is responsive, steering is is predictable, and more importantly, there were no weird vibrations from the engine or anywhere else.
The highlight of the route was driving through the twisties of the 40+ kilometer Bagac-Mariveles Road. Though the majority of the road was already cemented, there were still portions near Bagac that was under construction. Truth be told, these wet and slippery portions were a bit alarming for fear of getting stuck in the mud. Thankfully, this was where the BR-V proved its mettle with its handling capabilities supported by its improved active and passive safety features and its 201 mm ground clearance. Even without a 4x4 drivetrain, we cleared the sketchy portions unscathed.
With the sea on the left and lush mountainside on the right, its bucolic setting was photogenic any which way you looked. The newly cemented roads were fun to drive and well worth navigating through the sludge.
Overall, the BR-V has proved to be a capable vehicle worthy of your hard-earned cash. It's perfect for small families who need something bigger than a sub-compact, but still, want to enjoy similar fuel economy and movability. With the number of upgrades it received despite the minor bump in the ticket price, the BR-V provides a very good value for money proposition and worthy of your hard-earned peso.
The new Honda BR-V is available in two trims: the 1.5 V CVT priced at Php 1,155,000 and the 1.5 S CVT priced at Php 1,035,000. Available colors include Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, Premium Amber Metallic, Taffeta White (1.5 S CVT only), Passion Red Pearl (new color, for 1.5 V CVT only), and Platinum White Pearl (new color, for 1.5 V CVT only, for an additional Php 20,000).