Honda BR-V premiere Indonesia 63

We’ve seen the Honda BR-V Prototype in its standard and kitted-up forms, and we already know initial specifications of the three model grades of the SUV that will go on sale in Indonesia next year. Now, it’s time to explore the seven-seater – which had its world premiere at the 2015 Gaikindo Indonesian International Auto Show (GIIAS) late last week – in greater detail.

Design elements include what the automaker describes as an “active solid motion exterior,” with ‘tough’ and ‘premium’ descriptors no less, and it does look quite rugged, though final product is perhaps less aggressively style than that placed out on the initial sketches, especially at the front.

As highlighted previously, key exterior elements include a solid wing face, wide appearance headlights, wrap-around LED rear lights, prominent roof rails for all grades of the car and new design 16-inch alloys.

At 4,455 mm long (or 4,460 mm, if you follow that in a presentation slide), 1,735 mm wide and 1,650 mm tall, the BR-V is aimed squarely at the similarly-sized Daihatsu Terios/Toyota Rush facelift, the latter measuring in at 4,420 mm long, 1,745 mm wide, 1,740 mm tall.

Essentially, the Honda is slightly longer, marginally narrower and quite a bit shorter in height than its competitor, and its 2,660 mm-long wheelbase is just a shade less than that on the Rush (2,685 mm).

Nonetheless, Honda took great pains to highlight the BR-V’s superiority in many aspects via a technical presentation by Atsushi Arisaka, Large Project Leader of the BR-V project.

Primarily, these were in areas of interior space and performance; without specifically mentioning figures, the automaker touts better head and knee clearance for the second-row seats as well as more leg room for the third-row seats over that in a BR-V competitor, which though unnamed, happens to be the Rush.

Honda BR-V presentation Indonesia 8

The latter has better second-row leg room compared to the Honda, but moving further back, the BR-V is claimed to ace the Rush in terms of cargo area flexibility – it has a lower floor height (for better loading/unloading access), a marginally wider rear gate and better overall capacity, though the volume of the last wasn’t disclosed.

Mention was also made about the BR-V’s performance – its 1.5 litre i-VTEC mill offers it a better 0-100 km/h sprint time as well as better fuel consumption (measured via an EU test cycle), and the automaker says the BR-V is significantly better in virtually all areas of ride and handling.

Improvements over the competition include low-level speed comfort, smoothness of ride, body vibration, straight line stability as well as stability over rough roads. The automaker added that the BR-V is also a quieter offering – NVH treatment includes the addition of a floor carpet mat sheet and the use of insulation sheets on the hood, doors and roof lining.

The engine, which offers 120 PS at 6,600 rpm and 145 Nm at 4,600 rpm, is of course familiar from the the City and Jazz. As reported earlier, two transmissions will be available for the vehicle in Indonesia – an Earth Dreams CVT with a torque converter and a new six-speed manual gearbox. Though no specific figure was given, the claimed fuel consumption for the BR-V is said to be no less than 15 km/l.

During the Q&A session, the question was asked if the BR-V was designed to be able to utilise the company’s new 1.5 litre VTEC turbo and if there were any plans to introduce it to the car, to which Arisaka said the BR-V has been designed to be able to use it, but there were no plans to do so at present, though he didn’t discount a possibility of that coming about if there was sufficient market demand.

The aspect of safety was also delved upon – Arisaka ventured that the automaker is anticipating that the BR-V will score top marks in ASEAN NCAP testing when the time comes. As standard, the BR-V features two airbags, ABS and EBD as well as Isofix mounting points and, on the range-topping model, VSA and hill-start assist.

Honda BR-V presentation Indonesia 1

Though the airbag count for the republic is two, Arisaka said that the BR-V has been designed to accommodate six airbags, so we could well see the high-spec model in some markets utilising more than the two inflators seen here. We do know that India will be a key market aside from ASEAN, but potentially, the car could even make it to Australia, given the six airbag possibility and the incorporation of VSA, which is found on the top-of-the-range Prestige model.

Based on the illustration of the front interior layout, the BR-V’s dashboard follows on that seen in the City and Jazz styling-wise, but there are some cues borrowed from the Mobilio MPV, which it of course shares many commonalities with – a roof-mounted AC blower placed on the second row is but one. Novelties include one-touch tumble feature second-row seats and 50:50 fold-down third-row seats.

As covered in our earlier post detailing specifications, three grades will be available for the car when it goes on sale in Indonesia next year, a baseline 1.5L S (only available with a six-speed manual transmission), a midline 1.5L E (in manual or CVT) and a high-spec 1.5L Prestige, only available with a CVT. Pricing will range from 230 to 265 million rupiah (RM68k to RM78k) in the republic.

Honda BR-V Prototype at GIIAS 2015