The Compact Carrier/SUV Segment is one of the hottest stages in the Philippine automotive market. From competitive prices, practical cabins, and versatility for almost any occasion – the segment is filled with cars that meet the general needs of most Filipino consumers. In recent years, however, these people carriers have gone beyond simply meeting the basic requirements as they were able to reach a promising marriage between SUV styling and MPV practicality. In 2016, Honda was first to offer such a vehicle with the BR-V – a few years before the arrival of its direct competitors, the Xpander and the Rush.
After a successful launch and gracing the cover of our July issue, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) invited the C! Team and fellow media groups for a test drive of the refreshed 2019 Honda BR-V to Anvaya Cove in Bataan. But we didn’t take the typical route to get to get there. From SCTEX, we took an exit prior to Subic for a scenic and spirited drive along twisty rural roads, and even muddy terrain on a mountain.
The 2019 BR-V maintains the same powertrain as the pre-facelifted model. Connected with Honda’s Earth Dreams CVT, the 1.5-liter engine still produces 116 bhp at 6,600 rpm and 107 lb-ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm. Having the same powertrain might not sound exciting, but it remains to be one of the more agile and capable packages in the segment. Now, it was only a short drive up north, but we were able to smoothly overtake big trucks in both the expressways and provincial roads of Bataan. In the past, we’ve encountered some CVTs that made the engine roar once the accelerator is stepped on, but the pull was barely felt. During this initial test drive, we honestly found the BR-V’s overtaking capacity surprising considering its size, and the three people and cargo it carried throughout the trip. MPVs need to be versatile whether in the city or provinces, and the BR-V’s high-speed performance during our first drive was quite promising.
The middle part of the drive to Anvaya Cove was definitely the most exciting part of the trip. We were told that we would be passing roads affected by landslides from the recent rain showers, but we didn’t expect mushy terrain with on-going road construction. These were deep muddy parts we weren’t sure normal sedans could cross, but we were able to take it on in the BR-V without much drama. The experience was somewhat nerve-racking but mostly exciting as we traversed the unpaved, twisty path.
Now on paved, winding roads with minimal traffic, it was the perfect time to test handling and more of the acceleration towards the latter half of the drive. The slight understeer along the twisties were understandable, but the BR-V held its own in the handling department – especially for an MPV/Compact SUV. Some trucks were encountered again along the way, but overtaking was never really a problem.
MPVs have always been known to be versatile people carriers. But these cars have entered a new era in recent time – one where refinement and excitement have become important formulas. Honda was first to take the blueprint of an everyday MPV and combine it qualities of an SUV. Now faced with new competition, the arrival of the refreshed 2019 Honda BR-V is only timely.
|Cylinder Head||Aluminum, sohc, 4 valves per cylinder|
|Fuel Injector||Programmed Fuel Injection|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||116 bhp @ 6,600 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||107 @ 4,600 rpm|
|Transmission||Earth Dreams Technology Continuously Variable Transmission|
|Top Speed||184 km/h|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||10.2 sec.|
|What's Great||Agile for its dimensions, drives like a hatchback, well-built in its class|
|What's Not So||NVH levels could be improved|
|C! Editors Rating||PhP 1,155,000.00|