The perfect middle ground? – 2023 Honda BR-V 1.5 V CVT

The Honda BR-V has continued to sell very well since its first entry into the PH 7-seater segment. With 3 variants to choose from we now have a “middle ground” where the brand can – and should – find a good way to balance features and cost. The V variant is exactly that, at least that’s what it’s meant to be and do. Does it bring the best value for money given what it offers? Here’s what we think.

No “middle child syndrome” for the 2023 Honda BR-V V variant

2023 Honda Br-V V Inline 01

Before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s just have a look at the 2023 BR-V’s appearance first. Looks good, doesn’t it? We certainly think so. The previous generation was a good mix of rounded and sharp-edged corners, but in keeping up with Honda’s new design language, the boxier approach for this generation works very well to give it a more mature and dare we say it aggressive look.

If you think its front end looks familiar, that’s because it takes cues from its bigger cousin the CR-V. That said, it looks more SUV than an MPV this time around. The slatted chrome grill has been done away with and in its place is a black piece – still with horizontal strips – with a solitary chrome accent at the very top. This piece incorporates very neatly into the LED headlight assemblies.

A lot of black accent pieces also make their way to the BR-V’s front end from the rear bumper garnish to the foglight housings.

2023 Honda Br-V V Inline 02

These black pieces continue to the side and rear end of the BR-V as well. The familiar fender flare pieces are still on this generation of the BR-V, giving it a more sporting appeal. The predominantly black side skirts are given a bit more life by way of a silver insert, and that adds the bit of “class” that the MPV needs. This silver accent piece has also been added to the rear bumper and it makes what would otherwise have been a dry black bumper skirt look livelier.

The side being mentioned, we can see 17″ two-tone wheels, silver roof racks, and a straighter, flatter roofline compared to the sloping design of the previous-gen BR-V. Like we said, boxier but a lot stronger as far as its appearance goes.

2023 Honda Br-V V Inline 03

The inside does differ from the rest of the current lineup’s looks, though. Still sporting the overall design from an older design language, you still get a more “conventional” looking dashboard. The BR-V V has a dual analog gauge cluster, a 4.2″ MID, a 7″ infotainment touch screen, plus automatic climate control buttons. These are actual buttons, none of the haptic types found in older models of Honda, so that makes for a better feel when toggling the A/C.

2023 Honda Br-V V Inline 04

Soft touch points also make their way into the BR-V V variant, so that alone makes you feel not-short-changed. The seats are upholstered in leather, and the aforementioned soft touch points make their way to the dashboard and the door sidings. One good thing is that the driver’s seat has a seat adjuster, which many people may need to make for better driving and seating comfort. Something to nitpick about, though, is that the steering wheel is only tilt-adjustable. This goes for all variants of the BR-V, so no loss there, but it would be nice to have a telescopic adjustment, too.

2023 Honda Br-V V Inline 05

As far as comfort goes, the BR-V still ticks the right boxes. Having driven almost all variants of the previous generation(s), I can say that it has only gotten better. From the start, the BR-V was always a very comfortable MPV compared to its competitors. The 2023 model seems to have made a few more adjustments and has softened just a little bit more, making for less rattles and vibrations. The seats still lack lateral bolstering, but this isn’t a fast-attack-cornering machine after all, so a leisurely drive won’t throw you to the sides at all.

Seats being mentioned, padding is very good. Being stuck in standstill traffic or going out for a long drive on the highway won’t give you a backache, and that is always a good thing. That goes for the front and the rear seats. Headroom, shoulder room, and legroom are excellent in the front row, and surprisingly good in the 2nd row. The shoulder room does leave a little bit to be desired, but normal-built adults can fit in there with no need for a squeeze.

2023 Honda Br-V V Gallery 05

The 3rd row, on the other hand, while impressive – it’s probably one of if not the most spacious 3rd row in the segment – should still be reserved for children. A normal-sized adult will find it a bit of a jam to sit in, even though getting in and out of the 3rd row is rather easy. Don’t expect to be able to scoot in and out quickly, but with the 2nd row folded and tumbled forward, there’s enough space to not hit the underseat to get in the back.

If anything, the 3rd row also has good cushioning on the seat and the backrest, so that will also make for a comfortable ride for the kiddos.

2023 Honda Br-V V Inline 06

Cargo space is something you won’t lack with the BR-V. With bottle holders, cupholders, and cubby holes aplenty, there will always be a place to stow your belongings whether you’re in front, in the middle, or even in the 3rd-row seats. The trunk features a floorboard that makes for bi-level storage; it doesn’t make for much space, but smaller objects like shoes and boxes can be kept away from prying eyes since the BR-V doesn’t come with a tonneau cover, or any cover for that matter.

With the 2nd row’s 60:40 split with one-touch tumble, and the 3rd row’s 50:05 split, putting both rows down gives you a whole lot of space to work with, and whether it’s a wide box, a long board, or a tall plant, you’ll have space enough to bring it around, that’s for sure.

2023 Honda Br-V V Inline 07

Powering the BR-V V is a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder DOHC i-VTEC engine that puts out 121 HP. It’s mated to a CVT and together they put out 145 Nm of torque, enough to be able to haul 7 people (as it’s meant to) or a few people plus cargo. It was never meant to be quick nor fast, but those worrying about not being able to pull or start off the line when loaded, put your minds at ease. The BR-V has more than enough to get the job done. In the worst of traffic conditions, we were able to make 9.7 km/L, but on open roads, we went up to a much better 10.5 km/L reading.

On the trivial side, as we said, the suspension is very well-tuned, with no rattles, no shudders, and no vibrations at all. It feels well planted and we didn’t come across any feelings of instability on braking or turning. Again, it’s not meant to carve corners, but you’ll be glad to know that the BR-V is a pretty stable MPV.

Here’s the kicker as far as the “value for money” and “perfect middle ground” argument. The BR-V V does come with standard safety features as standard, and the list includes front and side airbags, a reverse camera, parking sensors, ABS, EBD, VSA, HSA, an alarm, an immobilizer, and ISOFIX anchors. Again, pretty standard.

That said, it does not come with Honda SENSING. The brand’s proprietary safety suite comes with a lot of other safety goodies like adaptive cruise control, auto high beam, lead car departure notification, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, and lane departure warning. All these can only be found in the range-topping VX variant, but of course, that was something to be expected given the V variant’s pricing, yes?

2023 Honda Br-V V Inline 08

Okay, so now, the rub. The BR-V V is priced at PHP 1,295,000. At that price, you were already getting the top-of-the-line (TOTL) variant of the previous generation. But let’s put things into perspective. Back then, the TOTL did not have Honda SENSING either, so was there a bit of a trade-off here? Sort of.

The mid-grade variant now passes off as the previous gen’s “replacement”, and with what you’re getting, we will dare say it is more than good enough. The standard safety features can and will do their job to keep you safe on the road, and the addition of SENSING may just be “extra sauce” to make things “safeR”. The BR-V V is already safe, the VX, is just safer. And that’s it. For the most part, the differences between the V and VX are mostly aesthetic plus SENSING. At a PHP 95,000 difference, we think that’s struck a good compromise.

So does the Honda BR-V V find the perfect middle ground in a 3-variant family? We say that yes, it does. With more power and pull compared to the competition, with the build quality and reliability of a Honda, and its pretty darned good looks, it will give you your money’s worth, for sure.

More 2023 Honda BR-V 1.5 V Photos

2023 Honda Br-V V Gallery 03(1) 2023 Honda Br-V V Gallery 04 2023 Honda Br-V V Gallery 06 2023 Honda Br-V V Gallery 07 2023 Honda Br-V V Gallery 09 2023 Honda Br-V V Gallery 10 2023 Honda Br-V V Gallery 02 2023 Honda Br-V V Gallery 01a

Mikko Juangco
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