Americans and Europeans associate Honda and subcompact crossovers with the HR-V, but in some Asian countries, the BR-V also slots in the B-segment. Its name is an acronym for "Bold Runabout Vehicle" and the model is now entering its second generation, replacing the original model launched in 2015. It's less sophisticated and therefore more affordable than the better-known HR-V while offering three-row seating.
Honda isn't saying whether the platform has changed for the second generation, but we do know the first one had its mechanical roots in the Mobilio minivan, which itself is based on the Brio small hatchback, an entry-level car positioned below the Jazz/Fit. To be brutally honest, it's certainly not the prettiest subcompact crossover out there, especially in terms of the rear styling, but the vehicle has a lot going for it in the grand scheme of things.
It's a lot safer than before by adopting the array of Honda Sensing suite of systems, such as lane-keeping assistant, collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, and road departure mitigation. It packs six airbags as standard and boasts automatic high beams, not to mention blind-spot monitoring and a lead car departure notification system, which tells the driver when the car in front stops and moves away.
Power is provided by a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter i-VTEC gasoline engine producing 120 hp at 6,600 rpm and 107 lb-ft (145 Nm) of torque from 4,300 rpm. Output is channeled to the front wheels through a CVT, which Honda says is new and more efficient. That said, the HR-V only meets Euro 4 standards, which were first implemented in the European Union back in 2005.
Since its launch six years ago, the BR-V has generated more than 255,000 sales, with 30 percent delivered in Indonesia where the new crossover was revealed this week, and also one of the countries where it'll be manufactured. It is programmed to go on sale locally in January 2022 and is expected to carry a starting price of around $18,000 at current exchange rates.
It's worth noting the HR-V and BR-V are not the only subcompact crossovers Honda sells around the world as South America and India have the smaller WR-V as a high-riding, third-generation Fit/Jazz. Adding to the confusion, the Dongfeng Honda joint venture in China is selling the HR-V as the XR-V while in Japan the HR-V is called Vezel. Did we miss any?