Andre De Kock
Motorsport Editor
3 minute read
18 Nov 2016
8:37 am

Honda BR-V looks distinctive with chunky body lines

Andre De Kock

Honda a suitable steed to pay homage to the new track.

Kyalami: the circuit has, for the largest part of this writer’s life, created wonderful memories.

The fondest came from my tender youth when two friends and I, having just matriculated, camped next to Crowthorne Corner at the original track, to experience the NineHour race weekend.

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It was a pivotal weekend in my life. For the first time, I got drunk. For the first time, I got laid. For the first time, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I wanted to get laid some more.

I also decided that I would, somehow, find a way to spend the rest of my life around motorsport and the people who partake in this cruel, crazy, beautiful game.

Thus, when the all-new Kyalami opened its gates to motorsport for the first time a month ago, I needed to be there – not just to work, but to pay homage.

The occasion demanded a fitting vehicle, and I had one – a Honda. In 1985, Nigel Mansell took a Williams Honda to the original circuit’s quickest ever lap, at an average speed of 236 km/h.

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I was there, and witnessed the brave, scary, ragged-edge driving feat with utter awe.

So, a Honda was a suitable steed to park in the new Kyalami pits. Not a high-performance Honda, true, but a Honda, none the less, and old motoring scribes can not be choosers.

I had the all new Honda BR-V, which has just been added to the manufacturer’s highly regarded local CR-V and HR-V sports utility vehicles. The BR-V looks distinctive, with chunky body lines, 16- inch alloy wheels, roof rails, a chrome-embellished front grille with a large logo that ensures it could never be identified as anything but a Honda plus large streamlined headlights.

More important for an SUV, it boasts a large interior with the option of a third row of seats, making it capable of accommodating seven adults in comfort.

Access to all seating positions is easy and convenient, thanks to split seat rows that can be tumbled forward at the pull of a lever. With the rear seats folded down, it has a large luggage space. In comfort terms, it offers air-conditioning, front and rear electric windows and remote keyless entry.

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A four-speaker audio system with USB connectivity is standard, and mobile phones can be linked to the system via Bluetooth. Active and passive safety are addressed via ABS anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags and inertia reel seat belts. Which brings us to the problem.

All derivatives of the new Honda BR-V are powered by the same 1.5l four-cylinder petrol engine. The SOHC unit uses Honda’s i-VTEC variable valve technology to produce 88kW of power at 6 600r/min, plus a torque peak of 145Nm at 4 600r/min.

The test vehicle was fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox.

And here is our gripe – the engine is simply not powerful enough to lug around a seven-seater SUV with conviction.

One has to rev the unit hard to keep up momentum, and it would not maintain 120 km/h in sixth gear on the highway on the slightest of uphill gradients.

With seven people in the car, the sixth gear would be as useless as our National Prosecuting Agency.

Which is a shame, since the rest of the vehicle is comfortable, roomy and, being a Honda, should prove reliable and durable. If ever a vehicle cried out for an 1 800cc turbodiesel powerplant, this is it.

The petrol engine – having to work hard to keep things moving – was also not as fuel frugal as a 1 500cc should be. The vehicle returned an average petrol consumption figure of 8.4l/100km during the test.

The Honda BR-V 1.5 Comfort Manual comes at a cost of R252 900.

The price includes the standard Honda five-year/200 000km warranty and three years of AA Roadside Assistance, plus a twoyear/30 000km service plan. Services are at 15 000 km intervals.