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The Honda BR-V 1.5 V (Navi) CVT Modulo. Bravo, Honda!

CROSSOVERS. They're definitely the 'in' thing right now-from fashion, technology to food and many others.

Filipino basketball players nowadays, for one, are not anymore pure standouts from the provinces. They are either a mix of a Filipino-American, a Filipino-Japanese, Filipino-European or whatnot-as the Spartan world now requires those long limbs for wider reach, more improved genes for more strength and agility while still keeping that innate unique breed of our local race.

Take cars, for instance. Filipinos now yearn for something that's not too big, not too small-but just right. Families and barkada, specifically, now want something that can handle the load of everyday grind but still feels and handles like a car.

One thing to admire about Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) is its stable of crossover vehicles. Aside from the recently crowned Car of the Year-Philippines Honda CR-V SX Diesel, the Honda BR-V, particularly the 1.5 V Navi CVT Modulo variant, is a thing of beauty-if not one that is desired.

In fact, HCPI has just recently published its record milestone sales of 31,758 units sold in 2017 and with its double-digit growth of 37 percent, comes the BR-V's sudden rise to popularity with 7,212 units peddled. Not to mention it did only arrive on our shores just late 2016.

This seven-seater crossover sports that swanky tall body style which provides not just space but versatility.

This 1.5 V Navi Modulo, which this scribe was able to borrow for a few days, also won the hearts of the jurors during the last Car Awards Group Inc. test fest as the Best Compact Crossover 2WD. This brute stands at 1,666 mm tall, 4,456 mm long, 1,735 mm wide and has a ground clearance of 201 mm, which enables it to tread the jungles of Manila with ease and purpose. Its sharp edges complemented by a few modern accents with its tough-looking front fascia make it a clear standout on the road. And it being a Modulo makes it come with added swagger-LED running lamps, wraparound skirts and all.

in Photo: The swanky interior of the Honda BR-V

Inside, this animal is novel and chic. Seats don premium black leather. Equipped with steering wheel controls, double-Din touchscreen audio unit with Bluetooth telephony, USB input and Garmin navigation system, this variant seems to make David Hasselholff's Knight Rider more obsolete-even extinct.

Space-wise, the BR-V offers 223 liters of cargo capacity with the third row up at the back and quickly increases it to 521 liters if it's folded and tumbled.

Bringing life to this flashy beast is a 1.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder 16-valve engine paired with the Earth Dreams CVT, which produces 120 PS at 6,600 rpm and 145 N-m of torque at 4,600 rpm.

The Honda BR-V 1.5 V (Navi) CVT Modulo poses at the facade of Arca South in Taguig, where it won the 2017 COTY award for Best Compact Crossover 2WD.

I was able to personally take this BR-V variant for a spin during the last Christmas season, and it did prove to be sort of a reliable 'Santa's little helper' as I delivered a number of presents to friends and relatives around the metro. And since it was the holidays, I could attest to its superior ride quality and its leather seats pampered and prevented my body from spasm as Edsa became a huge parking lot from time to time.

Fuel economy-wise, it logged in about 6.0 km/l in heavy traffic and did a fine 14.1 km/l in long straights on the highway.

With the new added excise tax, the Honda BR-V 1.5 V (Navi) CVT Modulo is now priced at P1.210 million-a P16,000 tad more expensive than before.

With this carmaker's wonderful creation in this stunner and its stellar 2017 performance, all this writer could say is, 'Bravo, Honda!'

THUMBS UP

Push Start button

Superb exterior and interior design

Garmin Navigation System

Leather seats

THUMBS DOWN

Engine performance could be improved

Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) mitigation could be improved

Lacks grip on the road

Handling needs adjustment

Modulo accessories add weight

SPECIFICATIONS

Vehicle Honda BR-V 1.5 V Navi CVT Modulo

Type Compact Crossover 2WD

Engine 1.5 liter SOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder 16-valve engine paired with the Earth Dreams CVT

Maximum Power 120 PS @ 6600 rpm

Maximum Torque 145 N-m @ 4600 rpm

Transmission 5-Speed CVT

DIMENSIONS

Overall length 4,456 mm

Overall width 1,735 mm

Overall height 1,665 mm

Wheelbase 2,660 mm

PRICE AS TESTED

P1.194 million
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 25, 2018
Words:890
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