A lot has been said for every newly launched vehicle in the country that for it to be tested credibly on the road it must be able to scale the heights of Baguio City. As for all group test drives, the usual route is via Kennon or Marcos Highway but in the case of this new 2023 Honda BR-V media drive, the invited media partners were surprised that the road chosen to climb the mountain city is the less-traveled, always avoided most challenging Benguet-Asin Road. If that’s not a showcase of confidence in your brand-new car, then I don’t know what is.
The dreaded steep winding roads of Baguio via the Asin road are indeed a challenge, as evidenced by the fact that prevailing vehicles traversing it are usually body-on-frame SUVs and pickups, not crossovers. The 2023 Honda BR-V with its reliable 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine, this time with a more capable dual overhead cam proved to be a capable performer with its engine delivering 120 hp and 145 Nm of torque mated with a new CVT providing a smoother and more efficient drive.
The drive up to Baguio City was organized in such a way that it will show off the fact that the new 2023 Honda BR-V was more than capable to handle its steep inclines. Indeed this was the case, but while it didn’t struggle to climb up Benguet-Asin Road, its engine noise under full throttle acceleration will be noticeable to everyone, especially due to how CVTs typically react to such situations. Still, the Honda BR-V’s taut handling, great highway stability, and more modern CVT make it one of the best in the segment when being driven on highways and twisty roads.
Speaking of twisty roads, the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver-assist features provided in the VX variant of the BRV is actually more of a need than want in these road conditions. But on the highway, the Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) securely keeps the vehicle at the center of the visible road lanes and in the best driving position as the steering guides you to follow the flow of the road. The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) also helped maintain a stable speed at a driver-determined distance from the vehicle in front, especially when driving in a convoy. The mentioned driving tools were demonstrated in TPLEX and some portions of uphill Asin Road where road markings are still visible
Other Honda Sensing features included are the Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS), Road Departure Mitigation System with Lane Departure Warning (RDM with LDW), Lead Car Departure Notification, and Auto-High Beam (AHB). These come on top of the usual suite of airbags, electronic stability control, ISOFIX child seat anchor points, hill start assist, and reverse camera. Side curtain airbags and the Honda LaneWatch Camera are exclusive on the top-grade VX, while parking sensors are available on both the VX and V variants of the BR-V.
The brave drive up to Baguio is in keeping with the stated goal the President of Honda Cars Philippines said during the event:
“What makes the BR-V stand out is what customers appreciate about it especially when they have experienced it first-hand. This is captured in the theme “Brave the next level” — In the midst of uncertainties and unpredictable changes, we long for something reliable, something we can trust. We appreciate advanced technology, but at the same time we don’t want to be alienated by it, we want the comfort it brings and its benefits. We definitely will not compromise safety and quality as we aim to deliver superior value throughout the ownership experience” said Mr. Masahiko Nakamura, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. President.
As with the mobility market growing strong preference for small seven-seater crossovers, the all-new BRV needs to be competitive in all aspects, and that includes its exterior. The new BR-V now exudes a stronger SUV appeal, starting with its higher ground clearance, dynamic body shape, stylish frontend, its set of available 17-inch alloy wheels (for CVT variants), and its newly designed LED headlights and taillights that look both stylish and functional.
Other exterior features also include LED fog lights for the S CVT, V CVT, and VX CVT variants, while the auto on-off headlight function is standard on the top-of-the-line VX CVT variant. Power folding side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals are available on both the mid-tier V CVT and top-of-the-line VX CVT.
Notably, the event’s test drive units also showcased the genuine accessories available for the new BR-V. Personalize your BR-V with Honda’s range of Genuine Accessories:
- Exhaust pipe finisher
- Tailgate garnish
- Front fender garnish
- Door mirror garnish
- Sidestep garnish
- Door visor
- Cargo tray
- Rear seat back protector
- Door handle protector
The alternating media drivers and passengers were able to see the comforts of the new 2023 Honda BR-V, such as a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, across all variants. Leather upholstery is exclusive to the VX CVT and V CVT variants, while the S CVT and S MT are treated with high-grade fabric. Other high-tech tech features include Remote Engine Start–which lets you start the engine before entering the vehicle to cool the cabin, and Walk Away Auto Lock–which locks the car when it senses you going further away from the vehicle with the key fob.
In summary, the 2023 Honda BR-V’s bolder SUV appeal and comfort upgrades with its practical and safety features mean that it would be a shame if this vehicle isn’t even on your shortlist. It also helps that it just doesn’t deliver in terms of looks and features, but it also offers one of the best–if not the best driving experience in its segment. After all, that is what Hondas are all about.
While new features come and go as trends change and shift, what will never fundamentally age is how well a car drives, and with the BR-V, you’ll be ensured a pleasant drive for years–even as tastes and preferences among car buyers ebb and flow.