First Drive Honda BR-V Prestige with Honda Sensing: Improvement is not just a gimmick

 we finally got the opportunity to take part in the media test drive of the All New Honda BR-V. The activity held by Honda Prospect Motor (HPM) will last for two days, 11-12 January 2022. The route is from Jakarta-Semarang-Solo. All unit tests presented by HPM are the BR-V Prestige with Honda Sensing variant.

This test drive agenda with out-of-town travel routes can be used as proof of the new BR-V to experience the performance, comfort, and function aspects of every feature of Honda Sensing. The reason is that the manufacturer claims that this latest LSUV has experienced a series of improvements in terms of technology. Then how the impression, let's find out.

First Drive Honda BR-V Prestige
First Drive Honda BR-V Prestige

New Shades of Interior

The first time you enter the cabin, the All New Honda BR-V offers many new things. The nuance is much different from the previous model. The cockpit space really spoils the driver and first row passengers. The seat is designed in the style of a semi bucket, feels comfortable. But the seating position for us is relatively low for the size of the LSUV. Unless you have set the seat at maximum height. Even so, the foam is quite thick and is wrapped in dark synthetic leather. 

Don't expect more for the seat arrangement, because there is no electric system yet, but it's still a conventional lever. The head room and leg room are quite spacious. Visibility is wide enough, there are no annoying ornaments. For the driver and front passenger, a center console box is provided with a cover that can be an armrest. But unfortunately, for our body size is too low. Even so, it is enough to support tired arms when traveling long distances. While the right side has a backrest in the groove of the door trim, it's also nice to be covered in leather.

Leather wrap also wraps the steering wheel with a color matching the dashboard, giving an elegant effect. For hands that often sweat, this is very helpful, the handle is not easy to slip. Meanwhile, setting the All New Honda BR-V steering wheel only relies on up and down telescopic. But interestingly there is a steering switch for MID, multimedia and telephone, and mainly there is a safety system called Honda Sensing. On the right is full of buttons for MID, Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) and adaptive cruise control, buttons to adjust how close or far the car is in front of us. Excellent!

Just behind the steering wheel, there is a lever for the wipers and headlights with Auto High-Beam technology. The button for the Honda Lane Watch is at the end of the right lever which incorporates the turn signal and the lamp. Security on the left side of the car is guaranteed, because it can be seen visually on the head unit screen. The speedometer design is similar to that of the Honda City Hatchback RS. It's just that the latest BR-V MID display looks bigger and has lots of information options.

Door trim is still dominated by plastic materials. Likewise with the dashboard. But there is a little sweetener on the left side. There is a soft touch of leather combined with a piano black color. In the middle we can find a digital air conditioner and a 7-inch touch screen head unit. Underneath there is a cup holder and two USB ports and a 12V power outlet. Very useful for charging gadget batteries.

Overall, the All New Honda BR-V has a 7-seater passenger capacity. One of the advantages of this car's middle row seats is the presence of three adjustable headrests. This is not owned by LSUV in the same class as the Xpander Cross and XL7. When sitting on the left side, the buttocks feel something is up. It turned out that there was a seat belt lock that we thought didn't fit inside. But it became forgotten when the handrest was lowered. Apart from this, the middle seat can be adjusted back and forth plus recline settings. So you can adjust the height of the passengers.

For the third row of seats can not be adjusted back and forth. But fortunately, it can still recline even though it doesn't fall too much. Access to the back is relatively easy. Because the middle seat can be folded with just one pull of the lever, its position is on the side of the seat.

For the comfort aspect, there is a double blower AC which is mandatory for a three-row bench car. Passengers in the middle seat get one 12V power outlet, which is located on the center console. Being at the back gets near the window on the right. Luckily we brought an additional connector, during the trip we could charge our smartphone.

Driving Experience

The keyless remote is at hand, it's time to go on a trip. Oh yes, we were given the opportunity to try out the All New BR-V Prestige with Honda Sensing. This variant has a smart entry feature embedded. This means we don't need to interact with the remote, the lock can be opened by touching the door handle. Once ready to go, just press the engine start / stop button.

But in the new BR-V, it's nice to add Walk-Away Auto Lock to the system. As soon as the remote that we carry away from the car, it can lock automatically. In addition, the remote can now start the vehicle remotely via Remote Engine Start. In our opinion, this technology is considered advanced in the LSUV class. It's easy, first press the bottom button for 5 seconds, then press the unlock button. Voila, the car and AC automatically turn on.

The journey starts from Senayan Park, Jakarta to The Wujil Resort & Conventions, Ungaran, Semarang. Most of the routes we took were the Jakarta-Cikampek-Trans Java toll road. During the test drive session with a distance of approximately 475 km, we tested all aspects of the All New Honda BR-V. Of course, the main thing is to try the features of Honda Sensing.

First, in terms of performance, we think the sensation is very different from the previous model. The change from SOHC to DOHC 1.5 liter i-VTEC is very pronounced. The new engine, which is the same as the Honda City, gets a touch on the torque curve. When we accelerate on the Trans Java toll road, the energy is responsive at lower rpm to a speed of 60-80 kph, after that we value the performance as similar to the old version.

But it's a different story if the transmission moves to S (Sport) mode, when you step on the gas pedal, aggressive torque can be channeled properly. The pleasure of driving is felt, the acceleration seems to unite with the sound of the engine. For the record, this L15ZF-coded engine has 121 ps or 119 hp and 145 Nm of torque, the same output as the latest City.

In terms of stability, we can say that the All New Honda BR-V is better than the initial generation. Although it still uses a combination of McPherson struts at the front and Torsion beams at the rear, with geometric adjustments, it feels more balanced in terms of damping ability. Not too soft or hard. For example, on the Batang-Kendal toll road, there are many potholes and asphalt cracks. He is able to provide better damping and comfort. Even when passing long turns, body roll is minimized and doesn't feel so unsteady.

With the new structure and the wheelbase extended by 40mm, when trying to swerve to avoid potholes it still feels pretty steady. Of course, this is also helped by Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) which is specifically designed to stabilize vehicle maneuvers. Steering is also more obedient with more controlled tail movement. In our opinion, this character is very fun.

Oh yes, because we were traveling in a group, the car was forced to be in a zigzag position. Well, here we can try the Honda LaneWatch feature. When you want to change lanes by activating the left turn signal, the image of the left blind spot area will automatically appear on the center screen. But the eyes can't lie, they still see conventionally from the left rearview mirror. You know, still not used to it.

In terms of comfort in addition to the feel of the new interior, the cabin secrecy feels very different from its predecessor. Wind noise can be minimized properly. Even so, when the gas pedal is fully pressed, the sound of wheel articulation and the rhythmic hum of the engine can still be heard, but not as loud as the old model. The vibration is also quieter, because the side mounted and trans mounting have been optimized.

Regarding fuel consumption, during a trip of approximately 400 kilometers at a relatively high and constant speed, the MID on the BR-V shows a figure of 16.4 km/liter. It's pretty standard for a 7-seater Low SUV class with a 1,500 cc engine.

Honda Sensing Feature Test

This latest model is inserted the ability to monitor external conditions and respond or act actively according to certain parameters. Presented to increase safety while driving while increasing comfort.

During the testing session, trying out the driving assistant features was the most fun part. The features that are often used are the Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and the Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM). In principle, these two features work to keep the car in position so it doesn't go out of line without the driver realizing it. Both also help the vehicle in a safe position.

It is evident that when the car starts to deviate from the lane without operating a turn signal, there is a subtle vibration on the steering wheel and a visual warning appears in the MID section. For those who are not used to it, it may be a bit strange, because there is a steering wheel correction to keep the car from leaving the road markings or dividing line. Oh yes, LKAS is active when the vehicle is moving at a speed of 72 km/hour or more.

The next feature that is quite intense when traveling from Jakarta to Ungaran is Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Can work when the car is already at a speed of 30 km / h and so on. Because we go hand in hand, this technology is very helpful. Can keep the car in front in a safe position at a constant speed. Ease again, there are three levels of distance options and automatically adjust the speed with the vehicle in front of us. Crossing the toll road is safer.

Next up is the Lead Car Departure Notification System (LCDN). This feature is often used when in traffic jams and in traffic lights. If another vehicle in front starts moving and we haven't moved, there will be a warning in the form of visual and audio on the MID screen. Thank you for your attention.

Other assistance includes Auto-High Beam, just turn the lever that resides in the lamp setting to the Auto position, then the main lamp lighting can automatically adjust. As we went through the tunnel and as evening approached, the beams of light came on. You can also intuitively adjust between the headlights and night lights, so as not to dazzle other drivers from the opposite direction.

Then the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS). This feature is actually very important but less intense because the route we took was a toll road. But there's nothing wrong with trying the sensitivity of this technology when in line at the toll gate. When the car is too fast to close the distance with the vehicle or other object in front, the system immediately gives a warning. If we don't respond, the system immediately takes over to brake automatically, even until the car stops.

New Design

Regarding the design, when compared to the old model, of course, there are many changes on the front. Now more modern. The new BR-V sports an inverted trapezoid-style grille. The vertical blades are neatly clad in chromium. Connected with LED headlamp and LED DRL on each side. In contrast to the old model, the front is made narrowed in a parallelogram pattern. Then the hood is now more upright as an SUV accent.

Not only the front, the body design also now looks attractive. You could say a combination of MPV and SUV. If previously the SUV design approach was very pronounced, now the design lines are more dynamic with firm lines blending from the front to the back. Even so, the adventure character persisted. Formed from black fenders or wheel brows around the body. The bumper is more prominent following the protector at the bottom.

On the side, the rims that used to be 16 inches have now been changed to 17 inches with an aggressive new design. The back doesn't look much changed, but now it is equipped with a rear combi lamp equipped with an LED light bar.


From this test drive session, we got the impression that the second generation Honda BR-V offers a refined driving refinement compared to its predecessor, even its rivals. A series of updates and upgrades from the platform to the engine gives this 7-seater SUV an edge over its rivals.

Moreover, all the features included in Honda Sensing are presented comprehensively. A series of improvements in terms of safety and security technology is not just a gimmick. Its safety features cannot be underestimated, it is only natural that its level can be higher than its competitors.

During testing, we also felt that the All New BR-V was quieter, had more damping balance, and was more fun in terms of handling. Plus also the engine performance is denser in the lower rounds. Very helpful in stop and go conditions.

It's just that there is a little suggestion from us, namely the manufacturer can provide a defogger for the rear glass. Due to heavy rain along the Trans Java toll road, the view is somewhat obstructed due to condensation or fog. Hopefully in the next version or facelift it can be given.

And another important note from us is that, even though the All New BR-V has been equipped with smart features, all vehicle control remains in the hands of the driver. Honda Sensing technology only helps reduce the risk of an accident if all variables are met.


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