Friday, January 06, 2017
Honda Malaysia launches the Honda BR-V and some thoughts of it against its competitors - Alza, Avanza, Ertiga, Sienta
Honda Malaysia launched the Honda BR-V earlier today. It is priced from RM85,800 (OTR w Insurance) for the 1.5L E and RM90.013.33 for the 1.5L V high specced variant.
First launched in Indonesia in 2015, it was developed by Honda Research and Development (R&D) Asia Pacific Co. Ltd. (HRAP), Thailand as well as PT. Honda R&D Indonesia. The BR-V is Honda's answer to developing country customer demands and needs for inexpensive SUV that rides higher, sleek design and capable to load 7 passengers at one trip. A Swiss Army knife type of car actually (which is why is does look like it has a big behind).
Of course, since it is for Asian markets built with cost in mind, it is powered by a sensible 1.5liter engine making 118ps/145Nm. Enough poke to move seven people up and down Genting Highlands and carry its SUV-like body. So it can carry seven (I can fit in the third row), has SUV looks and a smallish engine one shouldnt expect it more than what is actually is. A Honda SUV cum MPV that is priced affordably for you and me. They have the Civic 1.5 Turbo for those that want a rush.
I think this BR-V is going to sell. Firstly, it is something called a Honda. This means that most Malaysians think highly of the brand. Quality, reliability and sportier than a Toyota. It has SUV looks instead of just like an MPV. This also means that is sits higher on the road which is a plus point for a lot of people these days (SUV sales are climbing all the time).
Its competitors in the compact MPV/SUV segment
If you compare this new launch with the other small 6 or 7 seater competitors it could be the one which is eyed by many. You have the long in the tooth Perodua Alza 1.5. This has been around for quite a while. It still looks very modern but I personally think that it is a little tight (for larger people - like Yours Truly) when seated in the third row of seats. This is the drawback of the Alza. As for the rest, I kind of like it as it sits low on the ground and is quite a stable looking people carrier. More like a Myvi station wagon in some ways. With prices starting from RM52,000 to RM67,000, and a slew of features, this is a good choice. if you don't have large adults to ferry around most of the time. The third row is much more suited for smaller sized people.
The Toyota Avanza makes do with an ancient platform. the second generation Avanza isn't something I would recommend to anyone. Well, except people I don't like of course. I would recommend it to an African dictator or two. But not to friends. It looks like Toyota took a truck, made it smaller and plastered a large Toyota shield-like grille on to it. It has a newer dual vvt 1.5liter engine but the rest is old. It is a mere reskin of a third world transport first launched in 2003. (From RM71,538 for the 1.3, RM78,200+ for the 1.5E and above). I'd rather be driving a BR-V obviously. I mean, look at the photo above lah.
The newly launched Toyota Sienta is quite cool to drive around in. It may actually be a quite a good purchase as it is newly launched and it looks good. Slightly overly styled but with (power) sliding doors it does make sense for a lot of families. If not for its 'from RM92,000' starting price. It is a Toyota and people here like Toyota. You do not see many of these on the road and I think its a price issue for this MPV.
The newly launched Proton Ertiga nee Suzuki Ertiga. Nice enough with its 1.4liter engine. Sits six (or seven) people comfortably enough. I managed to get into the third row seats without any problems. I see this as a proper people carrier like the BR-V. It however is more conservative looking than the BR-V. It has the extra ride height like the BR-V but it is styled like a MPV instead of a SUV. The 1.4liter engine provides adequate performance. It isn't fast, but it would do its job well. Rear air blowers is a plus point, like the BR-V though. The plus point about the Ertiga is that it is 99.9933459311% Suzuki. Only that badge front and rear comes from Proton (that too actually provided by Suzuki's vendors).
You are actually buying a Suzuki Swift which was stretched, widened and has high heels, which more load carrying capacity whilst being slightly slower. That being said, Genting Highlands isn't an issue, it rides comfortably and is quite refined at 120kmh. From RM58,800, you are also getting a larger car cheaper than when Suzuki Malaysia sold the Swift. I would suggest that people take a look at the Ertiga due to this. Indonesia and India have embraced it (Even as a rebadged Mazda in Indonesia)
So there you have it folks, a comparison. Personally, I would look at the BR-V if you want a people carrying SUV and price aside. I would look at the Ertiga if I wanted a people carrying MPV which is also as Japanese as the BR-V but so much cheaper. And since I have a soft spot for the Malaysian company I would put money on the cheaper Ertiga as it would be as capable as the BR-V in almost everything except the styling factor. And I can use the extra money saved to go on holiday. Or save it for a better car after six or seven years as you're still buying something entry level here you know.
The Alza like the Ertiga is one of the most affordable in terms of price but not people carrying space (which is better in the BR-V and Ertiga) - luggage space it may have more than the Ertiga but I would prefer third row leg and head room.
The Sienta if I had extra money to blow. And you know what I would avoid like the plague.