Driving the all-new Honda BR-V to Baguio

Passed with flying colors

Is a vehicle’s ability to go up to a Baguio still a yardstick for its capabilities? Your Titos probably still ask that to determine the worthiness of any car. It’s still a good and timely argument, as last week, our friends from Honda invited us to take the recently launched all-new Honda BR-V for a quick road trip up to Baguio.

With three or four of us in each vehicle and a long drive ahead, we were all guaranteed time behind the wheel to experience Honda’s latest offering. We drove the top spec VX variant. As you can expect from Honda, its appointed with luxurious leather seats with a height adjuster for the driver’s seat. The tilt-adjustable steering wheel and shift knob are leather wrapped. The second row has an armrest and splits 60/40 while the third row splits 50/50 and folds down.

Rolling out, we encountered rush hour traffic on the way to NLEX. Honda’s SENSING was already at work, if we weren’t paying attention. Here’s where we got an alert on our instrument cluster. Lead Car Departure Notification (LCDN) on the full color TFT multi-function display on the instrument cluster let us know that the car ahead of us inline at the toll plaza had moved forward already.

Honda SENSING suite is now available in the all-new BRV. Even for a seasoned driver like myself, I appreciated the adaptive cruise control, maintaining a steady speed on the long stretch of SCTEX and TPLEX. Keeping within the speed limit can be taxing as you start to feel some fatigue on the almost straight expressway. It let me set the desired speed and the car took care of slowing down and speeding up depending on the speed of the vehicles we caught up to and passed. Other Honda SENSING features are Auto High Beam (AHB), Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation and Lane Departure Warning. All of which make sense on a long drive.

Apple Carplay, (not vital to on-road performance and handling, but important to the sanity of occupants) helped make sure that we were following the route and our favorite Spotify playlist was cranking out our road trip tunes. The BR-V VX’s six-speaker system did well to keep us singing. It has a seven-inch touchscreen display with AM/FM/Bluetooth/Handsfree telephone/USB input and also Android Auto. The A-pillar mounted tweeters put out good highs, even with the bass set on half, there was some good bottom end and did not distort the mids even at relatively high volume.

We made our way to Asin road, where we put the BR-V to the test, as this road has some steep inclines with tight turns, making it even more challenging than Kennon road. The BR-V took on this route with little fuss. The naturally aspirated 1.5-liter gasoline engine, while quiet on city streets and cruising on the highway, growled as we sped our way up to Baguio city. The BR-V’s 1.5L engine is a four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve iVTEC gasoline engine that puts out 121-Ps at 6,600rpms with 145-Nm of torque at 4,300rpms mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

The paddle shifters helped make quick shifts up and down on the CVT’s virtual gears a breeze even on “D”. But shifting to S on the select lever keeps you in the power band, making power is readily available to the front wheels. The BR-V did not disappoint.

The all-new Honda BR-V took what we threw at it, probably more than what a regular car owner would. I shared the BR-V with two quite large gentlemen on the drive up. Whoever was driving was able to adjust his seat to his liking and still leave enough legroom for occupants in the second row. There was more than enough luggage space especially with the third row folded down.

The BR-V is also loaded with safety and convenience features like dual front SRS, side airbags, side curtain airbags and three-point ELR seatbelts for all seven occupants. It also has an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution System (EBD), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist (HSA).

It’s also got a new feature handed down from the Accord and CR-V, the Honda Lane Watch, a camera mounted on the passenger side mirror that turns on when you signal right so you can see your blind spot and the curb. There’s also a reverse camera with guidelines and rear parking sensors. It’s equipped with speed sensing door locks and walk-away auto door lock. ISO-FIX child seat anchors are standard.

The VX has remote engine start and getting in is easy with the smart entry system. There are six bottle holders, two cup holders, and important for techie occupants, two USB charging ports up front and a 12v sockets for each row.

The VX we drove had some new after-market accessories like the exhaust pipe finisher, tailgate garnish, front fender garnish, door mirror garnish

side step garnish, door visor, cargo tray, door handle protector and rear seat back protector but we didn’t get the prices for those accessories yet.

The VX CVT we drove is priced at P1.390M and is available in Premium Opal White Silver, Meteroid Grey Metallic and Lunar Silver Metallic.

Honda recently held a fuel economy run with the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) the results were 24.71 kms per liter for the 1.5 V CVT, 23.49 kms per liter of the top-of-the-line 1.5 VX CVT Honda SENSING, and 22.62 kms per liter of the 1.5 S CVT.

In conclusion, we can report to our Titos that that this BR-V is legit, it CAN make it up to Baguio with no worries.