By Steve & Tamami Laser
Honda is preparing to add yet another variation to its popular “R-V” vocabulary with the upcoming debut of the new BR-V at the Gaikindo Indonesian Auto Show in August. Unlike the evergreen CR-V and the just released HR-V, this new model is designed primarily for the Asian market.
These official sketches were released today at a media event of P.T. Honda Prospect Motor in Indonesia. The company says BR-V will feature a “tough and solid” exterior design with high ground clearance, big alloy wheels and sleek roof rails. The new model will offer seven seats in a three-row configuration while power will be supplied by a 1.5-liter gas engine with a choice of two transmissions.
Honda says that to provide products that respond to the needs of customers around the world, it has been focusing on strengthening R&D in each region to create more self-reliant operations. Based on its capability to develop regional models, Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. (HRAP) in Thailand developed the new BR-V for the Asian market as its third production model.
BR-V Based on Mobilio?
Looking at the sketches and reading between the lines, we think the BR-V will be a reworked Honda Mobilio, also developed by HRAP. In the original Mobilio design sketches above, we see similarities to the BR-V’s front and rear side doors, glass, roof, and windshield.
The Mobilio (not related to the Japanese market Mobilio) is a seven-passenger MPV that’s already on sale in the Asian region. These photos of a pre-production prototype looks toned down quite a bit from the preview sketches.
It appears that Honda will raise the Mobilio’s hoodline and ride height, change the front and rear facias, D-pillars, and tailgate, add crossover styling cues like lower body cladding, fender arches and “skid plates” and call it the BR-V. It’s a strategy used by other automakers including Subaru with models like the Outback.
Mobilio features Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology 1.5 liter i-VTEC engine that develops 120 ps at 6600 rpm and 145 NM of torque at 4600 rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual or Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Don’t look for the BR-V in American Honda showrooms anytime soon. The gap between the CR-V and new Pilot is too narrow to support another nameplate. And while the Pilot is too large for some Asian market countries, as Goldilocks might say, the BR-V looks “just right.”
News sources and photos courtesy of Honda Media Japan, P.T. Honda Prospect Motor Indonesia, Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd., Honda Cars Philippines, Inc.
Story (commentary) © 2015 CarNichiWa.com