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Can the revised Honda BR-V give its rivals a good fight?

One thing going for it is that it’s assembled in the Philippines

The seven-seat MPV/SUV competition is heating up. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

So, the Honda BR-V seven-seater subcompact SUV finally gets a mild facelift after three years of healthy sales in our market. Not that there was anything wrong with the car: It still has the spacious three-row seat layout and the class-leading powertrain consisting of the 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine and the Earth Dreams CVT. But some new toys and a bit of plastic surgery have now made an already good car into an even better one.

The 16-inch alloy wheel boasts a new design. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

The BR-V comes in two flavors—the well-equipped S and the even better-equipped V. Both trim levels have a new chrome radiator grille (flanked by gills with mesh inserts) and new-design two-tone alloy wheels. The new BR-V also has a new seven-inch touch-sensitive infotainment system and a reversing camera, the latter a welcome addition for novice drivers.

The 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine is the same as before. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

Customers opting for the higher-end V variant get even more cosmetic niceties like headlamp units with LED running lights, and contrasting red trim on the interior’s black leather material. There is now also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for the infotainment system.

The mid-cycle refresh is good and all, but with the base S grade retailing at P1,035,000, the burning question is how this new BR-V will fare against the competition. Both the Toyota Rush and the Mitsubishi Xpander are equally stylish and well-appointed. Crucially, their prices are not far off the Honda’s. Even less expensive MPVs (like the Suzuki Ertiga) are vying for a chunky slice of the seven-seat MPV/SUV pie.

Inside, the modern infotainment system now features a seven-inch touchscreen display. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

The higher V variant, whose photos you see here, sells for P1,155,000.

Only time and the Filipino public will tell if the improved (and locally assembled) Honda BR-V can stay relevant in the company of newer rivals.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.