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The 2nd-generation Honda BR-V is a sophisticated family hauler

This is one of those cases where growing up isn’t a bad thing

Honda's MPV fighter has a premium aura to it. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

First, it was the SUV wars. Then followed the pickup wars. And now, it is the turn of the compact MPV segment to heat up. We’ve seen entries from the likes of Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and Hyundai.

Honda now throws its hat in the ring with the second-generation Bold Runabout Vehicle (or just BR-V), which launches today. Unlike its more eccentric competitors, the BR-V wants to wow you with refinement and a focus on safety.

Puberty was very kind to the BR-V. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

We’ve said it before, but the latest BR-V grows up in appearance by ditching the quirky cuts and creases the first generation had. In the metal, the vehicle appears to have a stately presence, and to be frank, it is better-looking than the current CR-V. With the Premium Opal White Silver finish, it also exudes a premium flair that seems fitting for Honda’s positioning in the market.

Even if you get the lower-end S CVT, your car will look similar to the higher-end variants with the same 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, and shark fin antenna. The only way you will be able to tell it apart is via the black front grille, the front and side garnish, and the body-colored door handles. But if you get the S MT, you lose the fog lights and the shark fin antenna, and you’re downgraded to 16-inch steel wheels.

The variant pictured here is the top-of-the-line VX.

The BR-V's interior has a distinct air of classiness, especially with Honda's reputation for solid build quality. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Inside, there are oodles of space in all three rows, where tall people like me can comfortably sit without complaints. Leather upholstery is present for the V and the VX, while the S gets fabric seats. It’s very easy to tumble the second-row seats forward for access to the third row, and the driver finally gets seat height and steering-wheel adjustments (which was a curious omission in the last generation).

One of my favorite things about the cockpit would be the design of the dashboard and the door cards, which tastefully blends a mix of leather and plastics into something that looks expensive and feels good to the touch.

The included load cover is a lot more than just something to protect your cargo from prying eyes. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The BR-V employs a clever cargo system—especially if you get the V and the VX—which includes a sturdy load cover that can be used in different ways, like using it as the floor for heavier items, a divider for items you don’t want to get mixed up, or as an extension to create a flat load floor.

With all three rows up, there is a generous 244L of space. Fold the third row down and this increases to 530L. And with all seats folded, you have a cavernous 1,032L that is ready to swallow long items.

Honda's 1.5-liter engine may not be turbocharged, but it's a very peppy motor. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

As for the engine, it employs a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter i-VTEC in-line-four engine that drinks 91-octane gasoline. Mated to a CVT (or a six-speed manual), it puts out 119hp and 145Nm, and sends it to the front wheels. That may sound a little lacking for something that will carry seven people, but unfortunately, I was alone during the preview, so a full review will be able to tell if this will be able to haul your entire family with ease.

With Honda Sensing and modern tech, you won't be feeling shortchanged in this MPV. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Front and center of the dashboard is a seven-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. It pipes out music through six speakers (the S only has four), and you have automatic climate controls for the front. There are only two USB ports at the front, but all rows should have a 12V socket for a car charger (except for the S, which is only limited to the first two).

Side curtain airbags and Honda Sensing are present only on the VX variant, with driver aids like adaptive cruise control, auto high beam, automatic emergency braking, lane- and road-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and Honda LaneWatch blind-spot camera.

Other features that can be found across the variants are a remote engine starter (except for S MT), walk-away auto-lock (V and VX), speed-sensing door locks, a reversing camera, and parking sensors (only for V and VX).

Do you prefer the older BR-V's youthful looks to the mature new BR-V? PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Finally, the prices. The S MT is P1.09 million, followed by the S CVT at P1.15 million. The V makes a jump to P1.295 million, and all the goodies found in the VX push the price all the way to P1.39 million.

The Premium Opal White Silver Pearl finish will cost an additional P20,000, and will only be available on the V and the VX. Other finishes include Meteoroid Gray Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl (V and S CVT), Lunar Silver Metallic, and Taffeta White (S).

If you want to know more about the car, we’ve included the vehicle’s full spec sheet below.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.