2023 Honda BR-V First Impressions Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Nov 21, 2022

Breaking its silence as it enters the MPV segment with a bolder demeanor.
2023 Honda BR-V First Impressions Review | Philkotse Philippines

In this review...

  1. Bolder Roundabout Vehicle
  2. Exterior
  3. Interior
  4. Tech & Safety
  5. Driving
  6. Initial Verdict

2023 Honda BR-V First Impressions Review: Bolder Roundabout Vehicle

Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) has been relatively quiet in the seven-seater MPV battle royale. It axed its main entry into the said segment, the Mobilio, last June 2021, leaving the BR-V to go up against the likes of the Toyota Avanza and Mitsubishi Xpander.

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While the BR-V continues to be among the top three best-selling Honda vehicles in the country last year, its segment rivals have already taken a step forward during the early months of 2022. Toyota Philippines introduced the all-new Avanza last March 2022. Mitsubishi PH launched its counterattack by debuting the new Xpander last May. 

Recently, Nissan Philippines joined the MPV battle royale with the Livina. Despite the Livina’s arrival in the country, the Honda BR-V remains silent behind the shadows. Then, Hyundai Motor Philippines jumped into the MPV craze with the Stargazer, which finally prompted Honda Philippines to break its silence. Here’s Philkotse’s 2023 Honda BR-V first impressions review.

2023 Honda BR-V First Impressions Review: Exterior

The all-new Honda BR-V has a more streamlined look yet I find it to have a bolder design as compared to the outgoing model. It has lesser aggressive character lines from front to back, giving the impression that the BR-V now has a more mature exterior design. 

2023 Honda BR-V front profile shotThe all-new Honda BR-V looks bolder than the outgoing model

The 2023 Honda BR-V is fitted with LED headlights, and LED daytime running lights across all four variants. It also has LED foglights except for the entry-level S MT variant. The headlight design is complemented by the black grille, which gives the BR-V a bold and composed look. The massive bumper further adds muscle to Honda’s seven-seater MPV.  

The BR-V’s side profile is one of the design details that caught my attention since it appears to be the simplest-looking vehicle when compared to its rivals. The simplicity in design actually makes it more appealing – at least for me. It only comes with a single character line that runs from front to back. 

2023 Honda BR-V side shotLesser lines at the side yet it looks more composed

The black cladding is also not too prominent, which gives the BR-V a more formal or elegant-like finish. The flat silver trim integrated into the black cladding is a nice touch as it breaks the rather thick accent. And oh, the all-new BR-V has a ground clearance rated at 207mm. 

Another thing that I liked is the design of the window surrounds. Having the bottom part in one straight line is more refreshing to the eye as compared to the old model’s version. And for some reason, it also makes the BR-V look larger in size. 

2023 Honda BR-V rear shotThe BR-V is back in the game

The simple yet distinctive design approach can once again be seen at the rear. The LED taillights are now more seamless while the bumper adopts a smoother design compared to the old model. The next-gen Honda BR-V shows that going less is sometimes more.


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2023 Honda BR-V First Impressions Review: Interior

The BR-V’s interior has a more straightforward layout as compared to the previous generation model. The lines seen on the dashboard are now more fluid, accented by flat silver and glossy black trims.  

2023 Honda BR-V interior dashboardIt also comes with a revamped dashboard layout

The more straightforward dashboard layout results in a clutter-free interior. It even quite resembles the Honda CR-V’s layout, especially when you look at the center aircon vents.

All the essential vehicle controls are well placed in the middle. The audio controls can be spotted easily since it is integrated into the glossy black touchscreen’s housing. Below it is the climate controls, which you can’t miss even if it’s your first time hopping inside the BR-V. 

2023 Honda BR-V steering wheelThe front cabin layout has a more streamlined finish

It also gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt adjustment. The seats come in leather, adding to the BR-V’s premium-like appeal. The all-new BR-V also has manual front seats with a height adjuster. I appreciate that Honda restyled the BR-V’s gear lever design. It now looks more proper, and the glossy black trim surrounding the lever is a nice touch.  

While the straightforward layout works well, storage spaces in the front cabin are a bit lacking. Yes, there are bottle holders on the center console and on the door panels, but I’m looking for other flat storage spaces that can stow away other items. 

To put things in perspective, the Mitsubishi Xpander has a storage space on the dashboard, which is above the glove box. There you can put a small pouch, wallet, and other handy items. The same is true when you look at the Hyundai Stargazer’s storage compartments.  

2023 Honda BR-V second row seatsAmple legroom for second-row passengers

Up to three individuals can be accommodated on the BR-V’s second-row seats. Leg- and head-room is good for individuals standing 5’6”. It also has a 60:40 split for easy ingress and egress for third-row passengers. 

2023 Honda BR-V third-row seatsThe all-new Honda BR-V's third row

The all-new BR-V’s third-row seats offer enough space even for adults. The legroom is decent as well as the headroom. I also like the BR-V’s third-row seating position, it’s not too upright, giving you a decent ride. But, the BR-V’s rear aircon, which is placed on the second row, only comes with three vents. I wish that it has an additional vent that can further help cool the cabin more efficiently.

2023 Honda BR-V cargo spaceThe BR-V's cargo space when the third row seats are up

The all-new BR-V has 244 liters of cargo space when the third-row seats are up. When the third-row seats are folded, you’ll have 530 liters of space, which can haul an assortment of items.

2023 Honda BR-V First Impressions Review: Tech & Safety

The next-gen Honda BR-V has a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The said smartphone connectivity is becoming a standard among brand-new cars today. 

The infotainment system doubles as the display for the rear camera. It already comes with guidelines, which will come in handy when you find yourself in a tight parking space. In case you’re wondering, the image resolution is at par with its segment rivals. 

2023 Honda BR-V dashboard shotThe center console has also been redesigned

The 2023 BR-V comes standard with features expected from modern cars such as the following: dual SRS airbags, anti-lock brake system, electronic brake-force distribution, vehicle stability assist, hill start assist, ISOFIX, among many others.

The top-spec all-new Honda BR-V VX does come with the Honda Sensing driver assist system, which includes adaptive cruise control, auto high beam, collision mitigation braking system, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, and lane departure warning.

2023 Honda BR-V First Impressions Review: Driving

The all-new Honda BR-V has the same power output as the outgoing model. But, it now has a dual overhead cam (DOHC) 1.5-liter VTEC gasoline engine that is said to squeeze out better fuel economy. It puts out 119 hp and 145 Nm of torque.

2023 Honda BR-V engine shotPowered by a 1.5-liter DOHC gasoline engine

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. handed the keys to the 2023 BR-V V variant during the media preview. It’s not the top-of-the-line model, which means that it doesn’t come with paddle shifters and Honda Sensing tech. But it has the same power unit that’s connected to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

I drove the BR-V around HCPI’s test track in Santa Rosa, Laguna. During my quick drive, I appreciate the BR-V’s easy maneuverability, and it doesn’t feel huge when you’re behind the wheel. The steering wheel also gives enough road feedback, giving you better control of the vehicle. 

The suspension is not too stiff nor soft, it sits right in the middle resulting in a relatively pleasant ride. Although, I have to test this one further on actual roads such as EDSA. The test track in HCPI’s Santa Rosa plant is mostly paved roads. 

2023 Honda BR-V front and rear shotThe all-new Honda BR-V delivers adequate power

The whole Philkotse video team was present during the media preview, which allowed us to get a first impression of the BR-V’s potential when seven people are on board. The initial test showed that the all-new BR-V has enough power to ferry seven adults. But, power delivery is a bit daunted, and I’m looking for more grunt as I drove the long straight road on HCPI’s test track. 

The Honda BR-V can also take on steep uphill roads with seven people onboard albeit you need to be patient as the vehicle crawl upwards. Don’t get me wrong, the BR-V’s power delivery is not underwhelming, it’s rather adequate considering that it’s a seven-seater MPV.

2023 Honda BR-V First Impressions Review: Initial Verdict

2023 Honda BR-V front shot2023 Honda BR-V

The all-new Honda BR-V’s refined styling makes it look more solid, bolder, and more surefooted compared to the outgoing model. The 2023 Honda BR-V is available in four variants with prices ranging from Php 1,090,000 to Php 1,390,000, the 2023 BR-V could be on its way to being among Honda PH’s top-selling models.

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