|28th November 2015, 08:54||#1|
With Honda in Japan: BR-V preview & more. EDIT: BR-V launched
Mod Note: Our BR-V Report has been taken live at this link. Please continue the discussion over on the new thread. Thanks!
Car manufacturers generally approach car safety in two different ways. One, they look at the safety regulations cars have to meet and then do what is necessary to meet them. These regulations differ from country to country, so one can often see a particular car model with all the safety gizmos in one country, and none of that in another country for the same car. Second, they genuinely strive to make their cars safe, by making safety a fundamental design philosophy. Volvo has a reputation for this philosophy.
With safety regulations becoming increasingly stringent in most countries, the former approach is no longer viable. Also, car buyers have started paying more attention to safety features, crash test scores, etc. When the Suzuki Swift and Datsun GO scored zero in the Global NCAP crash tests last year, it made big news. When Maruti's Chairman stated that Indian customers don’t need safe cars, he received a lot of backlash. Car manufacturers can no longer assume they just have to meet the local regulations. Safety is becoming an important parameter in the customer's decision criterion.
Honda has already made safety a fundamental design philosophy. In order to demonstrate that, Honda invited hundreds of media houses from all over Asia to visit the Honda R&D Center in Japan.
Manufacturers today have a very scientific approach to safety. It is not just about crashing a car into a wall anymore. They are designing cars keeping in mind not only static obstacles, but dynamic obstacles as well (e.g. car-to-car crashes or car-to-pedestrian crashes):
They have created a modern day coliseum where they can crash cars against other cars or obstacles. Not only can they do it in a head-to-head collision, but in every other thinkable angle. For example, they can crash two cars at a 30 degree angle and inspect the results. The floor of the crash test area is fully transparent to capture the effect on the underbody by underground cameras:
Cars are designed such that the engine bay takes all the impact and is crushed by it, while the cabin is rigid enough to guarantee a very high chance of passenger survival:
Honda has developed a unique pedestrian crash test dummy to understand car-to-person accidents. They found that the head smashes the bonnet pretty hard (as shown):
This led Honda to develop an impact absorbing bonnet and hinge that pop out when they make contact with a pedestrian:
They have also developed a collision mitigation braking system:
Honda has come up with a of suite of driver-assisting technologies, which they call Honda Sensing:
We got to see a crash test between the Honda CR-V and Honda Fit (Jazz), driving towards each other at a relative speed of 100 kmph. It is an amazing, yet heart-breaking thing to see..two cars getting totalled in a matter of one second!
We were not allowed to take photographs. Honda provided the following photos from their high-speed crash test cameras. The photos are from the official Honda photographer, who was stationed much closer to the crash than the rest of us. The photographs are of a very high resolution, please click on the photos for a closer look at the crash and debris.
Some videos, including the underground capture.
Last edited by GTO : 25th May 2016 at 09:41. Reason: Linking to review
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|28th November 2015, 08:54||#2|
The program at the Twin Ring Motegi involved driving three cars. The BR-V would be driven at the Active Safety Park, while the Jade RS & S660 would be driven at the South Course:
As you can see on the map, we didn’t get to drive on the main race track. The BR-V prototype drive was on a smaller circuit:
The pace car never exceeded 50 kmph at any time. Except for when I was in the bottom-most curve, I didn’t even apply the brakes. Each of us got to drive for 2 laps and ride shotgun for 2 laps. The main focus of the event was about the looks & checking out the BR-V in person. Our drive was too short to make any observations on how the BR-V drives - we'll leave that for later when we drive it on Indian roads:
The BR-V is 70 mm longer, 17 mm shorter (in height), and has 12 mm more GC than the Mobilio. The engine and transmission options are identical to the City. Both the cars available for the static shoot used a CVT automatic gearbox. Apart from the CVT, a 5-speed MT (petrol) and a 6-speed MT (diesel) have been planned for India. The two cars at our disposal were not identically equipped. Obviously, they were different variants, but further details weren't available, since these were prototypes.
The BR-V is based on the Mobilio with a lot of parts from the latest Jazz & City. It's the styling that puts it in the SUV category:
The Mobilio has a sloping bonnet, whereas the BR-V has a straight bonnet, giving it a more SUV-ish look (vs the MPV stance of the Mobilio):
Split front grille resembles the CR-V's:
The BR-V gets projector headlights:
Side profile resembles the Mobilio the most, with the difference being the D-pillar and black plastic cladding running along the side:
Unlike the Mobilio, the BR-V's wing mirrors get integrated blinkers:
Honda has done a good job of hiding the length. You don't get the feeling that this is actually based on an MPV:
XL-sized roof rails:
The BR-V misses the unique floating D-pillar of the Mobilio. The rear quarter glass doesn't merge with the rear windshield:
Rear sees the biggest changes. The tail lights are joined by a reflector strip and the entire tail-gate is new:
195/60-R16 tyres fill up the wheel wells nicely. The tyre size is still smaller than that of most crossovers out there. Even the S-Cross and EcoSport get 205/60 rubber. Let's hope these smart 16" alloys make it to India:
The spare tyre is neatly tucked in underneath:
Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2015 at 15:44.
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|28th November 2015, 08:54||#3|
The interior is where the BR-V looks entirely different from the Mobilio. The Mobilio (at 10+ lakhs) shared its interior design with a 4 lakh hatchback. This was a major turn-off for a lot of buyers. The BR-V fixes this by borrowing parts from the more premium City / Jazz:
The two cars had very different steering wheels and only one of them had mounted controls. Furthermore, the feature set appears to be a work in progress. I saw a driver airbag on both cars, but no front passenger airbag, side or curtain airbags. However, a traction control system appeared to come as standard. One of the cars had a start / stop button. The other one without the button still had the ungainly plastic cap seen on the Jazz. Thankfully, it is not as visible as in the Jazz:
Unlike the City, the engine start button here sits on the right side of the steering wheel:
Chrome ring around the button adds a premium touch:
The front view of one of the steering wheels - looks very rich. This appears to be from the earlier City:
A closer look at the smart key:
Dials are borrowed from the City. Looks neat, except for that god awful long stalk to toggle through the MID menus:
A real-time FE bar, distance-to-empty counter, clock, outside temperature and independent average FE readings for each of the two trip-meters:
Doorpads are unchanged vs the Mobilio. All black looks better than the sea of beige we get in the Mobilio:
Standard door controls are identical to the Mobilio's. The mirrors didn't auto-fold when the ignition was switched off:
AT footwell is spacious, with a wide footrest for the left leg:
One can control the amount of airflow from the side vents like in the City (and unlike the Mobilio):
Simple 2-DIN head-unit. We will probably be getting the same AVN HU found in the Jazz:
Here's how it looks without a stereo head. The Jazz and City get a unique touchscreen climate control system. The BR-V (at least this prototype) gets a regular button type air-con. However, look carefully and you will find that this isn't a climate control system. There's no "AUTO" mode. There was another car with a proper climate control system, but even that had a manual recirculating slider which looks terribly out of place today:
CVT gearbox with an 'S' mode. How does it perform? Click here to read our impressions of this tranny in the Honda City:
Noticed two different trims in connectivity options too, one with HDMI and USB ports:
Classy matt silver surround:
The glovebox is medium sized:
The IRVM is rather small, and there is just a basic cabin light above it (no individual map reading lights):
In a 7-seater SUV / MPV, the seat configurations need to be flexible. The BR-V is pretty similar to the Mobilio, except for the missing armrest in the center row (which may be added to the Indian version).
The front seats now have adjustable headrests and not the cheap integrated ones from the Brio / Amaze:
The middle row leg space is enough, no complaints:
Roof mounted AC vents:
Flexible seats, like the Mobilio:
2nd & 3rd row - both - get a 60:40 seat split:
With the last row folded down:
Yes, just like the Mobilio, even last row occupants get bottle holders. Speakers next to them:
Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2015 at 12:28.
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|28th November 2015, 08:54||#4|
Additional information on the BR-V
Below is Honda's presentation for those interested in this SUV.
The presentation started with the technology briefing. First, they explained the importance of the Indian market for Honda, and how they plan to target Indian customers:
201 mm of ground clearance:
They also showcased their engine / transmission portfolio:
Then, there was an unexpected treat for us. In addition to the BR-V, we would also get to test drive the Honda Jade RS and S660!
Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2015 at 13:22.
|28th November 2015, 08:54||#5|
Jade RS and S660 Drive
Now to the real fun part of the day. This happened before the BR-V drive...
...and it was held on a more interesting track:
First, we got to drive a 660cc, 2-seater, topless car. A first for me on all three counts!
The Honda S660:
The gearbox is a 6-speed manual and gearshifts are very precise. There was a CVT version too (visible in the picture above), but I didn't get to drive it:
Very hard not to smile while being in this car. Obviously, it's not very powerful, but is a nice little fun-to-drive car:
The Jade RS was next. This car has a turbo-charged VTEC which means 25% more power and 40% more torque when compared to the NA engine in the BR-V (and it can be easily felt):
In this drive, I was right behind the pace car and the pace car driver was keeping up a good speed, unlike the BR-V pace car driver. This was probably because the Jade RS is a production car and powerful, unlike the BR-V. It allowed me to push the car in every corner at a fairly good pace. At the end of the drive, the pace car driver walked over to me and complimented the way I took the turns. Maybe he compliments every driver, nevertheless, it made my day .
Oh, how I wish the Jade RS was coming to India. This was the car I enjoyed the most. One can easily forget it is a 7-seater MPV (not SUV) while cornering:
Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2015 at 15:23.
|28th November 2015, 08:54||#6|
A meeting with Honda India CEO Katsushi Inoue:
Even after meeting him on the 1st day, he was hanging out with us everyday and even travelled in the same bus as the rest of us. Most of the time, we forgot he was with us, for he was so humble. For the Honda press conference at the Tokyo Motor Show, I arrived at the Honda stall just 30 minutes in advance and found all the seats taken. So I stood with some 50 others who were also standing. A while later, I became aware that Inoue San and his aide were standing with us. I had expected him to be seated in the front with the VIPs.
Just before the press conference started, a senior staff member from Honda India left her seat in the front and came towards us. I thought she was going to offer the seat to her boss Inoue San, but she stepped past him and offered the seat to me . It then occurred to me, this is a press conference and we are the primary audience. None of the sycophancy usually associated with top executives was on display here.
The Honda journalist meet ended with a Q&A session for Indian journalists with Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo on Oct 29th, at Honda's headquarters. He was accompanied by Honda COO Noriaki Abe:
Some of the highlights from the Q&A:
Q1) What is the primary focus of Honda?
A1) Set high expectations, and meet them. Let the customer dream big and let Honda deliver it, hence the slogan Honda Dreams. Example, realistic FCV with a 700 kms range.
Q2) What is the role of India in future Honda products?
A2) India will play a bigger role in manufacturing.
Q3) Will India be an export hub for Honda?
A3) For now, it will be limited to components sent to other Asian countries and South Africa. The future depends on the reliability of India-made cars.
Q4) What do you see as the future of Honda in India?
A4) Bright. However, we don't want to focus on volume, only on quality.
Q5) Any plans for small cars in India?
A5) Looking at it seriously.
Q6) Any plans for big SUVs from Honda?
A6) None. We don't want to follow Toyota's model.
Q7) Why does Honda focus so much on Motorsport?
A7) Two reasons - (i) Challenge for young Honda engineers (ii) It builds brand value.
Q8) Why is McLaren having so many problems with Honda engines?
A8) We didn't have the time to mate McLaren's chassis with our engine.
Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2015 at 17:39.
|28th November 2015, 08:54||#7|
Honda at the Tokyo Motor Show
Honda had a big announcement to make at the Tokyo Motor Show. I didn't realise how big a deal this was for Honda, until I saw the number of media personnel waiting for the announcement for nearly an hour:
The press conference started at around 11:30 AM, with Honda CEO Mr. Takahiro Hachigo unveiling the production ready Clarity - Honda's ground breaking Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV). The production is about to start and the Clarity will hit Japanese roads by March 2016:
The Clarity looks very much like a regular car, but with a fuel cell stack capable of more than 134 BHP, and motor capable of 174 BHP. The Clarity's powertrain is about the size of Honda's 3.5L V6 engine. That is how Honda has managed to package it under the hood of a regular sized sedan. It has a cruising range of 700 kms before needing a refuel. The hydrogen tank can be refilled in just 3 minutes!
This is a zero emission vehicle, which spits out a little water instead of smoke. It can also be used as a portable power generator by combining it with an external power feeding device called the Power Exporter 9000. It can supply enough power to satisfy the needs of an average household for 7 days on a single tank of hydrogen!
An FCV is nothing but an EV (electric vehicle) sans battery. While an EV stores all the power in huge cells, FCVs generate power on the fly by a chemical reaction. Electrons released by the chemical reaction form the electric current that runs the motor. The spent electrons are returned to a hydrogen atom in the presence of oxygen (pulled from the air), forming H2O, which is nothing but water. That is the overly simplified version. For more details on FCV technology, check this link.
Well, this may not exactly be Doc Brown's fusion powered flying car, but it comes closer than most other things. However, there are a couple of issues that need to be solved in the coming days.
1) There aren't many hydrogen fueling stations! This is no different than the problem Bertha Benz faced while doing the first long distance drive in the first car in the world, created by her husband Karl Benz. At least she could buy some Ligroin in a pharmacy and use it as fuel. Therefore, Hachigo San promised that Honda will build 1 hydrogen fueling station for every 25 cars sold.
2) While the Honda Clarity is a zero emission car, it is not a zero carbon footprint car. It runs on hydrogen, but creating hydrogen out of water isn't a simple or cheap process. Currently, the carbon footprint of driving an FCV may be more than that of traditional cars. The economy of scale is definitely not there, and one needs to spend coal / nuclear based power to make hydrogen.
Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2015 at 16:08.
|28th November 2015, 16:09||#8|
The two other cars that shared the stage with the Honda Clarity were the Honda NSX AWD Hybrid and Honda Civic Type R.
First, let's look at the NSX, simply because it is so drool-worthy...and a hybrid to boot. Before you start sneering at the thought of a lazy hybrid, let me enlighten you that it produces 573 BHP and can reach 100 kmph from a standstill in 2.9 seconds. The body contains many experimental materials to strengthen and lighten the car dramatically.
The combination of a twin-turbocharged, 75-degree, DOHC 3.5L V6 engine and 3-electric hybrid motors is mated to a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission. Sadly, there is no manual transmission option.
Let's just drool at the photos now:
The 2015 Civic Type R sports Honda's new 2.0L VTEC Turbo engine (up to 310 BHP and 400 Nm of torque). This will be a limited edition model and only 750 units will be made.
Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2015 at 16:55.
|28th November 2015, 16:55||#9|
The 2&4 - half motorcycle, half car. Related thread:
There was one oddball presence on the stage along with the three other superstar cars. Honda wanted to remind everyone of their humble origins, which started from the Honda Cub. So they had a Super Cub on the stage, which has been continuously in production since 1958.
There were other bikes on display too:
Futuristic vehicles, including a three-wheel bike (Neowing Concept):
Then, I saw something very cool. A lady came floating towards me, and then floated away. When she floated away, I finally saw what was happening. She was on a moving chair which she was controlling merely by leaning one way or the other. This was a Segway for people who are too tired to stand.
So, what is it exactly? It is an office mobility device, or chair...not sure what category this belongs to. They call it the Honda Uni Cub. It is actually a unicycle:
This video should explain the operation.
And finally, the Honda Wander stand:
In countries where there are perfect roads, these can be used to go sight-seeing, shopping, etc. It is a driver-less auto rickshaw that won't refuse to go anywhere, as long as there are perfect roads.
Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2015 at 17:12.
|28th November 2015, 17:14||#10|
The day after the visit to the Tokyo Motor Show, we got to visit Honda's HQ in Tokyo City. Once inside, it looked more like a dealership than the HQ of a major car maker.
The ground floor had a display area for all the latest cars and bikes on sale. Despite the fact that I'm not a biker, I found the line-up so impressive that I shot all the motorcycles that were on the floor.
Honda CB1300S Super Bol D:
Honda CB400 Super Four:
Disclaimer: Honda invited Team-BHP to Japan. They covered all the travel expenses for this trip.
Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2015 at 17:21.
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|28th November 2015, 17:29||#11|
Join Date: Feb 2004
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re: With Honda in Japan: BR-V preview & more
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the International Forum. Thanks for sharing!
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|28th November 2015, 18:42||#12|
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re: With Honda in Japan: BR-V preview & more
Frontal looks apart, BR-V still screams MUV! That said its the only monocoque SUV costing <15lakh to sport 7 seats! When pitched against Creta/Duster/Terrano/SCross/Ecosport, this can turn out to be a significant advantage.
We always love two things in India, SUV and seven/eight seats! and Honda is bang on target with BR-V.
|28th November 2015, 19:16||#13|
Join Date: Aug 2014
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re: With Honda in Japan: BR-V preview & more
Ah! back to the forum after a long time and had a really good read. So many details in just one thread.
BR-V is a very good product from Honda. It's got everything you want. Suv-ish looks, seven seats, better quality interiors (compared to mobilio) and what not. I hope they just get the pricing right. Thanks for sharing.
Honda Clarity is another step into the future. I hope this technology gets its fair share of appreciation. I hope to see more of these alongside regular hybrids.
Last edited by Carpainter : 28th November 2015 at 19:18.
|28th November 2015, 20:07||#14|
Join Date: Oct 2014
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re: With Honda in Japan: BR-V preview & more
Thanks for the videos and photos. That crash video from the bottom view is very helpful to explain to people how modern frames and crumple zone works.
Plus its easier to tell people what are the criterias manufacturers have to meet when designing exterior to make it not only passenger safe but also pedestrian safe aswell.
|28th November 2015, 20:45||#15|
Join Date: Jun 2009
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re: With Honda in Japan: BR-V preview & more
great shots of the BRV
is it just me or do the seats remind anyone else of the wagon-R? (the 'thin'ness, or more accurately, he lack of padding). for a 15 L vehicle, wouldn't the customer expect better seats? (not necessarily in xuv/ safari league)
i guess, the OP would be the best person to comment on the comfort factor. please do share.
on a side note, by the time this comes to india, my bet is that the interiors would've turned beige and black
Last edited by handsofsteel : 28th November 2015 at 20:51. Reason: added a question for the OP