Honda City with 6-speed manual transmission to launch soon – Times of India

Posted: Saturday, June 18, 2016
NEW DELHI: Till recently, the only Honda car that could come close to being a substitute for the plethora of compact SUVs in the Indian market was the Mobilio. And in reality, it still was seen mostly as just a practical people mover and that’s it. With the launch of the BR-V, the Japanese manufacturer may have made a bold attempt to change all of that.

Yes, BR-V is still reminding many of the Mobilio but it also does make a strong claim for itself in a segment that is the fastest growing in India. It is a bold car – in fact, bold enough to be marketed as a compact SUV even though it is really close to resembling a good-looking, practical van. And that should not bother anyone – people in Honda or outside of it. However, the BR-V has been projected into the compact SUV segment nonetheless – one that is dominated by Hyundai’s Creta.

So how does the new kid on the block shape up against the champion?

What works for Creta?

* Creta is easily the more stylish looking car of the two. In fact, it is largely agreed that it is the best looking compact SUV, period. Hyundai is known to give high priority to how their cars look and have scored the most courtesy the styling elements on it which accentuate the SUV-like overall appeal.

* Creta is crowded with features – literally. As one goes up the variants, the car begins to offer what highly aware Indian customers are fast taking for granted. So among many other features, it gets a touch-screen navigation system and reverse camera – essentials missing from even the top variant of the BR-V.

* Creta is offered in both diesel and petrol variants, with the former being the crowd puller. And it is not without reason. Although offered in automatic version from the beginning, the manual diesel has given a lot more feedback to the enthusiastic driver and the six-speed gearbox is one of the best that Hyundai has managed. Yes, BR-V is offered in diesel variant too but the one on Creta is more exciting.

What promises to work for BR-V?

* While BR-V may not be a looker when compared to Creta, looks can be subjective. Largely though, it is agreed that while BR-V is second-best to Creta in the looks department, it is anything but shabby. The appearance of the car makes it clear that it has genes flowing in from the CR-V and City. Perhaps if it wasn’t stretched, it would look meaner. However, the stretch hardly makes the BR-V look awkward.

* Speaking of that stretch, it is what gives BR-V the biggest advantage against not just the Creta but almost every other car in the segment. Yes, even the seven-seater Scorpio. There is just so much space inside BR-V that one drive may be all it takes to bring the entire extended family back together. Or seven of them anyway. The room for passengers in the second row is lavish while the ones in the last row won’t be cramping up anytime soon either. And when not required, the last row folds up to open up tons of space for cargo.

* Honda has priced BR-V aggressively. There is a difference of almost a lakh in the top-end petrol versions of BR-V and Creta. The difference jumps up to about a lakh and a half in the top-end diesel versions of the two cars.

In the end, it is almost a certainty that BR-V should be the choice of the pragmatic buyer. More space, decent looks and noticeably lesser price make it a good deal. On the other side, the enthusiastic driver wanting to be pampered with features – opulent or practical – would still opt for the Creta if s/he does not mind the extra EMIs.

In the end, it is a question of whether mind triumphs the heart or the heart prevails – either way, Hyundai and Honda promise to be good buys.

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