Overall the engine is a joy to drive. I am a sedate driver and the power and torque seems to be distributed very well across all the speeds of the gearbox.
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Been scouring and researching for a few years to replace my 2015 grand i10 with a versatile ‘all rounder’ SUV to suit my needs in the hilly and narrow terrains of my location. Zeroed in and chose the Elevate after gleaning a lot of input from fellow BHPians here. I decided on getting a NA engine which suited my needs the best.
Tested, Considered and skipped these options:
- Grand Vitara – Flimsy build, poor rear headroom, only 5 speed manual.
- Seltos – Lower variants not appealing, terrible approach angle.
- Creta – Not palatable. In my subjective opinion, one of the ugliest cars ever.
- Astor – No service network in my state.
So I finally got my Honda Elevate VX MT delivered to me on the first week of October and I have been driving it sporadically for about 3 weeks.
I have done some 500 kms and my experience has been a mixture of hits and misses. Here are some observations:
- Overall the engine is a joy to drive. I am a sedate driver and the power and torque seems to be distributed very well across all the speeds of the gearbox. Love the fact that I can amble along pebble infested roads on third gear. I felt the delivery of power on take-off at first gear is a bit slow but beyond that there is nothing to complain about considering that it is a NA engine. Cruising between 60 to 100 kmph speeds on the highway with the foot half pressed on the gas pedal is its finest experience. At the same time its also quite nimble in stop-start traffic where the tight turning radius helps. Honda has largely achieved the aim of their moniker ‘urban freestyler’ with the car.
- The build quality and the overall construction of the vehicle is summed up by the word ‘average’. The car does not feel like a unified and distinct enterprise but rather like a cobbling together of both ideas and materials. Cost cutting is apparent in many areas. One look at my friends BRV and it is clear that this car is half a notch below those standards. Its not bad mind you, but not a continuation of the quality honda is known for.
- Coming to the noise of the vehicle, insulation is not the best. The noise of the engine and the roads seep in considerably though not at discomforting levels. The noise of the engine itself is not pleasant, at high revs it sounds labored but not annoyingly so. Another BHPian complained about a ‘buzzing’ sound from the engine and I can confirm that it is present and audible on moderate acceleration on silent highways. It sounds as if the engine noise is emanating from 2 separate areas. The ‘buzzing’ coming from the left side. My suspicion is that it may be due to the abundant plastic underbody cladding on the vehicle which is creating the strange acoustics.
- I am pleased to report that the ride and handling feels great. The ground clearance is delicious for the roads in my state and the car tackles all reasonable terrains with ease. Body-roll is also very well contained to make the ride experience very good. The gear box is very smooth but I found the gearbox of my cousins hyundai creta just a tad slicker. The Elevate gearbox operates on the traditional back slot for the reverse gear instead of the current trend of the switch reverse in most cars. It takes a bit of time navigating and getting used to placement of the slots.
- The vehicle definitely gives you a mass market vibe. The attention to detail is poor overall. For example the rubber beading of the doors has been installed partially on the doors and partially on the frame of the entrance and the beading ends looks like someone has cut it with a knife in a hurry. The lack of a sunglass holder is grating while the quality of the front grill plastic is bordering on a joke. I have also noticed that the windshield has been bonded on the front frame without any kind of plastic or rubber beading making it look like you could lift it off at any time. (Pictures below). Also something I noticed is that the hatch door closes with a really unconvincing clank that leaves you wondering whether it has caught the lock.
- The high belt line of the car generates a snug effect but compromises the feeling of airiness in the cabin. Add the rain visors and the windows become noticeably narrow (Pictures below). I think the ZX variant with its darker leather interiors may make the cabin claustrophobic. Space and seating comfort did not bother me too much. It seemed fine to me.
- Another thing that’s been a nasty surprise for me is the proprietary wireless charging pad. I don’t know whether Honda calibrated it to any wireless charging standards but it overheats my phone within half an hour. My phone shut off due to overheating during my first charge going from 24% to 37%. I picked it up and it was a hot potato. Of all the gripes I have, this has annoyed me the most. I don’t like wires dangling in the cabin so the wireless charger was something I wanted to have. I charged it two or three times subsequently and it cooked my phone every time. My battery health has gone down from 87% to 83% in this brief period (Pictures below). If I am not missing anything, it means the wireless charger is pretty much useless now unless I want to destroy my phone battery by frying it. Fellow BHPians may please enlighten me if this is the case with the proprietary wireless chargers of other car brands.
- Audio quality is not very good. The head unit is simple and the interface is quite pleasant to use. I like the semi-digital instrument cluster but the mileage statistics seems unreliable displaying some unreal numbers. The plastics in the car seem okay. The door thud seems solid even if it feels a little ‘puffy’ compared to its competitors. Its certainly better than the Marutis.
- Fuel efficiency is not horrible but I do wish it was better.
On the whole, despite the undeniable shortcomings, I am quite happy with the car. A lot of things could have been better but it fulfils the fundamentals efficiently if not spectacularly. It covers so many bases for the normal car buyer which is its strength. Hope Honda finds success with this.
(P.S. I don’t think you can find much that is ‘premium’ in this car however high you raise the trim. Its strength lies in its fundamentals, so for any prospective buyer I would recommend checking out the base SV trim. Without the sunroof, it has tangibly better rear headroom. You wont lose much and the price at which the SV trim is being offered right now is a killer deal in my humble opinion).
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