Honda Elevate Design Explained
The BR-V, Honda’s previous mass-market midsize SUV, had a lot going for it. It had the size and room, and it was even built to Honda’s high specifications. Where it fell short was in terms of appearance. It was too low, too lengthy, and looked more like a posh estate than a proper SUV. It’s no surprise that it failed to pique the interest of the Indian SUV-buying masses.
Honda struggled for years to perfect the formula. Choosing an existing SUV from its global lineup – one with the proper style, posture, and size – was out since it would be too pricey. And the only ‘SUVs’ it had left were crossovers, which were too small and too upright. This is Honda’s long-awaited response: an SUV with the smooth running, efficiency, and seating comfort of a City but with an ‘elevated’ seating posture.
The Honda Elevate boasts a striking front design. The height of the bonnet is the first thing that strikes you: it reaches horizontally from the base of the windscreen to the headlamps, with barely any dip at the front. In reality, they will be much above waist level for the majority of people. This is consistent with Honda’s current global design language for its SUVs, which includes a big grille, streamlined headlight pods and a thick chrome bar running across the top. The design is comparable to the new CR-V, HR-V, Pilot, and Passport.
However, the grille area in the Honda Elevate is nearly precisely rectangular and near vertical, more so than in any of the preceding examples. When you look closely, you’ll discover that it’s mostly a blanked-off black plastic panel, with the air intake taking up only the bottom third. The triangular fog light housings in matte black on the outer edges of the front bumper, as well as the scuff plate in the centre, help to relieve some of the weight of the front end. The hockey stick-like LED Daytime Running Lamps add some character, while the surfacing that surrounds the headlights, grille, and chin is flush and crisp.
Will these new shapes and forms be favourably received by Indian customers? Honda employed a similarly daring design for the Amaze, which used massive flat surfaces to give the impression of size as well as a wedge-like snout to make it look more imposing, and it was warmly received.
The Elevate is both long and towering along the sides. The length and height are identical to the Creta, but the Honda has better ground clearance (220mm), which should give it a slight advantage. If you look closely, the side profile resembles the Seltos and Creta, but there isn’t much in the way of lines or sculpture, save for one character line that connects the tail lamps to the chrome-lined window base. The Elevate, like the Kia Seltos, has a kick-up in the rear door. The base of the doors has a lovely black plastic design that, once again, reduces perceived bulk. The chrome door knobs, on the other hand, maybe too much for some.
Around the back, the ‘double-inverted L’ tail lights seem like a cross between two SUVs and are yet another unique Honda hallmark. Unlike the headlamps, which are fully LED, the taillamps are only partially LED, with halogen bulbs used for the rear indication and reverse lighting. The rear windscreen has some rake to it, but not as much as the curving crossovers we’ve seen from Honda in the past, opting for a considerably more conservative and classic look.
The black roof provides a touch of refinement. The bulging wheel arches are beautiful, but they leave a wide gap to the 17-inch wheels, which appear to be too small for the size of the SUV. The upright glass housing, the classic SUV design, and the connected tail-lights (albeit simply reflectors) that seem clean in the rear will appeal to Indian SUV customers.
The styling on the inside is clean, sleek, and modest. Many aspects are borrowed from the Honda City, the automobile on which this SUV is based. These include the attractive part-digital instrument panel, the well-crafted steering wheel, and several features on the horizontally oriented centre console. The dull wood trim is rich, and the leatherette trim on the dash feels soft, but we wish there was a bit more of the sparingly employed brushed silver trim; it would have lightened things up.
The Elevate features a free-standing 10.25-inch touchscreen with a redesigned user interface, which is a significant improvement over the City. The hexagonal brackets, which are employed to good advantage as a design feature, function particularly effectively. The matte metal appearance of these brackets contrasts wonderfully with the leather on the dash and the rest of the muted cabin. The toggle-style climate control switches (similar to the Baleno and Grand Vitara) and the well-integrated horizontal wireless phone charging station are nice touches.
Instead of the cream or white upholstery seen in the City, the Honda Elevate features a nice brown leatherette tone, and the front seats are identical to those found in the sedan. The back bench, with its split-fold function, is less comfortable than in the City, however the rear headrests are now adjustable. The space, on the other hand, is enormous, with plenty of legroom and headroom thanks to a scooped-out roof section. In terms of size, it boasts a massive 458-litre boot with a low-loading lip.
The Elevate lacks a few major amenities, such as a panoramic sunroof (it receives a single-pane unit), a motorised driver seat, ventilated front seats, and USB Type-C connections, while there is just 12V charging; no USB. It does, however, include Honda Sensing ADAS, wireless phone charging, wireless smartphone integration (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), connected car technology, auto climate control, auto lighting and wipers, and 60:40 split rear seats.
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