Massive ‘n’ majestic

Honda’s Elevate makes an impression at the first glance itself, with its muscular build
Honda Elevate mid-size SUV
Honda Elevate mid-size SUV

KOCHI: The mid-size SUV segment is quite crowded. However, it is the most aspirational segment of the Indian car market. With ample space, lots of smart features, satisfying performance and decent fuel efficiency, these vehicles are always attractive to prospective buyers.

Maybe that’s why, we have many twins in the market. Say, for example, the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos, the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and Toyota Hyryder or even the Volkswagen Taigun and Skoda Kushaq. 

Now, Honda’s Elevate has entered the market without any siblings. Honda is a late entrant to this highly competitive segment, but it has so far tasted a decent success. After driving around in Honda Elevate for more than a week on both highways and city stretches, here is what I think: 

The looks

At first glance itself, Elevate makes an impression. Its huge black grille and high bonnet with muscular lines make a mark. Everything looks good, be it the LED projector headlamps, LED DRLs and indicators, LED projector fog lamps, 17-inch dual-tone alloy wheels, or the tail lamps with dual stripes. The segment-best ground clearance of 22cm adds to the charm of Elevate.

The cabin is also thoughtfully crafted with good quality materials, a premium feel and ample space. The interior colour theme is brown and black, giving a sense of elegance. The car has a class-leading wheelbase of 2,650mm, which translates to a spacious cabin. Ample headroom and legroom are available for all passengers. There is a good amount of utility space in the cabin. The boot offers 458 litres of cargo space and the back seat can be split 60:40 to fold down, as per our requirement for additional space.

The dashboard is the showcase of cars now with manufacturers competing to add digital screens as wide as possible. But Honda has gone soft on this. No integrated large screen for infotainment and information clusters here. Elevate has a 10.25-inch touchscreen as part of the infotainment system and a seven-inch driver information display. It has wireless smartphone connectivity and an eight-speaker surround sound system. The wireless charger for mobile phones is also a welcome feature.

Then, comes the sunroof, but it is a single-pane, not panoramic. Steering is telescopic and tiltable. However, ventilated front seats are missing.

The performance

The Elevate has the complete make of an SUV; but what about the driving experience? The 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine has a peak power of 120hp and a torque of 145nm. I drove the manual gear top variant. Elevate also has CVT automatic variants. With a light clutch and easy gearshift, the manual gear model is easy to drive. Elevate gains speed smoothly but if we rev high to gain more pace, the engine gets noisy. The positive thing is that it has a sporty note.  

The car is stable even at high speeds, the suspension offers comfort for all passengers, the brakes and steering are precise and there is almost zero body roll. This means Elevate is a nice car to drive and travel.

The safety

The Elevate is the first manual-geared car in India to have an Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS). Lane keep assist, collision alert and braking, lead car movement alert and adaptive cruise control are there. In our traffic and road conditions, I rarely used these features during the test drive. But the left-lane watch camera is highly useful. However, there is no 360-degree camera facility in the Elevate. 

Six airbags, three-point seat belts and seat belt reminders for all five seats are features available in all variants.

The verdict

Honda claims a mileage of 15.3 kmpl for the manual model. I could achieve a figure of 13.5kmpl. And Elevate can surely attract buyers because of its looks and manners. 

Price 

Manual: Rs 11.69 to Rs 15.41 lakh

Automatic: Rs 13.52 to Rs 16.43 lakh

Dimensions

Overall length: 4,312 mm     

Overall width: 1,790 mm   

Overall height: 1,650 mm

Wheelbase: 2,650 mm    

Ground clearance: 220 mm

New releases

New compact SUV by Hyundai

Hyundai Motor unveils all-electric Inster, the new sub-compact urban EV with up to 355km of targeted driving range. The company had its global unveiling a couple of days ago, but nothing has been revealed on its India entry. The Inster gets two battery and motor configurations for now. Entry-level cars get a 96hp front-mounted drive unit with a 42kWh battery pack, which is claimed to deliver a range of around 300km between charges. Inster is also available with a Long-Range 49 kWh battery with a segment-leading projected range of 355km.

Mahindra XUV700 production achieves 2 lakh units

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd is celebrating a milestone with the production of 2 lakh XUV700 SUVs within 33 months. To mark the milestone, Mahindra has introduced two new colours — Deep Forest and Burnt Sienna exclusive to XUV700. The XUV700 debuted with features such as Level-2 ADAS, Alexa built-in functionality, and a dual 26.03 cm HD super screen. The SUV also has received the ‘Safer Choice Award’ for 2022 and a 5-star global NCAP rating. It achieved the highest combined occupant safety rating in Global NCAP’s #SaferCarsForIndia campaign, earning five stars for adult occupant protection and four stars for child occupant protection.

Škoda slashes prices

To widen its reach, Škoda has slashed prices of the Kushaq SUV and the Slavia sedan, but for a limited period. Škoda has also renamed the variants of both models. The Kushaq and Slavia — earlier available as Active, Ambition and Style — are now Classic, Signature and Prestige. The Kushaq also gets the Onyx model on the value end and the Monte Carlo at the premium end of the line-up. The new pricing is applicable on all engine and transmission options of the Kushaq and select variants on the Slavia. Entry prices of the Slavia have been reduced by Rs 94,000, while some variants have got pricier by up to Rs 36,000. Revised prices of the Slavia range from Rs 10.69 lakh to Rs 18.69 lakh. Škoda has slashed prices of the Kushaq by up to Rs 2.19 lakh. New prices of the Kushaq fall between Rs 10.89 lakh and Rs 18.79 lakh.

The writer is a freelance auto expert who hosts TV shows and anchors the YouTube channel ‘CARKADUVA’

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