The manual seems to be the driver’s car as the automatic does not allow you to savor the famed 1.5L NA engine in its truest form.
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Got a chance to check out the Elevate a few days back. On display was the manual top spec version in Golden Brown Metallic. The colour looks quite good but kind of dulls the expanse of the black grill and the fog light enclosures. I like the contrast better so perhaps a lighter colour.
The overall design is non-polarising, typical Honda India – elegant and classy. I actually loved the design of the Elevate in the launch pictures itself. The SUV may seem to have limited road presence externally but offers a completely different perspective behind the wheel. More of that later.
What I really like about Honda interiors is the seats, especially in the City and now the Elevate. The way the seats are shaped, designed and contoured will make a car from the luxury stables proud. The rear has good legroom and the upward slanted floor is a very nice feature. However, I was not too convinced about the H point and felt that the backrest could be a little more reclined. Didn’t spend too much time so it is just a quick inference.
I loved the upholstery and there is always a certain class and finish to these kinds of things in a Honda. The dashboard by current standards is a bit plain but the ergonomics are spot on. The gear knob in the manual though is that small golf ball-like knob in the Honda. Something more substantial would have been good. 6-speed manual.
Providing buttons for the HVAC control is a welcome comeback. I am not a fan of screens jutting out of the dash but that seems to be the order of the day. Did not spend much time on the screen so don’t know how slick it is. Boot space too was very substantial and built up from the Honda City.
The variant available for a test drive was the automatic. Visibility too was very good all around. Inside behind the driver’s seat, the vehicle feels substantial. The upright bonnet means that the whole expanse of the bonnet is visible to you and it feels a much wider vehicle than it actually is. Gives you a feeling of piloting something pretty substantial.
The automatic gearbox was not very enthusiastic and my attempts to poke it into life by punching the accelerator only resulted in the typical rubber band effect and a free-revving engine before it selected the right ratios. What is good though is that the paddle shifts are very helpful in smoothing out the shifts and are very intuitive to use. One thing though, I noticed that they don’t turn with the wheel so that caught me out a couple of times mid-corner. If you dial back things a bit it does translate to a very smooth and efficient affair silently going about its business. The manual seems to be the driver’s car as the automatic does not allow you to savor the famed 1.5L NA engine in its truest form.
Overall I liked the Elevate for what it offers. Is the 1.5 NA a bummer among the current crop of turbo-charged petrols and what you have? Yes, possibly, but I now happily cavort around in a 1.5 litre NA Jimny and just love the experience. So performance will be any way better. However, before a final verdict, I need to drive the MT as I feel that that will be the true driver’s variant.
Features are not as plentiful and flamboyant as the competition but it does come with ADAS. However, the feature of the camera view when you put in the indicators is implemented on the central screen rather than on the instrument cluster as in the Seltos which I felt was a bit of an anti-pattern. Somehow it feels more intuitive to glance at your mirrors. Overall at 18 lakhs on road for the MT top spec in Trivandrum, I think it is one of the best-value SUVs on the market today.
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