In the fiercely loaded Mid-Size SUV segment ruled by the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos one major brand has been missing. Japanese car maker Honda had no car model for the Creta Seltos segment until now the Elevate. Honda Elevate is the car makers very 1st attempt for the Indian Mid Size SUV market and we land in a warm and sunny Udaipur to dig deeper into this SUV wanting to know all about it, so sit back and read on our complete detailed review of what could be a surprise segment shaker.
Food for Thought
Honda has developed the Elevate especially for India by Honda R&D Asia Pacific in Thailand under the lead of Large Project Leader Munetsugu Kaneko. The Elevate was unveiled in India in June this year. As per Honda the name Elevate is a backronym, which the name represents ’empowerment, liberation, exploration, versatility, aspiration, transformation and evolution’. Elevate shares its platform and underpinnings with the 7th Generation City sedan. Honda also plans to get an All Electric version of the Elevate in the next 3 years. For now the Elevate goes up in a house full SUV segment where it locks its horns against the segment leaders the Hyundai Creta & Kia Seltos, other major players here include the Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota Hyryder, Volkswagen Taigun, Skoda Kushaq and the MG Astor.
In terms of dimensions the Honda Elevate stands at 4312mm in length, 1790mm in width and is 1650mm tall. The Elevate has a total wheelbase of 2650mm and a class best ground clearance of 220mm, boot-space is class leading at 458 liters.
In terms of exterior styling the Elevates face reminds a lot of the Honda Pilot which is their premium SUV model in the United States of America. The front comes with a flat glossy black grille complemented with a thick chrome band that runs on the top mating into the swept back projector LED headlamps. The Honda H logo in chrome is also large in size while the large front bumper houses round projector white fog lamps and a wide faux skid plate along with its air intake. The bonnet gets a flat raised styling with prominent character lines defining it. The side profile is largely complimented with a chrome garnish defining the glass area, door mounted large sized wing mirrors with turn indicators and a thick body color insert placed on the lower section of the doors.
The Elevate drives on R17 wheels mounted on dual tone alloys. Wheel arches come with fiber fladding which are unpainted and have a square cut design on them offering the sides with the much needed brute look. The roof gets faux roof-rails while the door handles get chrome treatment. The Elevate misses out on the current trending Panoramic Sun Roof and only comes with a regular sized electric sunroof and a body colored shark-fin antenna.
The rear profile is largely stylized around the infused LED tail lamps which get a pleasing sporty LED strip glow in them. Though the design here is connected type for the tail lamps but the entire light setup does not glow which is a miss out. The rear glass gets wash-wipe along with defogger and a nice body colored spoiler keeping maters exciting here. The rear bumper comes with stop reflectors and the faux skid plate finishing the SUV style appeal on this SUV.
In terms of interiors the Elevate gets a dark theme cabin with the dashboard coming with black along with some faux leather insert and faux wood garnish. The instrument cluster is the same ana-digital unit from the Honda City which is crisp and easy on the eye. Honda could have offered a full digital LCD instrument cluster which is currently in trend. The steering is borrowed from the City which is a three spoke design with leather wrapping and faux metal inserts along with all the MFD buttons for audio, telephony and ADAS. You get height and reach adjust on it and the feel is premium. The centre dash gets the key USP which is a 10.25 inch touch screen AVN unit which runs on an all new updated OS and comes with all the connectivity options may it be Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, FM radio, Bluetooth telephony etc.
You also get the Honda Connect feature which lets you connect to the car using their Mobile App. The climate control is a single zone unit with touch controls for its settings while the fan speed and temperature is controlled using the flat control switched. You get wireless mobile charging, two USB charging ports and a power outlet, USB C fast charging port is sorely missed on the Elevate. The centre dash gets storage space and a closable arm rest for utility and convenience. The rear view mirror gets auto dimming feature and a unique rimless design. The door pads also get the faux leather padding along with faux metal inserts to complete the premium theme insides. Switchgear and window control buttons are burrowed from the Honda City.
The glove-box has adequate storage capacity and the overall plastic quality on the interiors feels typically Honda which is premium with zero cost cut evident. Doors get bottle holder space too. The seats get unique tan color faux leather upholstery but the drivers seat misses out on electric adjust and ventilation feature which the competition has been offering, what the front seats offer is unmatched comfort and excellent seating for those long drives. The head rests come with the unique design and offer max support.
Rear seats get two adjustable headrests and also a foldable arm rest with the comfort being premium and very well supported. The seats on the Elevate could easily qualify as the best in class offering some excellent under thigh and back comfort. Leg room behind is generous and so is the knee room along with the head room. The rear passengers get two AC vents and a power outlet, missing out on rear USB ports which is the currently needed and trending feature.
As mentioned the Honda Elevate comes with a class best boot capacity that of 458 liters which can swallow some good amount of luggage for your trips.
Engine – Drive – Suspension
Powering the Honda Elevate is a single Petrol unit which has been borrowed from the City, the 1.5Liter i-Vtec 4-cylinder NA unit that makes 121PS of power and 145Nm of torque. Transmission option here includes a 6-speed manual and a CVT automatic. We drove the CVT version so let us tell you all on it.
The i-Vtec engine now gets the RDE norms compliance also as before is a highly refined unit. Shift to the drive mode and the Elevate chugs ahead in typical Honda style. The power buildup is good but not as quick as the Turbo engine options that the competition is offering. Never the less the Elevate offers one of the best ride quality in this class. We were blown away by the way this SUV drove over bad roads and pot holes offering premium rid quality, full marks to Honda for this super fine tune of the suspension.
In terms of transmission the CVT automatic is a tad bit sluggish and has its trademark rubber-band whine at times but the i-VTEC erases the drawback to an extent with its power and capability. We think Honda should have offered a Dual Clutch (DCT) transmission or at-least a Torque Convertor Automatic transmission as the competition is offering this since long.
The steering feels connected and lively with typical Honda drive pleasure being the hallmark here. The engine revs nicely but yes we would have loved a Turbo motor for the top end trims. Overall comfort in the cabin is very neat at all speeds and road conditions. The Elevate is a highway gunner with sure planted drive feel at high speeds. Yes we missed the Hybrid option on the Elevate which the City gets, Honda says they getting an All Electric version of the Elevate in 3 years but we feel till then an Hybrid which they already have should/ could have been on the lineup.
Honda Sensing – ADAS
Honda calls its ADAS safety feature as Honda Sensing. This system uses only a camera unlike the competition which uses a camera and also radars to detect obstacles in the front and also at the rear (Seltos), Elevate has no rear traffic warning. The Honda Sensing ADAS features in Honda Elevate include Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Lead Car Departure Notification system, and Auto High-Beam Assist. Though we didn’t try all these features but the ones we tried worked flawlessly like the Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep assist, Blind spot warning and the unique Lane watch camera.
The Honda Elevate SUV goes up in the all important Mid-Sized SUV segment where it hits against the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Volkswagen Taigun, Skoda Kushaq, MG Astor, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota Hyryder.
With the Elevate Honda has entered the Mid Sized SUV segment though a tab nit late but they are here finally. Yes the Elevate misses out on a few features and also does not have a Hybrid or Turbo engine option but what it offers is loads of space, typical Honda styling and premium finish and yes loads of drive pleasure.
Would we suggest you the Honda Elevate?
Well that is a tricky question with a simple answer, Yes if you are a Honda fanboy and you desire a SUV with drive pleasure and can let go of the missing features the Honda Elevate is just the perfect option for you out there provided our friends there Price it competitively as against the competition.
Words – Ritesh Madhok
Video & Edit – Bhushan Joshi