Affordable and desirable little SUV

Honda launches Elevate
Eye-catching styling with a comprehensive list of standard features.
Dirk Gallowitz
I have always had a soft spot for Honda cars. One of my favourites is the S2000, but the Accord station wagon from a few years ago with its 2.2-litre diesel engine remains an item on my bucket list.

Honda's latest Civic RS is also a favourite.

In February, we attended the launch of the all-new Elevate, a small sport utility vehicle in the Honda stable, and I was pleasantly surprised with the cute design and excellent build quality, but also impressed with the affordable price for what is offered to buyers.

The Elevate is the latest addition to Honda's range of family SUVs and will compete in a hot segment with the popular Suzuki Grand Vitara and Toyota Urban Cruiser, to name just two.

The new Elevate was introduced to the world in June last year as the design and product of Honda R&D Asia Pacific and is built by Honda Cars India Limited. Coincidentally, the Grand Vitara and Urban Cruiser are also built in India and all three of these hatchbacks have the same target market in mind.

Build quality is impressive, with standard equipment and comfort aimed at the middle class without compromising.

The result is excellent value at an affordable price.

Dynamic appearance

The Elevate showcases Honda's design philosophy, where a dynamic appearance with a spacious cabin and comfortable ride is blended into an attractive package for a specific target market looking for a vehicle that offers a family the comfort and functionality of a compact sports utility vehicle with economical fuel consumption at an affordable price.

Within the larger concept of an 'Urban Lifestyler' with robust body styling, the Elevate offers attractive options for different buyers.

At 4 312 mm in length, 1 790 mm in width and 1 650 mm in height, the Elevate provides a spacious cabin for five occupants and a class-leading load space of 458 litres.

With 17" two-tone decorative wheels for the top model Elegance and 16" steel wheels for the Comfort, the Elevate's belly does not run too low on the ground and can brave an average two-lane dirt road comfortably.

The straight nose and dark grille are eye-catching, while the LED front and rear lights with daytime running lights above the headlights provide a modern front view.

Spacious cabin

The spacious cabin inside is well laid out and has a palpable sense of comfort thanks to the use of soft materials and good finishing.

The Elegance's upholstery is made of eco-friendly leather, looks modern and gives a feeling of quality.

The top model in Elegance trim is particularly well equipped for this segment.

Keyless entry with a self-locking function when the driver walks away with the key, electric windows, a new intuitive 7" colour touch screen for the audio and communication systems as well as trip information, and a wireless charging pad for smartphones are all included.

Bluetooth connectivity with switches on the steering wheel, Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay® are also available as standard. Furthermore, there is automatic air conditioning, rear parking buzzers and a multi-angle reversing camera that automatically projects the images on the touch screen when reverse gear is used.


The new Honda Elevate is currently available in two models, with the Comfort as the entry model and the Elegance as the more luxurious top model.

Both are equipped with Honda's 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol 4-cylinder engine, which delivers a maximum of 89 kW at 6600 rpm and 145 Nm of torque at 4300 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox on the Comfort model, while the Elegance makes use of a CVT automatic gearbox.

During the media launch in the beautiful Cape, we only drove the more luxurious Elegance. The ride was surprisingly pleasant and the suspension handled even the uneven sections of the roads comfortably.

The steering felt delightfully light, ideal for this segment, while the Elevate also impressed in busy city traffic.

Wind, road and engine noise were minimal, and the Elevate performed beautifully on the highway.

Yes, the 1500 cc normally aspirated engine doesn't have the oomph of today's turbo engines, so you'll have to plan well and step on the throttle properly when you want to overtake at highway speeds. Also, this little engine may groan with the whole family and luggage loaded up a mountain pass, but then again, our average fuel consumption was less than 6 l/100 km, and that's a bonus.

With the Elevate, Honda offers the quality, integrity and hopefully also the reliability that made Honda cars legendary in the past.

The Honda Elevate is a spacious, modern, well-equipped, and excellently built car for a middle-class family at an affordable price.

It’s going to sell like hot cake.