Honda Elevate first drive review and fuel efficiency test: Late yet great? [Video]

Honda Elevate first drive review

Honda Cars India has been present in the Indian market for a long time, but it hasn’t been quick to adapt to changes. While the Hyundai Creta dominated the market segment for an extended period, competitors introduced their own products, and some of them have now firmly established themselves. Honda, on the other hand, is entering the segment fashionably late with the new Elevate. Is this car arriving too late and offering too little, or is it a classic case of “late yet great”? To find out, we took the Elevate for a test drive around Udaipur.

Looks fresh and bold

The design of the Elevate draws significant inspiration from Honda’s Pilot SUV, popular in various foreign markets, including the USA. The front features a massive grille, primarily for aesthetics, with half of it blocked. The signature Honda chrome slat extends to form the thin, all-LED headlamps, which look impressive, especially with the dual-function DRLs that also serve as turn indicators. LED projector fog lamps complement the setup. We couldn’t test the headlamp efficiency during our daytime drive.

On the sides, the top-end variants of the Elevate boast 17-inch dual-tone alloy wheels, distinct from the Honda City’s design. Strong body creases and wide windows add to its appeal.

Honda Elevate first drive review and fuel efficiency test: Late yet great? [Video]

At the rear, the Elevate boasts large split tail lamps, giving it a chunky and substantial appearance on the roads. The addition of a shark fin antenna and roof rails completes the overall look of the vehicle.

Quite spacious and very comfortable

Honda Elevate first drive review and fuel efficiency test: Late yet great? [Video]

The Elevate’s boot provides 458 litres of space, and you can utilize the split seat setup to accommodate larger luggage. Inside the car, there is ample space, even with a 6-foot person in the front seat; I, being 5’10”, had plenty of room in the rear. The floor is slightly slanted towards the passengers, creating a comfortable angle to rest your feet during long-distance journeys. The rear seats offer fantastic headroom, with a considerable gap between your head and the roof, especially since there is no panoramic sunroof to take up space.

Honda Elevate first drive review and fuel efficiency test: Late yet great? [Video]

The rear windows are large, starting from the shoulderline, giving the cabin an airy feel. Rear passengers also benefit from AC ventilation that adjusts fan speed in sync with the front vents. The most appealing aspect is the comfort of the seats. Even in the rear, passengers enjoy ample side bolsters, and the adjustable headrests are cushiony, providing a sofa-like feel. However, there is no headrest, not even a fixed one, for the third passenger, which may lead to a tight fit, even with the small transmission hump in the rear.

Honda Elevate first drive review and fuel efficiency test: Late yet great? [Video]

The front seats are also incredibly comfortable, ranking at the top for comfort. However, Honda could have added seat ventilation, especially since they are leather seats. Despite the absence of electronic adjustments, it’s not a feature you’ll miss since the steering wheel offers reach and rake adjustments.

Overall, the Honda Elevate offers supreme comfort and spaciousness.

Engine and transmission

Honda Elevate first drive review and fuel efficiency test: Late yet great? [Video]

Honda is offering the new Elevate with only the 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, which generates a maximum power of 121 PS and a peak torque of 145 Nm – the same as the Honda City. The car comes with two transmission options – a 6-speed manual and a CVT. During our test drive, we opted for the CVT version, so we will focus on that.

While the 121 PS might initially feel insufficient for a car of this stature, it proved to be ample for city driving. The CVT’s infinite gear ratio combined with the naturally-aspirated engine’s strong low-end and mid-range performance makes the Elevate EVT feel peppy within city limits. However, when you step down on the accelerator, you will experience the typical rubberband effect often associated with CVTs. To counter this, you can use the 7-stepped CVT, which can be controlled through the pedal shifters.

On the highways, overtaking might require some adjustment. Downshifting and then executing the overtake is not the most optimal approach, but it is how CVTs work.

Exceptionally frugal

We conducted a fuel efficiency test for the Elevate by driving it at 175 km and using the tankful to tankful method. With four people onboard and the climate control turned on, we set the cruise control at 82 km/h. Despite the elevation on the Udaipur – Mt Abu road and constant rains, which likely impacted the fuel efficiency, we achieved an impressive 17.8 km/l. This figure is exceptionally good for a car of this size.

Ride and handling

Honda Elevate first drive review and fuel efficiency test: Late yet great? [Video]

Honda has a reputation for producing cars with excellent ride and handling characteristics, and the Elevate lives up to this expectation. The suspension is finely tuned to absorb potholes and uneven road surfaces effectively. However, rear passengers may experience a slightly stiff ride if you don’t slow down when crossing speed breakers. The car maintains good balance and exhibits minimal body roll during cornering. The steering is well-tuned, offering a connected and precise feel. Overall, the Elevate outperforms many of its competitors in terms of ride quality and handling.

Gets Honda Sensing but misses out on features

The Elevate comes equipped with Honda Sensing, which is equivalent to Level-2 ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems). It includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and high beam assist, among other features. Honda claims that the Elevate has undergone rigorous internal safety testing and has achieved safety ratings matching Global NCAP standards. Additionally, the top-end variant is equipped with 6 airbags for enhanced safety.

While the car boasts a comprehensive range of safety features, some might miss certain creature comforts such as a panoramic sunroof or a 360-degree camera. However, it does offer a long list of features that cater to day-to-day convenience and usability.

Is it worth your choice then?

Honda Elevate first drive review and fuel efficiency test: Late yet great? [Video]

The Elevate indeed impresses in several aspects such as space, comfort, ride, handling, and fuel efficiency. While it may lack some features, the pricing of the car will play a crucial role in determining its success in the market. Honda’s ability to offer a competitive price tag will significantly impact the reception of the Elevate.

As for the ideal price to ensure success in the market, it would depend on various factors, including the level of competition, the overall market conditions, and the target audience. Honda needs to strike a balance between offering a compelling price that attracts customers and ensuring they don’t compromise too much on features and quality.

Ultimately, the sweet spot for pricing the Elevate would be one that positions it competitively against its rivals while still providing good value for money. Honda should aim for a price range that resonates well with potential buyers and emphasizes the strengths of the car. At what price should Honda launch the Elevate to make it successful in the market? Do let us know in the comments below.