Honda Elevate Review: Is It Worth The Wait?

The Honda Elevate marks the re-entry of the Japanese carmaker into the compact SUV space after 3 years.

By Seshan Vijayraghvan


11 mins read


Published on August 1, 2023

Follow us on



    The compact SUV space has been the hottest SUV segment in India, and there are several important players in the market. However, Honda Cars India has been absent from this space for a few years now, ever since the BR-V was discontinued back in 2020. But the Japanese carmaker is finally making a comeback after three years, and how! Yes, I am talking about the company’s newest offering, the all-new Honda Elevate. It’s the company’s newest Global SUV, and India will be the first market to get it. We recently got a chance to get behind it wheel to find out how good it is, and if it can take on the competition.



    Design and Dimensions


    Honda Elevate 9

    The new Honda Elevate has a butch look with the conventional boxy SUV design


    Starting with the design, Honda has chosen to go with a macho, squarish look for the Elevate, and it is quite visible. The scooped-out bonnet gives the SUV a muscular look, which is further accentuated by the large body-coloured bumper panel upfront. The square face also features a large black grille with the Honda logo placed prominently in the centre, and it is flanked by a pair of sleek LED headlights, with integrated LED daytime running lights and LED turn indicators. Honda also hasn’t gone overboard with chrome details. In fact, the only chrome bit on the facia is a three-piece insert above the grill. The Elevate also gets a pair of squared foglamps and heavy cladding with a faux skid plate.


    Honda Elevate 8

    Both the length and wheelbase of the Elevate are longer compared to the segment leader Hyundai Creta


    Walk towards the profile and you see more cladding on the sides and around the wheel arches to complete that tough look. And, while the lower trims will get a set of 16-inch steel wheels, this top-spec trim comes with 17-inch dual-tone alloy wheels. Honda also offers roof rails, while at the rear you get a pair of stylish LED taillamps, which gets a connected design, but there is no light bar. Overall, a clean look that will appeal to a lot of buyers who are looking for something butch, but with subtle styling.


    Honda Elevate 6

    The top-spec Elevate gets 17-inch alloy wheels with LED taillamps and roof rails


    In fact, even in terms of dimensions, the SUV is at par with the competition. The new Honda Elevate measures 4312 mm in length and has a wheelbase that is 2650 mm long, both more than the segment leader Hyundai Creta. The SUV is also 1790 mm wide and 1650 mm tall, whereas the ground clearance stands at a segment-best 220 mm.


    Interior and Features


    Honda Elevate 23

    Honda has gone for a lighter tone of interior for the Elevate to give it an airy look


    There is good space inside the cabin of the Elevate, and Honda has designed the interior smartly. Now, you sit a bit high inside the cabin, which gives you a commanding view of the road, but the windows are small. Having said that, Honda has gone for a beige headliner with a brown & black dual-tone interior, so it doesn’t feel claustrophobic. As for the dashboard, Honda has gone for a very clean and conventional design rather than making it very flashy, and I sort of like it. You have a tonne of premium material, including soft-touch plastic, along with some artificial wood accents and some faux leather inserts on the dashboard and door panels.


    Honda Elevate 30

    While the SUV does come with a electric sunroof and rear AC vents, its doesn't get ventilated or powered seats


    The seats look similar to the ones offered in the City, which are well-bolstered and quite comfortable. However, Honda is still not offering ventilated seats even as an option, and neither does the driver get a powered seat. Features that some of the competitors already offer. Furthermore, even the plastic quality of the AC vents is not really great. That being said, you do get an electric sunroof, however, it’s not a panoramic unit like we have seen in some of the other compact SUVs.


    Honda Elevate 20

    The rear seat offer good comfort but is only suitable for two adults


    Rear seat comfort is also quite nice, and you get enough room for your legs and head, however, I do wish it offered better under-thigh support. That said, Honda does offer rear AC vents and a foldable central armrest with cup holders, but the rear seat is not suitable for three passengers, maybe two adults with a kid in the middle. 


    Honda Elevate 12

    Honda does offer a massive 458-litres of boot space with the Elevate


    In a nutshell, the cabin is quite comfortable, and you won’t feel any discomfort during long drives. Honda also offers a massive boot space of 458-litres, which is a big plus.


    Infotainment and Tech


    With the new Elevate, the carmaker is now also offering a new 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is a much nicer unit compared to what other Honda cars get. The system is quite intuitive and has minimal latency, plus, Honda now also offers wireless connectivity for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Additionally, the central display doubles up as the monitor for the rearview and side view cameras and has a shortcut menu for several other functions. You also get a wireless phone charger now, but both USB ports up front are Type-As, and there is not a single Type-C port, so keep that in mind.


    Honda Elevate 31

    The Elevate comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display, wireless charger and a 7-inch display for the instrument cluster


    As for the instrument cluster, Honda offers a part-digital part-analogue unit with a single dial on the right and a 7-inch display on the left featuring a digital dial. The unit is quite well-designed and offers a tonne of vehicle information along with alerts and Advanced Drive Assistance System or ADAS notifications. The Elevate also gets a leather-wrapped multi-functional steering wheel with a tonne of controls on the steering for different in-car functions including ADAS functions.


    Honda Elevate 32

    The Elevate also gets a host of connected car tech as part of Honda Connect


    The Elevate also features the Honda Connect connected car technology that offers functions like vehicle tracking, speed alert, geo-fencing, live car location sharing, unauthorized Access Alert and much more.


    Safety and ADAS


    Honda is also giving huge importance to safety. The Elevate is loaded with up to six airbags, anti-lock brakes, rear seatbelt reminder, rear parking sensors, lane watch camera and a multi-view rearview camera. Other features include vehicle stability assist, hill-start assist, emergency stop signal, and ISOFIX seat mounts. The Elevate also comes with Level 2 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS as part of Honda Sensing.


    Honda Elevate 22

    The SUV also comes with a bunch of ADAS functions including collision mitigation and lane keep assist


    The Elevate offers up to six Level 2 ADAS functions which include a Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) which detects a car, cyclist or pedestrian that might suddenly come in front of your car and under which the system will apply braking to stop or slow down the vehicle to help mitigate the collision. Then you get the Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Road Departure Mitigation System, both designed to ensure you drive safely in the correct lane. While the former alerts you when the vehicle is leaving the lane, the latter supports steering operation when the vehicle is likely to stray from the lane. The system also includes auto high beam, adaptive cruise control, and lead car departure notification system.


    Engine and Performance


    Honda Elevate 19

    The Elevate only has one engine on offer - a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor


    Powering the new Honda Elevate is the same 1.5-litre naturally aspirated i-VTEC petrol engine that powers the Honda City as well. In fact, even the output remains similar. The motor churns out about 119 bhp, whereas the torque output stands at 145 Nm. Now the numbers might read good on paper, but when you drive the car, the story is completely different. Firstly, the engine itself is not the most exciting one out there, peak power is achieved at 6,600 rpm while peak torque is developed at 4,300 rpm. So yes, it takes a while for things to get moving.


    Honda Elevate 4

    While the power figures look decent on paper, the Elevate feels underpowered and strained


    While it did work for the Honda City, in the Elevate it feels more underpowered and strained, and one reason for that is because the SUV is heavier compared to the City by a good 105 kg. Also, it does not like to be rushed, instead, it liked to gradually gain momentum.


    Honda Elevate 1

    The Elevate with the CVT unit is decent for city driving, however, it's not very fun on highways


    Now, Honda offers the Elevate with both, a 6-speed manual gearbox and an automatic continuous variable transmission (CVT) unit. And I first got the drive the first. As with all Honda CVTs, this automatic transmission will get the job done but it won’t make the drive enjoyable. The gearbox feels sluggish and has the prominent rubber band effect that CVTs are notorious for. It is good for city driving and can be a boon in stop-and-go traffic, and if that’s the kind of driving you do go for it. However, if you like open roads and do a lot of highway runs then the manual gearbox might be a better option.


    Honda Elevate 16

    The Elevate also comes with a manual gearbox, and that feels much better to drive


    The 6-speed manual gearbox is very good offering short throws with smooth and precise shifts. The gearbox feels like it is more suited to handle the laidback nature of the engine, and Honda has done a fine job tuning it. The company says that it has increased the driving force by 8 per cent for better acceleration. The gear ratios have also been optimised, especially in the 1st – 2nd gear ratio which has been adjusted to be 7 per cent closer, leading to smoother gear shifting and less strained performance.


    Honda Elevate 14

    The CVT version can return 16.92 kmpl compared to the 15.31 kmpl milage of the manual Elevate


    However, this comes at the cost of fuel efficiency, because according to Honda, the CVT version can return 16.92 kmpl compared to the 15.31 kmpl milage of the manual Elevate. Having said that, if I had to choose, I would go for the 6-speed manual rather than the CVT.


    Ride and Handling


    Honda Elevate 15

    The Elevate offers good ride quality and handling


    The Honda Elevate’s suspension is a bit on the stiffer side, however, it’s not uncomfortable by any means. The SUV has a nice ride quality, and it soaks in all the small undulations on the road pretty nicely. The SUV also handles quite nicely and stays planted even at high speeds. But one issue that I have with the car is with the steering, as I wish it offered better feedback. 


    Honda Elevate 13

    The steering of the Honda Elevate is not very engaging and feels wooden 


    The steering feels quite wooden and has next to no feedback, so the drive is not very engaging. Having said that, it’s quite light, and manoeuvring through city traffic will be quite a breeze. Honda has also worked extensively on the NVH levels of the Elevate and that too is quite good.


    Verdict and Price Expectation


    Honda Elevate 28

    The Elevate is a well-built compact SUV that offers a good fit and finish, along with all the nice features that one might need


    The new Elevate is certainly a good attempt from Honda Cars India. It’s a well-built compact SUV that offers a good fit and finish, along with all the nice features that one might need. However, it misses out on many modern creature comforts that the competition offers. And for some that might be a deal-breaker. Furthermore, Honda is neither offering a diesel option nor a hybrid powertrain, which I think is a missed opportunity given the increasing popularity of hybrid cars among Indian buyers in the segment.


    Honda Elevate 11

    The SUV misses out on many modern creature comforts that the competition offers


    One way Honda can make the Elevate a worthy rival to the likes of the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos is by pricing the Elevate attractively, somewhere in the range of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 18 lakh (ex-showroom). However, Honda is not known for its aggressive pricing strategy, I would say the carmaker is likely to launch the Elevate somewhere between Rs 11.9 lakh to Rs 20 lakh (ex-showroom) and that might deter a lot of buyers. So yes, it all boils down to how Honda prices the Elevate, which will be announced in September 2023.

    Stay updated with automotive news and reviews right at your fingertips through carandbike.com's Google News

    Related Articles

    Latest News

    Popular Honda Models