Elevate SUV - Next Game Changer For Honda?

  • Honda Elevate is the tallest SUV in the segment
  • New Elevate boasts of the highest ground clearance
  • Among the first compact SUV to offer ADAS in its segment

Elevate SUV - Next Game Changer For Honda?

It's been almost five years since we have seen any new SUV from Honda cars in India. The last sport utility vehicle we saw from the Japanese carmaker was the fifth-gen CR-V in 2018; however, it was discontinued in October 2020 due to low demand. Though Honda has an extensive SUVs/CUVs portfolio globally, they haven’t made it to our shores, and the carmaker has continued with its low-slung sedans, which are losing popularity in India.

As a result, the carmaker saw a decline in sales figures for the past several years. But after finally stumbling and realising the potential of the compact and mid-size SUV segments, Honda is all set to launch the all-new Elevate - the first of five SUVs it plans to launch in India by 2030. Bookings for the new SUV is underway and its launch will take place in September 2023.

Retrospective: Honda's History with SUVs in India

Honda Journey

Despite being early in the UV segment, Honda failed to catch the people's hearts. In 2003, the carmaker introduced the CR-V in India. Though it was highly desirable due to its stylish appearance, enjoyable performance and sedan-like driving comfort, it faced challenges establishing itself as a mainstream player due to its hefty price tag. Consequently, it stayed confined within a particular set of buyers.

In 2017, Honda aimed to tap the sub-4m SUV segment with the WR-V, essentially a crossover version of the Jazz. It performed decently during its initial phase but failed to maintain its position amidst the increasing competition. As a result, it was ultimately discontinued earlier this year, along with the Jazz and 4th-gen City and brought the Honda's line-up to just two cars: the Amaze and 5th-gen City. Finally, Honda has been working to change its narrative and image in the country with its forthcoming Elevate SUV.

Read Also: Legacy of Honda Cars in India

A Radical Shift: Honda Elevate

Honda Elevate

The Honda Elevate, for which the carmaker predicts a waiting period of around 4 months by its launch, could be a game changer for the Japanese brand in India. It is a bold yet much-needed departure from Honda's traditional design philosophy of making low-slung vehicles to the elevated proportions of the Elevate SUV, aligning with the preferences of most buyers these days.

Bold Design, Assertive Dimensions

Based on Honda's Global Small Car platform, the Elevate measures 4,312mm in length. While it's not the longest car in its course, at 1650mm, it is the tallest in its category, with the segment's highest ground clearance of 220mm. Its wheelbase (2650mm) is also on par with its German rivals, which have the most extended wheelbase.

Design-wise, its bold & strong appearance and upright profile give it an imposing look, which most Indians desire these days, and that's a practical step towards victory.
Upfront, it features a massive, squared-off black grille, a very upright nose flanked by LED projector headlamps and LED DRLs, and a thick chrome bar covering the car's width.
The side profile is relatively simple without any cuts & creases, but the muscular wheel arches and elevated stature steal the spotlight. Furthermore, its sporty roof rails, a heavy-knit C-pillar and cladding on the sides complete its bona fide SUV look.

Riding on dual-tone 17-inch alloy wheels, the SUV gets a connected tail lamp design and a muscular bumper with thick cladding at the rear for added rugged appeal. Overall, the Elevate stands tall and has loads of road presence, which will catch your eye.

Plush Interior, Well-Loaded Cabin

Honda Elevate Cabin

Wrapped in a dual-tone black-&-brown cabin theme with soft touch leather on the dashboard and door pads give the Honda Elevate a premium feel. In addition, the faux wooden insert on the dash contributes to its ambience. Regarding features, Honda Elevate isn't a tech-savvy paradise of luxury and comfort. Instead, its main focus is on addressing the significant convenience requirements of today's customers, particularly emphasising safety.

Some notable features to mention are:

  • Automatic LED headlamps
  • Diamond-cut alloy wheels
  • Leather upholstery
  • Semi-digital instrument cluster with 7-inch coloured TFT display
  • 10.25-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system
  • Wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto
  • Connected car tech
  • 8-speaker sound system
  • Single-pane electric sunroof
  • Auto AC
  • Rear AC vents
  • Height-adjustable driver's seat
  • Paddle shifted
  • Tilt & telescopic adjustment for the steering
  • Keyless entry with push-button start
  • Wireless smartphone charger
  • Lane-watch camera
  • Reversing camera with sensors
  • Up to 6-airbags
  • ABS with EBD
  • Electronic stability control
  • Hill start assist
  • ISOFIX child seat mounts
  • Honda Sensing - Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) 
  • A segment's largest boot space of 458 litres, 60 40 split rear seat and various storage spaces around the cabin add to its overall practicality.

Comfy Cabin

Honda cars are always known for their highly comfortable cabin, and the Elevate SUV is no different. It can easily accommodate four adults and one child, with ample knee, headroom and generous under-thigh support. The seat cushioning is also simply the best. Moreover, the driver's seat provides a pleasant and upright seating position, even at its lowest setting, offering a clear view of the nose — a thing that many buyers seek.

Tried-&-Tested Engine

The Elevate draws its charge from Honda's proven 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder, i-VTEC petrol mill doing duty in the existing City sedan. This engine is known for its driveability, refinement and well-controlled NVH levels:

Petrol Engine - 1.5-litre Naturally Aspirated i-VTEC
Power - 121PS
Torque - 145Nm
Transmission Options - 6-speed manual / 7-step CVT automatic

Being a naturally aspirated motor, you can't expect outright performance from it; however, it performs pretty well in regular driving conditions. Furthermore, its light clutch and gear shifting make things more effortless.

Sedan Like Dynamics

Honda has done a great job when it comes to driving dynamics. Tuned for comfort, the Elevate stands out with its smooth ride quality. Body rolling is also kept well for such a taller-sized SUV. Additionally, it boasts an impressive ground clearance of 220mm, the highest in its category, enabling it to navigate over road obstacles easily.


The Honda Elevate is for those looking for a spacious family SUV with a robust, masculine appearance and a great blend of features and reliability. However, no car is without flaws, of course, and along with the lack of a hybrid powertrain, the Honda Elevate misses the opportunity to stand out in the segment. Nevertheless, with all of its virtues, comfortable cabin, muscular design and Honda's reliable engineering & brand image, the Elevate might connect to customers emotionally if priced competitively. We expect its price to range between Rs 12 - 18 lakh (ex-showroom).

Read Also: Honda Elevate vs Hyundai Creta vs Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara: Detailed Comparison

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