The year 2016 seems to be the year of the SUV, especially the compact variety. First and foremost Maruti-Suzuki launched the Vitara Brezza, Mahindra launched the NuvoSport and we now have the Honda BR-V.If you look at the market, the Honda goes head to head with the Hyundai Creta and hence it was obvious that we would have it in this comparo. But the NuvoSport is cheaper and at the same time it is a 5+2 seater so we thought of roping it into this comparison test as well. But can the low price give the NuvoSport the edge? Read on.The br-v offers 201mm of ground clearance while the creta offers 190mm and the nuvosport offers 180mm of clearance. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)Let’s start with the newest kid on the block, the Honda BR-V. The BR-V is based on the same platform as the Honda Amaze and the Brio. As far as dimensions go, the BR-V is also the longest SUV in its class measuring in at 4,456mm.The Honda comes with the 1.5-litre i-DTEC engine. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb) When it comes to the looks, the front end does look bold and purposeful. The bold chrome grille up front is flanked by rather raked headlamps and not to forget the large bumper complete with fog lamps. The scuff plate just adds to the SUV aura.However, in profile the BR-V sports a design which is extremely reminiscent of the Mobilio. The only saving grace are the 16-inch wheels and the high 201mm of ground clearance. At the back, the BR-V looks sporty thanks to the large tail lamps. The low loading lip height helps load up the boot easily too. So in all the BR-V does not look like a proper SUV. The NuvoSport seems to be exactly the opposite. It is based on the new generation Scorpio chassis which is a ladder-on-frame design unlike the other two here which are monocoque.advertisementThe Mahindra too offers a 1.5 diesel. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)The NuvoSport also is a far cry from the Quanto where design is concerned, the car it is replacing. The front end sports a bold two tier light unit. The day time lamps sit on top and right below sit the big headlamps. The squarish grille coupled to the big bumper envisage a bold and muscular look. But the moment you see the side profile, it is unmistakably the Quanto. The body ends abruptly though and on the rear door sits the spare wheel. The position of the tail lamps have not changed either.The Creta has the largest engine in this trio. Displacing 1.6-litres it churns out 128bhp making it the most powerful as well. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)The Creta however looks much like a proper SUV. The boxy front end and the big lights give it a smart front end. In profile too things are symmetric. However the ground clearance offered by the Creta is 10mm lower than that of the BR-V at 190mm. The NuvoSport surprisingly has the least at 180mm.The Honda BR-V gets the dash from the new Amaze. However the BR-V is not as feature rich as the others here. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)Stepping inside the BR-V is easy thanks to the low 635mm ingress height. The 500mm seat squab and 610mm seatback make it comfortable for the BR-V’s driver to traverse long distances. The dash comes from the new Amaze launched recently. The design is smart and in sync with other cars in Honda’s portfolio. There are very little panel gaps and thankfully the various attachments fit well. The dash overall is a nice mix of colours and textures which includes aluminium and piano black finishes. The centre console houses the audio system and we are not so happy to report that this is one aspect where Honda could have done better. It is a simple unit which has a small dotmatrix-like display.This is a familiar looking dash. Many design elements carried over from the Quanto. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)Sure it does offer USB, aux and radio apart from Bluetooth connectivity, but we expected more from a car priced this high. The instrument panel also comes from the Amaze and looks good in the white backlight. Information provided is comprehensive too. The BR-V is also very spacious at the back thanks to the fact that designers have resorted to the man maximum machine minimum philosophy.Creta the most upmarket and feature rich in this trio. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)At 1,010mm, the BR-V also offers one of the best headroom in this class. But that is not where things end. The BR-V is the only full-fledged 7-seater in this category. Sure the third row is not very spacious but we appreciate it being there. Adding to the versatility bit are the second and third row seats which can be folded in multiple ways. Quite smart.advertisementThe honda br-v is a proper 7-seater while the mahindra nuvosport is a 5+2. The hyundai creta on the other hand can only take in five. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)The NuvoSport offers a rather familiar dash which comes from the Quanto. The central console is identical and houses a digital readout which informs driver about the gear position, outside temperature etc. Right below that resides the new Kenwood audio system. The touchscreen unit is good and a step in the right direction.BR-V: The BR-V does not get the new age touch screen audio system. Overall it looks tacky but offers bluetooth connectivity. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)BR-V: IP also carried from the Amaze and looks the part apart from being comprehensive. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)However the NuvoSport does not offer the luxury of a reversing camera. The NuvoSport also does not offer a climate control system like the other two here. The instrument panel is mostly analogue and offers plenty of data without being fancy.NuvoSport: The NuvoSport gets a third-party touch screen entertainment module which is well specced. No reversing camera though. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)NuvoSport: The clocks too reminds one of the Quanto. It looks smart and also offers loads of data. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)The steering also gets controls which the Quanto never did. The quality of switchgear has also improved and there is a positive click on most buttons. Thanks to its dimensions, the NuvoSport also feels very spacious. The driving position is also relatively high thanks to the high seat position. The second row is also spacious however ingress is a bit on the higher side. This also means that it is better to use the side steps.Creta: Creta gets a sat nav along with a reversing camera. The clocks on the Creta have started looking old school. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)Creta: The saving grace being the central digital display which looks smart and also offers usable data. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)At the back the NuvoSport has a large and cavernous boot with two jump seats. If you plan not to use them, the middle row seatback can be reclined adding to the comfort factor. But in case the jump seats are in place this option remains invalid. The boot is also not an ideal place to be in especially if two plan to travel together.The BR-V also gets AC vents at the back. BR-V units are more prominent. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)The Creta gets AC vents at the back. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)The Creta though is much like the jack of all trades. The driving position is comfortable and Hyundai is quick to change and upgrade things. As a result, new to the Creta is the audio-nav device which is now a touchscreen unit and also offers Bluetooth connectivity. The Creta also offers a climate control system complete with a single AC vent for the rear passengers. This is a feature which is also available in the BR-V. advertisementSpace is also generous and it is a good mix of comfort and accessibility. The Creta is also the only one here which has a dedicated boot. There are no seat to hamper access. But on the downside, in case you have a seven member group, two of them need to take a cab!Honda BR-V vs Hyundai Creta vs Mahindra NuvoSportFrom the driver’s perch in the BR-V it feels much like being in a slightly raised Mobilio albeit with the new dash from the Amaze. Under the hood in front is the 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine which serves all other Honda cars in India. The BR-V loses out on space with the third row up. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb) On the move one can clearly feel the presence of a lot of torque lower down the rev range. The engine is also rev-happy and in certain cases it demonstrates traits of a petrol. This also means that the slick shifting six-speed manual transmission does not have to be worked much. Adding to this bit is the light clutch which once again makes the BR-V easy to drive in the city. On the highway the BR-V also feels good. One can pull through from low speeds to high speeds without having to shift down thanks to the linear power delivery. When it comes to economy we got some pretty healthy figures. In the city the BR-V delivered over 16kmpl which is damn good. So overall the BR-V scores well in this category.Creta has the best boot but is a five-seater. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)The NuvoSport also demonstrates a new attitude in this all new avatar. The driving position is high and at the same time visibility is good ahead. The motor feels better and refinement levels have gone up marginally too. The engine also revs more freely than before and in spite of its rather heavy kerb weight, 100kmph is achieved in 17.7 seconds. But the NuvoSport feels heavy to drive. You will know that it is a big hulk you are commanding. This is also aided by the heavy steering.NuvoSport gets foldable jump seats (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)On the highway though the NuvoSport is a much better option and offers decent amounts of grip especially when laden. The 1.6-litre engine of the Creta is well tuned and feels refined on the go. It also produces 128bhp and 259Nm of torque which is the best in this category. Start up the Creta and the 1.6-litre CRDi wakes up with a bit of engine clatter but settles down almost instantly. What surprises the most about the car is the engine refinement and NVH levels.The creta has the largest engine and displaces maximum horsepower. the br-v though is the most fuel efficient. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)On the move you can barely hear the engine regardless of the speeds. If you didn’t have prior information you could easily mistake it for a petrol car. It is a testament to the engineering gone into making the engine this refined. It feels like a car from a segment above. The power delivery is smooth and you expect a punch in the head when the torque is to kick in at 1,900rpm but that too is delivered ever so smoothly. It feels like being jabbed by a very polite boxer. The gear changes are effortless and there’s absolutely no hunting around for the cogs. Though it does gain speed rather quickly it also does its best to make it feel as un-dramatic as possible.The Hyundai Creta retains its crown comfortably inspite of being the more expensive option. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb)The BR-V is set up stiff and handles well. But at slow speeds the suspension remains absorbent. The NuvoSport is a big vehicle and it is set up soft thus there’s a lot of body roll around corners. But in the city it’s comfortable to be in. The ride quality on the Creta is quite good but it performs the best at city speeds. It will make an easy job of the highway too but only as long as there’s not too much flicking around involved. VerdictThe NuvoSport has a massive price advantage and adding to it is the fact that the warranty offered by Mahindra is top class. Hence the NuvoSport claws in a lot of points when it comes to the Cost parameter. The Hyundai Creta retains its crown comfortably inspite of being the more expensive option. (Pictures: Nishant Jhamb) The BR-V though gives the Creta a genuine fight. It is comfortable to drive and we liked its agile nature. But it is devoid of features which are found aplenty in the Hyundai Creta. The Creta though is the most expensive here due to the fact that we have taken the top variants of all which in the case of the Creta is the SX (O).While it loses out points when it comes to the price, it does gain brownie points when it comes to safety parameters. So in all the Creta remains to be the best in class here.