Nissan Livina vs Honda BR-V Comparo

When talking about seven-seaters and with a bit of research, you might learn a lot about each model's origins. Brands like Honda and Nissan, for example, both took two different approaches to each other when it came to platform sharing, but the results are some pretty great automobiles that can get the job done, with a little bit of the respective brands’ styles, of course. 

Take the Honda BR-V. If you’re savvy, you can trace this model’s platform all the way to the Brio, which was then lengthened and strengthened to create the Mobilio, which was then raised to create the BR-V. The BR-V is the final form for the Brio platform, and the model is in the best shape it’s ever been. Meanwhile, the Nissan Livina takes a different approach. Instead of taking from its own portfolio of platforms, and there isn’t a lot that was a great fit for what Nissan wanted, the brand tapped its fellow alliance member, Mitsubishi, to lend them the platform of the Xpander. With a tried and tested platform on their hands, Nissan proceeded to design around the Xpander’s skeleton, resulting in the Livina. These two models appear evenly match from the onset, but a deeper dive will reveal which is better than the other. Let’s go head to head with the top-of-the-line Honda BR-V VX Honda Sensing and the top-of-the-line Nissan Livina VL. 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Exterior Front Quarter

From the get-go, the two models are very similar in terms of shape and overall size. The BR-V is marginally thicker than that of the Livina, but the rest of the Livina’s dimensions are slightly longer, and taller compared to the BR-V. However, the hood of the BR-V is elongated, resulting in a more SUV-like look, and giving the car the illusion of being longer than it actually is. Meanwhile, the Livina adopts a more van-like design, and whichever one you go with will depend on your preference, but the Livina is the bigger of the two even if it doesn’t look like it from the initial approach. 

Looking at the hardware of the BR-V, we find LED lights, foglamps, DRLs, and also a combination halogen-LED set of taillamps. The look of the BR-V is modern and sleek, something that we’ve also seen with the Honda City and the Honda Civic. The result is a rather eye-catching MPV, and something that we’re quite fond of seeing. We’d say that it’s one of the best-looking models out in the market today, up for debate. 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Exterior Rear Quarter

Then we go to the Livina. In a vacuum, that car looks pretty decent, but one rarely shops and compares in a vacuum anyway so it’s a bit of a different story. What we have here is a Mitsubishi in Nissan clothing. The model shares the same design hard points as the Xpanderr, which means that the models will look very similar to one another when put side-by-side. However, the Livina does have a certain Nissan–ness about it that the Mitsubishi-ness isn’t too apparent. The hardware of the Livina’s exterior is nothing new nor revolutionary, and it’s a slight downgrade compared to the BR-V with a combination halogen-LED lighting array for the front and the rear. Halogen main beams are a little bit of a letdown given how competitive the market is today, but the DRLs save the model from getting too irrelevant. 

There are other key figures to note, like the wheels of the two models. They come in at 17 inches in its top-spec variant, while the Livina goes with 16s. The BR-V beats out the Livina’s ground clearance by only two millimeters, Honda's 207mm versus the Nissan’s 205mm figure. The Livina is a little bigger in most areas, but the BR-V is wider by a small amount, but shorter and smaller in all other aspects. In closing, it’s really a matter of personal preference if the exterior is your basis for choosing a seven-seater, but we’re more than happy to give the BR-V the win, but it’s quite a shame that the Nissan had to lose quite a bit of ground in terms of modern exterior features. 

Winner: BR-V 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Interior

When it comes to the interior, neither is shiny and new, and that sort of works in Livina’s favor, but isn’t the BR-V new? As it turns out, however, Honda BR-V still has the same design layout as the previous generation. For the most part, there’s a new layer of gloss on top of the dashboard, and the plastics can be considered new, but again, the design's hardpoints are almost all the same as the old model. It’s a bit of the same story but with different plastics and a new steering wheel shared with Honda’s other models. However, the Livina doesn’t do much to differentiate it from the Xpander of old, in fact, it’s pretty much the same down to the pockets and even to the infotainment system. 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Livina Interior Seats

The Honda BR-V is first up, and the model sports a dashboard that is parred for the course in terms of its design and its material choice. We get plastics that are hard and scratchy, but thankfully not too much gloss. While we can pick out the details in the car that hark back to the previous generation, on its own, the BR-V is okay in terms of its design. We say okay because some of the critiques that we have in the old model are still present in the new one which is with regard to the rear cargo area that doesn’t fold flat and requires a false floor in order to get it “flat.” Otherwise, you get a decent amount of storage space for small items in the front, but not as much as the Livina. The biggest selling point of the Honda, however, is that you can get leather seats from the V variant and up. 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Livina Rear Seats

In terms of design, the Livina is very familiar to savvy car buyers. The plastics are on par with the segment but the space inside is pretty great all things considered. You get a lot more storage areas and pockets for your gadgets and other stuff, plus that courtesy also extends to the rest of the cabin where rear passengers can put all sorts of stuff in the rear seat pockets. On top of that the rear cargo area folds flat and requires no false floor in order to give it that illusion. You do lose a bit of vertical space, but the versatility of a truly flat floor is something that we’re fond of in MPVs. They don’t really lie either, because the Honda BR-V’s max cargo volume is 1,032 liters, while the Livina’s is 1,632 liters of max cargo volume. 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Cargo Space

When it all comes down to it, however, we feel that there are certain tradeoffs if you are looking to buy yourself a model like the Livina or the BR-V. The Livina is more practical than the BR-V, but that is not to say that the BR-V isn’t practical. The Honda features a newer interior compared to the Livina, at least with regard to the rest of the market. The Honda does look newer, but more space and storage are more timeless than the design alone. If it came down to the wire, we’d have to award this win to the Livina because it’s so practical and you can fit a lot of stuff in the back, in the front, and even under the passenger seat of this MPV. 

Winner: Livina 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Steering Wheel

Now here is where Honda will cement another win against Nissan. From the start, the Honda BR-V’s top-of-the-line variant name already tells you that it will come with a ton of features. Honda Sensing is already a huge buff for the BR-V chances, but does the Livina have what it takes to stack up? Let’s see. 

The Honda BR-V comes with Honda Sensing, at least for its top-of-the-line trim, the VX Honda Sensing. Features like adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, lane keep, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, auto high beam, lead car departure notification, and a whole host of other passive safety features make the BR-V one of the leaders in terms of safety for the class. On top of its advanced safety features, it also boasts of a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, and you also get a dedicated eco-assist feature that nudges you to drive a little more consciously with regard to your fuel economy. Smart entry is also a thing, but that’s to be expected for a car at this price point. 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Front

Meanwhile, the Livina isn’t doing a lot to live up to the bar that the BR-V has set in terms of tech and safety. While both models do come with dual airbags, ABS, stability control, and all the other industry standards for seven-seaters, the Livina is quite far behind in terms of tech. It’s infotainment system doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android auto, and it has a gauge cluster that is not quite as advanced as the Honda’s. You still get a start-stop button and keyless entry for the top-spec models, but that’s about it. Nothing really to write home about, but some people would appreciate the simplicity of use, but not us, unfortunately. 

This round ends with the Honda easily beating the Livina. It’s no surprise as well since Honda is very open to new technology across its entire model range, and it’s also pushing for better safety technology with its in-house Honda Sensing suite of features. Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility suite of features would have been a good addition to the Livina, but with the platform sharing with Mitsubishi in place, it might have been harder for Nissan to put their own tech inside a model that isn’t truly theirs, sadly. Thus, the win is awarded to the Honda BR-V. 

Winner: BR-V 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Rear

It’s clear as day with the Honda, as even the brand knows that it is the most powerful in its class based on numbers alone. The BR-V’s 1.5-liter four-cylinder motor, even in its previous generation, also boasted of that feat among its then-competitors. Now the model makes 119 hp and 145 Nm of torque mated to a CVT. 

The Nissan Livina, however, comes with a familiar 1.5-liter engine that is also shared with the Mitsubishi Xpander. A 103 hp and 141 Nm of torque-capable four-cylinder is not going to blaze trails and create a ruckus on the highway, but it’s just enough to get the job done, especially with the four-speed automatic transmission that doesn’t feel like stretching a rubber band. 

We’ll have to hand it to the Honda BR-V on this one, however, since you kind of need all the power and torque you can get if you tend to haul a lot of stuff with you on a daily basis. Fuel economy wasn’t so bad in either model, but the Livina is a bit short on power and torque that it might call into question whether or not it can make it up a hill with an overloaded cabin. While we don’t think that the Livina has an unusable powertrain, and it can definitely make it up a hill anyway, more power is more power and more torque is more torque, so we’ll award this win to the Honda BR-V. 

Winner: BR-V 

Honda BR-V vs Nissan Side

For the price of the two models, it’s rather fair. On the one hand, you will be paying a premium for all the features and capabilities of the Honda with a minor gripe being the rear cargo area. However, you do get a slightly more premium interior with the BR-V that’s wrapped in some great-looking sheet metal, but does it justify the P1,390,000 price tag? 

The Livina, however, is cheaper at its top-spec trim. At P1,229,000, it’s a relative bargain compared to the Honda. For this price, you get more space and practicality, but that’s about it. 

Now the kicker comes in when you factor the lower variants of the BR-V. The Livina stacks up well against the V variant of the BR-V in terms of price and features, and the takedown Honda BR-V variant comes in at just P1,295,000, which is still quite a margin away from the top-of-the-line price of the Livina. Any way you cut it, however, the Livina is more affordable than the BR-V, so let’s award the win to the Livina. 

Winner: Livina 

So the winner is the Honda BR-V, but the Livina did put up a better fight than we initially anticipated. When viewed through the lens of an MPV buyer, the Livina ticks all of the boxes and then some for someone that wants outright practicality, but in terms of form and wow factor, the Honda BR-V definitely gets this win. 

The BR-V is simply one of the best when it comes to tech and safety, plus its power output ensures a bit more capability compared to the Livina. While there are a few aspects of which we aren’t fans, the BR-V is undeniably a good choice in the seven-seater arena. Is the Livina an inferior choice? It is in most departments, but it does catch up with its more practical aspects. Tech-savvy buyers will do well with the Honda BR-V, provided that they can afford it. If you’re not hungry for the latest and greatest features, however, then consider the Livina as a more spartan and workhorse option. 

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