Honda Brio Facelift Review & First Drive

Honda Brio Overview

Honda’s first small car for the Indian market promises a lot and from our first impression it does have the capability to deliver on those promises. It is however nothing like the Honda new small car concept we saw unveiled at the 2010 Auto Expo in Delhi. That was a far more sportier looking hatchback though the Brio by itself is attractive enough to warrant a fair amount of attention. The styling is pretty close to the Jazz with the sharply raked hood tapering towards the grille though it’s much more compact. Yet the Brio has a wide footprint, 1.6 metres wide that makes it look well planted and stable. The roof gets taller as it flows towards the rear but the most eye-catching element is the hatch – made out of transparent glass. It’s a very attractive design element and quite practical too, at least it will prevent all those pesky hotel and mall security personnel from wanting to open your boot all the time. View offers on Honda Cars from Honda dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

industrynewswire.in

Honda Brio Style

A nip and tuck for the Brio was long overdue, considering that it had been around for about half a decade. The little Honda was lauded for its city-friendly proportions and peppy motor, but sales did slump a fair bit purely because the opposition kicked things up a notch. For the first time in five years, the hatch has been given a facelift to take on the newer lot. But are the changes good enough?

Changes to the exterior are minimal. The Brio retains its cutesy face, but there’s an all-new bumper and grille combo. As you might have figured out already, it’s the same setup we’ve seen on the updated Amaze, just with the chrome grille being swapped for a gloss black one here. It looks more mature now, but on a personal front, I still prefer the older face. The side and rear get absolutely no updates whatsoever, save for a stubby spoiler with LED lights and updated detailing in the tail lamps. The all-glass hatch is unique to the Brio, but it is surprising to see Honda skimp out on a rear wiper. The flat-ish tail is likeable, but the design is beginning to show its age. On a related note, we’d have loved to see the hot RS version that other Asian markets get, with the super-cool projector headlamps and dual-tone alloy wheels, but sadly that isn’t an option just as yet.

Honda Brio Space

The interiors of the Brio are fairly up-market and contemporary – at least they feel richer than what Toyota has used inside the Etios/Liva. It also feels wider though three full grown adults at the back will be a tight fit. There is however enough knee room and space to place your feet comfortably, even for the guy squeezed in between the other two thanks to the nearly flat floor.

The dashboard is a pleasant mix of beige and chocolate brown, the clocks are sporty and the steering wheel complements the whole look. Our ‘one below the top of the line’ variant got steering mounted audio controls though the 2-DIN stereo does not accept compact discs and like the Jazz it only has aux and USB connectivity which may work for some but I’m not certain how many people will be comfortable making the technology shift in this segment.

The seats are comfortable though it takes time to find a position that fits you perfectly. One aspect that I found lacking was the number of storage options. In this department Honda broke new ground with the Jazz but that sort of immense and diverse storage options for any number and size of knicks knacks is not present in the Brio. You get the standard cup and bottle holders but thats that, nothing more special.

Honda Brio Engine

There are no changes to the powertrain, which means the Brio continues to be powered by the same 1.2-litre, four-cylinder motor. Power and torque figures remain unaltered at 88PS and 109Nm, and seem adequate.Much like before, the little i-VTEC pot begs to be revved hard. It’s the only way you can have a bit of fun with it. It sounds pleasing at high revs too, if I may add. The clutch – in true Honda fashion – is super light and has a small travel. It bites in nice and early, so setting off in start-stop traffic isn’t going to be a big hassle. But the torque kicks in slightly late, so you will find yourself downshifting often.

If you cannot be bothered with shifting gears yourself, there’s an automatic variant on offer as well. Unlike the rumours that suggested a possible CVT option the Brio continues to sport the good-old 5-speed torque converter automatic. There’s no perceptible difference in the way the hatch moves, so shifts are still smooth, and kickdown induces a lot of protest from the motor. Drive with a super light foot however, and the engine-gearbox combo feels at ease. Upshifts happen early in the rev range (~2000rpm) and the transmission tries to eke out every little bit of mileage it can from the motor. Claimed fuel-efficiency stands at 16.5kmpl versus 18.5kmpl for the manual. A set of paddle shifters would’ve sealed the deal, but then – that’s being a tad too greedy, isn’t it?

Honda Brio Driving

The Brio is a great city car, thanks to its compact dimensions, a fuel-efficient engine and a light steering. It does a nice job zipping about from point A to point B or just ambling about in the city with quiet restraint. But what happens when you show it a freshly-baked piece of tarmac with no sign of life around it? Well, we’re happy to inform you that this baby Honda keeps up with whatever you throw at it. Open the taps and the Brio reaches three-digit speeds in no time. Play with the revs and you’ll pass 150 kmph. While you are at those speeds, the Honda Brio doesn’t feel out of place. The steering has weighed up, the suspension is keeping the car in poise and there is not much jiggling about from this little performer.

Despite its compact dimensions, the Brio always feels as composed as some large sedans. The car feels tight and can stay like this for days, had it an everlasting fuel supply. NVH levels are well controlled too and little enters the cabin at higher speeds. The i-vtec motor is a smooth operator and goes about its business silently, until you press your right foot in disagreement. Being a light car with 88 PS power under the hood, the car zooms ahead with an effortless bellow, leaving behind most hatches in its wake. There is no hesitation from the motor, which, once past 3500 rpm, gives you the same doses of acceleration addiction as did the old Honda city with its 1.5 i-vtec heart. Like all Hondas, the Brio’s suspension is not suited for low speed use on rough roads. The springs crash and thrash about if you increase the violence and the Brio’s reassured ride stability is compromised. Thanks chiefly to a relatively harder suspension setup, the Brio handles corners with relative ease and composure, albeit with some amount of body roll.

Honda Brio Safety

For the safety of occupants, Brio gets a string of safety equipment including dual front airbags (available only on the high end trims), ABS and EBD, front seat belt pretensioner with load limiter, rear windshield defogger, driver seat belt reminder, day/night inside rear view mirror and immobilizer among a few others.Some of the key styling elements on the outside are new headlights, redesigned front chrome grille, mudguard in front and rear, front fog lamps and body coloured bumpers. Inside the cabin, Brio features chrome embellishment around air vent rings and gear shift ring while the steering wheel and inner door handles are finished in silver.

Honda Brio Cost in Hyderabad

Honda Brio Ex-Showroom Price in Hyderabad ranges from 4,74,012/- (Brio E MT Petrol) to 6,86,685/- (Brio VX AT Petrol). Get best offers for Honda Brio from Honda Dealers in Hyderabad. Check for Brio price in Hyderabad at Carzprice

Honda Brio Conclusion

The Honda Brio is a brilliant small car that excels in most departments while keeping up with the rest of the competition in others. It is a great value proposition, providing comfort, space, fuel economy and performance, all at a justified price, keeping in mind that it wears the big H badge. However, we felt that the interiors could have been better and the suspension more passenger friendly. But this is just looking for needles in a hay stack, for the Brio is otherwise a brilliant all-round package. Also, do not forget that when one buys a car, one builds a relationship with not only the car but also the manufacturer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *