Honda Brio Facelift First Drive Review


Honda Brio Overview

The Honda Brio, launched in September 2011, marked Honda’s aim of capturing the market of small cars and brought in the much-needed sales figures. The launch of Brio, along with the Amaze (its sedan sibling), has turned around the fortunes for Honda with the car eating up into sales of small car leaders, like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. The Brio is a very modern-looking car and appeals to the 21st century buyer in more than one ways. The price, value, space and comfort are good, if not the best, for its segment. Also, carrying the Honda badge has helped its case a lot.

The Honda Brio is the second hatchback from Honda after Jazz, which was a world-class product only let down by its pricing. Being a compact car with a light steering and an added option of an automatic gearbox makes the Brio a very attractive proposition for a hassle-free city commuter.The punchy yet fuel-efficient 1.2-litre i-vtec petrol motor pulls the Brio to three digits in a matter of seconds and can effortlessly cruise at such speeds all day. The engine is basically a slightly detuned version of the motor, which did duty in the Jazz hatchback. This has been done to increase fuel efficiency with the ARAI claiming a fuel consumption figure of 18.4 kmpl.

Honda Brio Style

On the exterior, the updates to the Brio are subtle but it does make a slightly sportier statement – especially in a color like the red we have here. The bumper gets a very subtle bulge on either side to accentuate the new lower grille and fog lamp housing. Chrome has been given a miss (thankfully) on the Brio and instead you get a nice gloss black single slat central grille joining the updated headlamps. As expected, a set of daytime running lights have been given the miss although we think it would have really helped give the Brio that ‘new’ look.Check for Honda Brio price in Chennai at Tryaldrive.

Move to the rear and you get a nicer and much larger roof/tailgate mounted spoiler and a slightly updated set of tail lamps that accentuate the Brio trademark round lighting design. A new and larger set of wheels (or even these same wheels painted dark grey or black) would have really gone a long way to tie in the new grille and the sporty pretensions but Honda has left that as is – a little disappointing.As we mentioned earlier, just like the Amaze, the real difference between the old Brio and the updated one is in the interior. For starters, the dashboard is brand new, essentially the same one you get on the BR-V and looks much much better than what the Brio had earlier.

Honda Brio Space

Unlike the exterior, the cabin of the new Brio sport a significant amount of change over the previous model. The highlight is an all-new dashboard, which is the same as seen on the updated Amaze. The all-black dashboard features a silver line running from the centre console and ends up wrapping the air-conditioning vent. The carbon-fibre finish on the lower part of the dashboard along with an impressive material quality lends a sporty and upmarket feel to the cabin. The instrument cluster too has been changed and now features a clean look with analogue dials for speedometer, tachometer and the fuel-gauge. Odometer, time, drive mode and other such information are offered through a digital readout.

The centre console now houses a new entertainment system, which is a 2-Din unit. This unit offers USB and Bluetooth connectivity, which can also be accessed through steering-mounted controls. The air-conditioner also gets a new control panel, which looks neat and uplifts the perceivable quality of the cabin. Cooling from this unit is impressive and given the compact dimensions of the cabin, the cooling is quick despite the absence of rear vents.

There are no changes at the rear and space here continues to be decent for the car’s size. With a non-sloping roof, headroom is good at the back and legroom too is acceptable. The seat bench is comfortable for two adults but three might feel squeezed. The front seats too are comfortable and have good padding with average side support. One of the good things about the Brio is the visibility for the driver at the front, partly due to slim A-pillars.

Honda Brio Gearbox

The Honda Brio gets the same 1.2-litre i-vtec petrol mil as the Honda Jazz, albeit slightly detuned for better fuel efficiency. Like all i-vtecs, it’s a gem of a unit. Its fuel-sipping nature, coupled with its peaky power delivery post 6000 rpm, makes it not only fuel efficient but also a delight for enthusiasts.

The engine develops 88 PS of power at 6000 rpm and torque of 109 Nm at 4600 rpm. This motor is mated to a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. Choose the auto box and supreme level of comfort awaits you. Be it in traffic or on the highway, the automatic gearbox seems well matched to the 1.2-litre motor. The gearshifts are silky smooth, unlike the kind of reputation cheaper automatic transfer boxes have made for themselves. This one is relaxed yet alert. Though Honda Brio’s automatic gearbox does take time to shift down when you press the throttle fully, you don’t get irritated as you would in other cars. Also, to extract the most go juice, you can slot the gearbox in D3, 2 and 1. The transmission then holds the gear according to the respective number and the gear won’t go beyond third, second and first, respectively.

The ARAI-claimed fuel economy of the Honda Brio is 18.4 kmpl for the manual variant. This is mostly due to its engine, the 1.2-litre i-vtec gem, and Brio’s lightweight construction (920 kg kerb weight). The engine is a de-tuned version of the motor used in the Jazz and is now more fuel efficient.For encouraging more fuel-efficient driving style, Honda has introduced an ECO function display on the speedometer, which glows green whenever it senses that you are driving economically. This, however, might be a bit distracting to the driver but it does a great job.

The software running the above said function probably derives its readings from variables such as the vehicle’s speed, the selected gear and rpm of the engine. However, we must convince you to not be too occupied with this 21st century tech while driving, since there are more things to worry about on Indian roads than just the fuel economy! The Honda Brio has a nice gearing setup, which allows for cruising on the highway while still getting a low fuel consumption figure. The 100+ kmph speeds with the motor rotating at 2,000 rpm still keep the green light aglow, indicating the fuel-sipping nature of the Honda Brio. We managed to extract 12.5 kmph while at it, which is a very good figure considering the nature of the drive.

Honda Brio Riding

In terms of handling, the Brio is set on the softer side, leading to a good ride quality, wherein the cabin remains largely insulated from the undulations on the road. Going fast through corners results in a fair amount of body-roll but the Brio still manages to hold onto the desired line. The steering is light to operate, making the car easy to drive in traffic and at the same time it also offers a decent amount of feedback.For more details on Honda Brio visit Kokoliko

Honda Brio Safety

The braking performance of the Brio is decent and on par with its rivals. The top version comes with ABS, further helping in the braking performance. The 175 mm-wide tyres also provide for a decent braking performance.The front wheels have got ventilated disc brakes while the rear ones have drum brakes. The brakes do a good job in stopping this sprightly little hatch, thanks to the lightness of the car.The car has passive safety tech such as ABS (Anti-lock Braking System). The ABS system helps in case of sudden braking situations, and prevents the car from skidding and going out of control.

Honda Brio Price in Chennai

Honda Brio On Road Price is 5,58,076/- and Ex-showroom Price is 4,81,150/- in Chennai. Honda Brio comes in 5 colours, namely Ralley Red,Taffeta White,White Orchid Pearl,Alabaster Silver,Urban Titanium. Honda Brio comes with FWD with 1198 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 87 bhp@6000 rpm and Peak Torque 109 Nm@4500 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Honda Brio comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .

Honda Brio Final Thought

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.