A new face for the Brio that was launched in India in September 2011. This model has undergone subtle changes across exteriors and interiors, which are in line with the update...
Variant name Price 1198cc, Petrol, Manual, 18.5 kmpl ₹ 4.81 Lakhs 1198cc, Petrol, Manual, 18.5 kmpl ₹ 5.32 Lakhs 1198cc, Petrol, Manual, 18.5 kmpl ₹ 5.45 Lakhs 1198cc, Petrol, Manual, 18.5 kmpl ₹ 6.05 Lakhs 1198cc, Petrol, Automatic, 16.5 kmpl ₹ 6.89 Lakhs
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Honda Brio Review
What is it?
A new face for the Brio that was launched in India in September 2011. This model has undergone subtle changes across exteriors and interiors, which are in line with the update given to its Indonesian model. The 2016 Brio's fascia is now enriched with a bigger grille that gets a black accent and a thick chrome strip. The front bumper is also redesigned for better appeal, however, there are no changes at the sides. The rear now features a tail-gate spoiler integrated with an LED high mount lamp. The glass hatch still misses out the wash and wipe feature, but thankfully there's a new defogger that will help in our kind of weather and driving conditions.
How is it on the inside?
Surprisingly pleasant. You will be welcomed by the new interiors that are in tune with the Amaze facelift and the BR-V. A new instrument cluster, bigger dials, new two-din infotainment system and a premium air-con unit is what catches your attention first. The lower variants get a beige cabin, but this top-end Brio comes with all-black interiors with silver accents. Since the seats haven’t changed, seating comfort remains the same. Thin front seats offer respectable lateral and thigh support, while second row provides satisfactory room and comfort.
Safety features like ABS with EBD, dual SRS airbags, and front seat belt pre-tensioner with load limiter are standard on top VX variants. The equipment list isn't extravagant, yet the VX variant packs essentials like keyless entry, electrically foldable mirrors with turn indicators, four power windows and an engine immobilizer. Then the stereo is Bluetooth USB and AUX compatible and paired with steering mounted controls. Honda has done a good job in upping the interior quality as against its predecessor. That said, the lack of a touch screen system, engine start-stop button and parking sensors also displays their cost-saving measures. Also, the small boot space with a high loading lip is still one of the biggest drawbacks of the car.
How does it drive?
Honda has not introduced the EarthDreams diesel motor to this entry-level hatchback. The 87bhp, 109Nm torque delivering 1.2-litre petrol motor from its earlier model is retained. This four-cylinder i-VTEC mill comes mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, while Honda is also offering an option of a torque converter automatic transmission. We took the former out for a spin and the moment we started driving, we got a feel of the good power to weight ratio. This is superior to the Swift or the Grand i10. The peppy motor helps pull the car away from standstill easily. The bottom end response is not very spectacular, but the Brio is livable at low rpms. In fact, while crawling at low speeds it manages to get going in the second gear. This helps in rush-hour traffic and doesn't give you a chance to complain about lack of torque. With short and light throws the gearing feels nice and it is easy to work through gears for this slick gearbox. The clutch is short and light on the foot too.
We realised it is even more fun to drive on an open road when we it took it for a run on a long stretch. The engine is refined at high rpms too and feels eager to rev every time you push the accelerator pedal. And once you do that, the car smoothly accelerates to 100kmph thanks to a good mid-range. While attaining this three-digit speed in fifth gear, the engine is spinning at less than 3,000rpm. A downshift is all that's required to overtake fast moving vehicles. Yes, the powerplant feels flat post 100kmph, but its overall performance on the highway is satisfying.
The car is super silent at idling and NVH levels are good. The engine gets fairly vocal at high rpms (above 4,500rpm), but then it is a sweet engine note. Some tyre and road noise does seep into the cabin. The suspension set-up is on the softer side so the ride quality becomes wavy on highways. While driving you realise the front takes bad patches easily but sharper bumps/potholes have to be taken at slow speeds, otherwise a jolt is felt by the second row occupants. Nevertheless a ground clearance of 165mm helps the Brio clear even large speed breakers at ease.
The Brio’s straight-line stability is impressive and the car maintains its composure even while taking bends. It is well balanced to keep you involved while taking corners, but the body roll becomes prominent. The fast and direct steering also boosts confidence. Certainly it’s light at slow speeds but inconsistent in weighing up at high speeds, so getting used to it takes some time. Stopping power comes from front discs and a rear drum setup. These brakes have a good bite and the pedal has an excellent feedback. Parking becomes an easy task also because of the compact dimensions, small footprint and a short 4.5m turning radius.
Should I buy one?
The Brio's earlier model wasn't really an Indian buyer's first preferred choice given the list of many new compact hatchbacks. Now the 2016 Brio has the capability to change this. Even if it’s the same design, the car looks better, gets an improved interior and is packed with many new features. It is fun to drive and despite its small size has a comfortable cabin. However, it should also be noted that even if the Brio undercuts all of its rivals’ prices, the competitors have more features to offer at that price point.
Where does it fit in?
Pictures by Omkar Thakur
Honda Brio Colours
Brio is available/sold in the following colours in India.
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