Honda India will launch the automatic variant of the Brio hatchback in the coming weeks. This will be the third automatic car in the segment after the Hyundai i10 and the Maruti Suzuki A-Star. The new variant of the Brio will be powered by the same 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine that powers the manual car. We are expecting a four-speed automatic based on the Honda City's five-speed torque converter (although we'll be very pleasantly surprised if the five-speed from the Indonesian one sneaks into the Indian market), but with no option of paddles behind the wheel. They might just eliminate the 'S' mode as well to save on cost. We are expecting the auto transmission only for the top-end variant, but we would love Honda to surprise us with an optional AT for the mid-level variant as well. The Brio is one of the better cars in the segment and the AT will make it even more practical for urban use.
This will mark the first anniversary of the Brio going on sale, so it will also be the right time for Honda to introduce a few more features on the Brio - our wishlist includes a rear defogger (if not a wash/wipe) and adjustable intermittent settings for the wipers.
The 1.2-litre i-VTEC from the Brio also powers the Honda Jazz, which we think is the most practical city car right. Honda might hence consider offering automatic transmission for the Jazz in not so distant future - a four-speed automatic would be great for city use, although with the Jazz's extra bulk a five-speed like the one from the Honda City will make it complete. Either way, it will have to think very hard on what the Jazz's automatic variant's pricing should be.
The media drive for the Brio automatic is expected to be around the first week of October, so stay tuned for our first drive review and other updates.