Honda Brio Facelift Review & Test Drive

Honda Brio Overview

The Honda Brio is the only hatchback in the Honda scheme of things for India. The petite hatch gained popularity after its launch in 2011 for its peppy engine and decent driving dynamics and of course the Honda badge. Moving on, with Honda focussing on newer cars like the Amaze and the City, the Brio moved to the backburner. With the latest update in 2016, Honda has moved its focus back to the small cars.The Honda Brio competes against the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Swift and Ritz, the Hyundai Grand i10, the Ford Figo and the Tata Bolt amongst the hatchbacks. It still misses out on a diesel engine option, but with the market focus back on petrol cars, the Brio is expected to do well.  Honda Brio price range in India is between 4,73,269/-to 6,80,627/, check for detail pricing of Brio in Carzprice

Honda Brio Design

As is very evident, the Brio’s basic shape remains the same but plenty has been done to enhance the design. Like its recently updated compact sedan sibling, the Amaze, the Brio too gets a new nose; one that lends the hatchback a more grown-up look. Chief among the changes is a new grille that has a glossy black band that runs across its width. Lower down the restyled front bumper is a lot more defined and features faux air intakes that house the fog lamps.

What might continue to divide opinion is the styling at the rear. Honda has retained the all-glass tail-gate for India, even though the updated Brio for Thailand gets a revised unit. What the Indian Brio does get is reprofiled tail-lights and a new roof-mounted rear spoiler and they do help the look to some extent.

Honda Brio Cabin

The plastic quality of interiors might not be what you expect of a Honda. Clearly, the company has done some cost cutting and it shows. There are some flimsy plastics, which scratch and come off quite easily. However, the overall quality is at par, if not less, than the competition. Although there is enough room to seat five adults in the car, where the car lacks in is the boot space and is a big disappointment. Honda’s engineers have utilized the interior space in a way that maximum space is provided to the occupants while the boot has been relatively ignored, which isn’t big enough to store anything more than your groceries and vegetables.

That said, the car feels airy and fresh, thanks to the large glass areas and the light beige plastics inside. The Honda Brio gets features such as power windows, steering-mounted audio controls, bluetooth and aux-in connectivity, defogger, electric mirrors, cup holders, etc. The car also gets projector halogen headlamps and push button keyless start.The Brio does miss out on the climate control, which could’ve given the car a more luxurious appeal. A dead pedal is sorely missed too, which is a clear oversight on Honda’s part.

Honda Brio Engine

As mentioned, Honda hasn’t revised the Brio’s mechanicals. It continues to be powered by the same 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine that produces 88hp at 6,000rpm and 109Nm at 4,500rpm. As before, gearbox options include a five-speed manual and a five-speed torque converter automatic. The latter gearbox is an interesting choice given the Amaze that runs the same engine got a new CVT gearbox with its update a few months ago.

As always, the 1.2 engine feels peppy at low revs and is a good partner in town, flat mid-range notwithstanding. Where you can feel some of Honda’s engine prowess is when you push on with a generous dose of power just before the redline. The five-speed manual box offers fairly crisp shifts and sporty short throws and comes allied to a light and easy to modulate clutch. Likewise, the five-speed automatic continues to impress for its smoothness and responsiveness.

You’ll also like how the Brio goes about corners. The small hatch handles well, feels composed around corners and comes with a steering that is fairly direct too. Where the Brio could be better is in ride comfort. The suspension crashes and thuds fairly often and allows road imperfections to filter through in sharp jars. It’s not all that absorbent at high speeds either.

Honda Brio Rideing

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. View offers on Honda Cars from Honda dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

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

Honda Brio Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 4,73,269/- (Brio E MT Petrol) to 6,80,627/- (Brio VX AT Petrol). Get best offers for Honda Brio from Honda Dealers in India

Honda Brio Verdict

Small on the outside, big on the inside and powered by an efficient and peppy engine, the Honda Brio always made for a great city runabout. Thankfully, the revised dashboard has added a good cabin ambience to the Brio’s list of positives and we quite like the way the facelift has turned out too. In many ways, then, the Brio does offer all that you’d need from a city car.

The Brio range starts at Rs 4.69 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and extends up all the way to Rs 5.95 lakh while the sole automatic version costs a steep Rs 6.81 lakh. The thing is, when you see the Brio in light of similar priced competition from the likes of the Maruti Ritz, the Swift, Ford Figo, Hyundai Grand i10 and even the Mahindra KUV100, the case for the little Honda doesn’t seem quite as compelling. Yes, it is better than before and improves on an already good package. But is it enough to bring the attention back to the Honda? Perhaps not. We fear it’s not a case of too little, but more a case of too late.

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