Purpose-built for customers in developing countries like India, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Philippines, etc, Honda Brio was first launched back in 2011. After a long wait, Honda has finally decided to give the small hatchback a mid-life facelift, before a new generation Brio is launched by 2019/20.
The facelift variant gets much-needed changes on the outside and the inside, giving the Brio a better chance to compete with rivals like Maruti Swift, Hyundai Grand i10, etc. We were in Delhi recently to test drive the new Honda Brio and here is our brief review.
In the front, new Honda Brio gets the same updates as seen on the facelifted Amaze sedan which was launched in India earlier this year. This is in the form of a new bumper, which gives the car a much sportier look than before. You also get headlight cluster with blackened border, new front grille finished in hi-gloss black with a thin chrome lip, and foglights.
The side view more or less remains the same, except for the addition of new alloys, and of ORVM with turn indicators. At the rear, new Brio gets a revised tail-lamp design and an edgy tailgate spoiler. Overall, the car looks much more attractive than before. It also seems to have a larger road presence, thanks to the bulkier bumpers.
Much has changed on the inside of the new Honda Brio facelift. For starters, the entire dashboard has been replaced by a more classy and premium unit which is finished in all black with faux carbon fiber as well as brushed aluminium inserts. The center dash which houses the controls to air-condition unit, as well as to the music system, is finished in piano black.
The instrument panel is now a singly unit which houses three dials, unlike the three seperate pods like in the older Brio. Thanks to a larger instrument console, it is easier for the driver to access vital data while driving.
Seats, Space & Comfort
Dimensions of the new Brio facelift remains same as before, so does the seating and storage compartments. Front seats offer good thigh and back support. Driver seat is height adjustable. Rear seats could offer decent legroom, but could have offered more thigh and back support. Rear seats get short integrated headrests, which are not comfortable for taller passengers. Air condition takes time to cool the cabin.
Speaking about storage spaces, there is enough space in door pockets, glove box, and near the gear lever to store bottles / glasses / cups and other items. Boot space is at 175 liters, which is enough to fit in two small suitcases along with some duffle bags.
Engine, Transmission & Mileage
New Honda Brio comes with the same engine option as before. This is in the form of a 1.2 liter iVTEC four cylinder mill which generates max power of 88 PS @ 6600 rpm and peak torque of 109 Nm @ 4500 rpm. Transmission options on offer are 5 speed manual as well as a 5 speed AT. Brio Manual delivers a claimed fuel efficiency of 18.5 kmpl, while the Brio AT delivers 16.5 kmpl. During our test drive, we managed to achieve fuel efficiency of 12 kmpl and 10 kmpl respectively.
Features & Safety
Electric Power Steering
Digital AC Control with Max Cool Function
Power Foldable Door Mirrors with Turn Indicator Light
Full Size Steel Wheel Spare Tyre
Electrically Adjustable Door Mirrors
Rear Parcel Shelf
Dual SRS Front Airbags
ABS with EBD
Front Seat Belt Pretensioner with Load Limiter
Day/Night Inside Rear View Mirror
With mechanics of the car remaining same as before, there is not much difference as to how the new Brio drives as compared to the old one. The peppy 1.2-liter petrol engine feels at home in the 2500-3500 rpm range. As usual, red-lining this machine is way too much fun than any other car on offer in the segment.
Steering wheel is very light and delivers decent response. The car fares well while driving in the city as well on the highways. Cruising at triple digit speeds is done without a sweat. The car maintains its composure at high speeds very well.
What gives a bad ride experience is potholes and bumps, which unsettle the Brio very easily. The light-weight Brio’s suspension thuds once too often. Other than that, the suspension works wonderfully. Be it uneven highways, or taking on those fast corners. Brio manages all very well.
Since the time Honda first launched Brio, many new cars have been launched in the segment. Some offer more equipment, some offer more space, while some offer a lower price tag. In spite of this, Honda Brio has managed to survive in the industry for more reasons than one.
In bigger cities, when you are stuck in traffic jams, or looking for those small parking spaces, Brio works wonderfully for you. And thanks to the Honda badge, society does not look down upon you if you arrive in a Brio. In addition to this, Brio’s design is open to some fantastic mod-jobs, which will make the car look even cooler. Just have a look at the Brio RS which is on sale in Indonesia.
What we expect to be improved is rear passenger comfort, and an option to buy Brio diesel. With Amaze and Mobilio based on the Brio platform, it should not be much of a trouble to offer diesel engine on the Brio. But somehow Honda has no plans to launch a Brio diesel, at least for now.