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Aditya Chatterjee Aditya Chatterjee Saturday 30 June 2012

Honda Brio Review: Freshly Brewed

This car changed the perception of people towards Honda. The Japanese major, which has always been a premium car maker, was never a household name in India to begin with and as such never featured on the budget car buyer's list.

Honda Brio

Bigger things have been replaced by smaller ones in many aspects of life. Even in automobiles, the small car market which has been mushrooming very aggressively has caught attention of all the players.

Honda Jazz was the lowest priced car among the brief Honda range but then it still was not a crowd puller and was sold in average numbers. This had compelled the normally adamant car maker to launch a smaller car, which would endorse the same premium standards of its other cars but then would be more accessible for all.

The Honda Brio is now the entry level Honda car. Coming from the stable where quality is of prime importance, it entered the brewing battle of small cars raising the quality standards and lowering the access point.

Brio intends to break the mindset of all about the Honda brand; we review the S (O) MT variant to find more about the small offering. 



 This smallie from Honda is a very cute offering. It is surprisingly a favorite among all the ladies cause of its cute looks. The Brio however reminds me of the Jazz from the front fascia. While other cars are more on the tall boy terms in design, this one is a low rider.

Honda Brio

The front profile is very reminiscent of the Jazz, looks like a scaled down version of it. The headlights have a pearl drop effect and have the indicators integrated in them. There is a very definite jaw line to the car and cause of the line running just below the petite radiator grille, it gives a very nice profile to it. 

The radiator grille looks like a nose with the solid chrome Honda badging on it, the bumper has a broad and wide slit which looks like a teeth set, different from the mundanely and conventionally designed, which gets very predictable. There are subtle profile lines on the front hood giving it a good but not too loud character.

From side profile, the protruding nose of the vehicle is very evident and so is the sharp wedge line, which starts from the front wheel fender and climbs its way to the rear window pane. Wheel arches on the fenders are good and contribute to the overall smart design of the car along with the 175/65 R14 tyres.

The tail lamps sit just above the rear wheel arch. It has got a sloping end as all the elements fall in one straight sloping line. 

Honda Brio

The Honda Brio is a hatchback and we all know how the tail gate opens in a hatchback, however there is a surprise here as there is no tail door but a tail glass panel that opens. Normally when it is glass we are extra cautious about operating it and so was I until I called up the Honda guys to ask them the reason behind such an innovation and the hassles of it. I was told to use it the way I wanted to and so obediently I did. It is so amazing that the rear windshield cum tail door panel is surprisingly strong and can with stand any sort of blow until you decide to test it by banging your car into something.

Tail lights are cute and small. Though not a favorite element for me on the car, it still does not look out of place.

Overall, the Brio has very petite and cute looks. I think it looks a frog in a pretty way. There are lots of people who are not a big fan of the Brio’s looks (I am not a big fan but then not in the opposing team too) but then girls just can’t stop praising it. Honda Brio is a car which is a hit among all the ladies may be because of its feminism.


Honda cars have always had a premium feel to it. Before getting in the Brio, my expectations were really high as the brand is synonymous to high quality. Were my expectations and wishes fulfilled?

Yes, very much. The cabin is as plush and upmarket as any other Honda car, which is very impressive. One can hardly find any negative aspect in the cabin and it is full of positive vibes.

Honda Brio

It must have got evident by now with my often usage of words like quality and premium feel for Honda cars that I am a great admirer of them. The hopes were not broken and instead my belief in the brand got stronger with the Brio.

The quality of plastics is superb and one does not feel of it as a entry level vehicle at all. The steering wheel of our S (O) MT variant had audio controls affixed on it. The instrumental panel is very sporty with the Speedometer taking the central position. The digits done on it are very sporty and are way better than what the competitors offer. In fact, this unit is way better than the one on Fiat Grande Punto which comes at a hefty price tag. I loved the color combination used for in the display.

The Japanese may not be known for designing beautiful lines but the ergonomic factor of their design can’t be challenged. The dashboard is very well designed and houses the chrome circled AC vents. The fit and finish is wonderful. The four individual AC vents are better than the conventional* (* Extreme vents on both sides and centrally placed two vents). The Brio has a 4 speed AC motor, which cools the cabin adequately and uniformly.

The centrally embedded audio system panel is nice and is very similar to the one which features in Honda Jazz. It offers USB and AUX-IN support too.

Front row seats are very comfortable and can be adjusted manually. The legroom offered to the front row of passengers is good. The rear legroom however is not as much and rightly so because of the class it belongs to. Taller people will not enjoy being in the rear section. So to give a verdict front row space is superb but the rear row space is just good. Plastics and the material on the door trim are again very impressive.

Honda Brio

Regarding storage options in the Honda Brio, the glove box swallowed in our Sony DSC H50 camera with ease, which was good. The central area around the transmission stick offers two cup holders, while for the rear seated passengers there is one cup holder just after the hand break. The storage pockets on the door trim has a convenient groove for holding a 1 liter beverage bottle. On the door trim there are some intermediate pockets with a nice dark brown treatment done to it. The one big negative point that Honda Brio scored was the lack of luggage space offered. I guess Honda thought of the Brio as the in-city commute car but forgot to add luggage space.

Overall, except the average rear legroom and the scarcity of luggage space, the interiors of the Brio score impressive points.


The Honda Brio comes equipped with a PFM-Fi 1198 cc SOHC i-VTEC engine, which produces 88 PS of power at 6000 RPM and a torque of 109 Nm at 4600 RPM. It is assimilated with a 5 speed manual transmission.

The functionality factor of the car is good with a very effective Air Conditioner. Also, the music system offered in the Brio is very nice and scores above some of the premium sedans and hatchbacks.

Honda Brio

The engine of the Brio is super smooth, which becomes an issue as one cannot make out if the engine is running or not. The 1.2 L engine may be a pint and detuned version of the Jazz unit but then it is a fun motor.

It may have feminine styling on it but then that does not stop one from doing some enthusiastic driving on it. Racing on the highways or the mundane commuting, the Brio just does not feel to get praises from all. While driving it on inclines and ghat sections, the transmission stick is like a weapon. It does not falter in any possible way.  

Only one vehicle can compete against the Brio in handling and that is a Go-Kart. It has all the pros of a car with fantastic handling and then the feedback given by the steering makes you take the most of dangerous of turns with a smile and impress your company about your fab driving skills. The brakes compliment the powerful handling of the Brio.

Kitna deti hai? The worst mileage figure that we got from the Brio is 10kmpl and the best we got was 16kmpl. Unlike other cars, the Brio as promoted loved us back in real by not minding our enthusiastic driving and giving fantastic fuel efficiency.

Honda Brio

To conclude, We were extremely happy with the overall performance of the Honda Brio and are confident that the Brio is indeed a entry level premium small car with fantastic quality of equipment. 

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
Make Honda
Model Brio
Engine Capacity/Cylinders 1198cc/4
Power in PS @ RPM 88@6000
Torque in Nm @ RPM 109@4600
Gears 5/M
Dimensions (mm)
Length (mm) 3610
Width (mm) 1680
Height (mm) 1500
Wheel base (mm) 2345
Ground clearance (mm) 165
Fuel tank capacity (L) 35
Mileage in KMPL 18.4
Tyres rating 175/65 R14 82T
Tyres type Tubeless
Features E MT S MT S(O) MT V MT
Ex-showroom Price (Mumbai) Rs. 407000 448000 504900 532000
Body colour bumpers Yes Yes Yes Yes
Halogen Headlights Yes Yes Yes Yes
Body coloured ORVM No Yes Yes Yes
Bodo coloured outside door handles No Yes Yes Yes
Silver steel wheel with center hubcap Yes No No No
Full trim wheels No Yes Yes No
Alloy wheels No No No Yes
Front fog lamps No No No Yes
Single tone beige interiors Yes Yes Yes No
Double tone beige interiors No No No Yes
Integrated music system No Yes Yes Yes
Steering mounted audio control No Yes Yes Yes
Immobiliser Yes Yes Yes Yes
Front driver and passenger airbag No No Yes Yes
ABS With EBD No No Yes Yes
Electric power steering No No Yes Yes
AC with heater No No No Yes
Central locking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Keyless entry No Yes Yes Yes
Front power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rear Power windows No Yes Yes Yes
Electrically adjustable ORVM No No Yes Yes
Fuel consumption display Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maruti Suzuki
Variant S(O) MT Titanium Vxi XL
Ex showroom Price (Mumbai)  504900 496700 507079 484916
Engine Capacity CC 1198 1196 1197 1198
Max Power PS/RPM 88/6000 71/6250 87/6000 76/6000
Torque Nm/RPM 109/4600 102/4000 114/4000 104/4000
Gears 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M
Power Steering Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes
Central locking Yes Yes Yes Yes
A/C Yes Yes Yes Yes
>Music system Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fog Lamps Yes No Yes Yes
Rear wind shield washer No Yes Yes Yes
Defogger No Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes No Yes
Airbag 2 2 2 1
Average fuel efficiency (Kmpl) 18 14 14.5 18

Honda Brio has already attracted positive reviews for its offerings. The entry level small car market which normally was not an exciting segment has got spiced up. With the raising petrol prices the once upon a time adamant on diesel Honda has finally expressed its plans of a diesel Brio soon. Trusted insiders reveal that Honda is eyeing the festive season for the launch of the diesel variant with its i-DTEC engine.

The Brio has opened lot many possibilities for Honda, as a sedan and a MPV on the Brio platform are on the cards. With the diesel unit and the fantastic quality levels, Honda is making sure that the battle of small cars remains heated and gets hotter in future. 

Honda Brio

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