Honda Brio AT Review: Brio goes Love-omatic
So far, the Hyundai i10 and Maruti Suzuki A-Star have been the only B-segment hatchbacks offering automatic transmission in India. Automatic transmission has traditionally been an option offered in premium cars. Of late however, it has started seeping in lower segments too.
Even at the nascent stage, consumers have started realizing the importance of automatic variants especially in the stop start traffic conditions. Honda has decided to pitch its small wonder Brio in the Automatic game.
Thus, the Brio AT which borrows the transmission from the Honda City was launched. Honda has already sold its first batch of 300 automatic variant Brios. We were already very impressed with the manual Honda Brio, and it is our endeavor to find out if the feelings are mutual for the newest Brio automatic version.
Since the Honda Brio Automatic is a variant, there are no changes in its exterior design. The Brio continues to be a cute looking small car from the Honda stable.
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. Front section of the car is low-slung and the nose is bigger. Headlights of the car look extremely impressive. The beautifully designed upper and lower grilles of the car further enhance the aesthetics of the car.
Even though small, still the Brio looks very smart with its taut nose. With poppy headlights and an always smiling radiator grille, the Brio is a favorite across all the ages.
Honda has definitely struck a chord with the Brio. The build quality of this small car remains strong. Sleek and compact remain the key factors of Brio design.
Everything inside the cabin is same except for the golf ball headed gear stick for the automatic variant. The interiors of the Honda Brio are by far the best for any B segment hatchback. Its premium and plush feel are the most luring factors.
Front row space is generous while the rear row is decent. Quality of materials used on the dashboard, seats and trims are very upmarket. Instead of being known as a small car, the Brio is a compact hatch.
With a light steering wheel which is very crisp and steering mounted audio controls the convenience factor is good. It does not only look good but is of great utility too with intermittent spaces for storage everywhere. Over and above, Honda Brio does not disappoint you with its interiors and assures you that even though its Honda’s entry level car but it carries all the genes of a Honda very confidently.
On the mechanical bit, the Brio Automatic has a 4 cylinder 16 valve 1198cc engine which borrows the automatic transmission from its elder sibling sedan, the City. This unit produces a power of 88 PS at 6000 rpm and a torque of 109 Nm at 4500 rpm.
The manual version is my favorite. Its compact dimensions, awesome steering feedback and precise handling gives amazing confidence. In addition to that is the error less gear shifts. Since the torque is well distributed, the manual Brio does seem out of breath across the rpms. The i-Vtec is a wonderful engine and it does its job pretty well.
Of the 700 odd kms that I did in the Brio from Ahmedabad to Pune, there was no fatigue at all going to the extent of proving this is indeed a superb offering in its segment. On this trip itself, I had told the Honda team about my wish of a possibility of an automatic variant of the Brio which they politely declined to accept then only to send the invites of the automatic Brio drive later.
As in the past few months, I have driven the Brio very often so I understand the feel of it completely. In the automatic, firstly the transmission lets you drive in D3, 2 and 1. With all my enthusiasm I shifted into the D mode and began driving. If you are a big manual fan, the automatic might just dampen the joy little bit.
Inside the city with bumper to bumper traffic, the automatic gearbox is a blessing in disguise. Shift it to the drive mode and just forget about it. The automatic variant just vanishes the hassles of the often manual shifts in tight traffic. Since Brio weighs just 970 kgs, it offers superb handling.
The automatic earns its due appreciation inside the city however on the highways; there is a slight lag in the output. This lag is evident only while we overtake as the engine revs hard but then the vehicle doesn’t move in sync with it. Except for this, there are no big setbacks felt. Throw any surface and the Brio happily takes it on with a always smiling front face. The Honda Brio AT is on the lazier side of performance compared to its manual counterpart but then it will appeal to the commuter type. In city traffic one hardly gets time and space to test the acceleration of the car.
The Honda Brio Automatic will find its clientele mostly among the often office commuters and the elderly as this is the bracket which does not seek performance but luxury, comfort paired with convenience. We got a real time mileage of 13-14 kmpl which is decent for an automatic hatch.
|Engine Capacity (cc) / Cylinders||1198/4|
|Power in PS/RPM||88/6000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||109/4600|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Kerb Weight Kgs||930|
|Turning circle Radius||4.7 M|
|Fuel tank capacity L||35|
|Mileage in KMPL||16.5|
|Tyres rating||175/65 R14|
|Ex-showroom Price Mumbai (Rs.)||6,09,556||6,35,785|
|Body colour bumpers||Yes||Yes|
|Body coloured ORVM||Yes||Yes|
|Bodo coloured outside door handles||Yes||Yes|
|Silver steel wheel with center hubcap||No||No|
|Full trim wheels||Yes||No|
|Front fog lamps||No||Yes|
|Single tone beige interiors||Yes||No|
|Double tone beige interiors||No||Yes|
|Integrated music system||Yes||Yes|
|Steering mounted audio control||Yes||Yes|
|Front driver and passenger airbag||Yes||Yes|
|ABS With EBD||Yes||Yes|
|Electric power steering||Yes||Yes|
|AC with heater||No||Yes|
|Front power windows||Yes||Yes|
|Rear Power windows||Yes||Yes|
|Electrically adjustable ORVM||Yes||Yes|
|Fuel consumption display||Yes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||V AT||Asta AT||AT|
|Ex-showroom Mumbai in Rs.||6,35,785||6,45,463||4,80,196|
|Power in PS/RPM||88/6000||80/6000||68/6200|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||109/4600||112/4000||90/3500|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Fuel tank capacity L||35||35||35|
|Mileage in KMPL||16.5||16||18|
|Tyres rating||175/65 R14||155/80 R133||155/80 R13|
|Body colour bumpers||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Body coloured ORVM||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bodo coloured outside door handles||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Front fog lamps||Yes||Yes||No|
|Double tone beige interiors||Yes||Yes||No|
|Integrated music system||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Steering mounted audio control||Yes||Yes||No|
|Front driver and passenger airbag||Yes||Yes||No|
|ABS With EBD||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electric power steering||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|AC with heater||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Front power windows||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear Power windows||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electrically adjustable ORVM||Yes||Yes||No|
|Fuel consumption display||Yes||Yes||No|
Honda has introduced the Automatic transmission variant in S(O) and V versions. Being the first car in its range to offer a 5 speed automatic transmission, it clearly has an edge over the competition. To add to it, it is the same unit which comes on the Honda City.
As the Indian consumers are graduating to Automatic transmission cars, Honda was swift enough to get the Brio Automatic, especially as Honda kept on getting the feedback regarding the need of an Automatic variant of the Brio. Honda has successfully sold more than 25,000 units of Brio in the first year of its launch which vindicates the fact that the Brio has been happily welcomed in India.
Honda also has ambitious plans with the Brio as the Brio based sedan is the next most anticipated launch. The company has already released some teaser shots of the sedan. This sedan which will compete against the likes of DZire and Etios will also be offered in Diesel and will finally break Honda’s stubborn stance on diesel cars. With all such plans, it is clear that the Brio is all set to play a very long inning.