Honda Brio: First Drive

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Honda Brio: First Drive - CarTrade

author image Shiva Shankar
Saturday 29 October 2011

Honda Brio: First Drive

Honda Siel Cars has always been known as a car maker for the niche class, and brand Honda is synonymous for its high quality cars. The line-up includes Jazz, City, Civic, Accord and CR-V. Jazz was Honda's premium hatch and with that, Honda had entered the small car segment. Everything that the Jazz offered was good. Good performance, styling, interior fit and finish of the features offered. However, Jazz got a cold response and the main culprit behind this was its pricing. Facing heat from all auto majors, recently Honda dropped its prices of Jazz and today Honda is overbooked with its Jazz bookings.

Nonetheless, the Honda Jazz is still a premium compact hatch, so Honda introduced its Brio mainly to intrude the mass segment which is hitertho dominated by the likes of Ford Figo, Maruti Suzuki Swift, Chevrolet Beat etc. Takashi Nagai, President & Chief Executive of Honda's Indian unit, indeed stated during the launch, “Brio is our answer to the demand of mass car market. It's our most focused product."

Honda Brio promises the same quality of fit and finish that its high end siblings offer, and it uses the same but toned down mill used in Honda Jazz. The Brio is claimed to have been developed keeping in mind the Asian conditions.

Today, we take a first look at this small wonder from Honda.


Honda Brio has typical Honda traits everywhere in its styling. When seen from front, it is very similar to Honda Jazz in terms of overall shaping, positioning and size of Honda emblem and other exterior appearances. The headlights to begin with are of the clear lens type and have a tear drop styling to it. The ones installed in the Jazz however look more stylish.

The contours made on the side profile as well as the front give it a beefed up small car look. This styling is not seen in its rivals. The front radiator grille has a rather cute look with a small smile. The Honda emblem with generous chrome touch sits in between the radiator grille.The fog lamps installed on the bumper are on the smaller side. We were little bit disappointed on that one as compared with the overall big car styling. The fog lamps looked very pint sized, although it may be an initiative taken keeping in mind the cost cutting measures.

Honda Brio`s front hood is very humble and doesn’t have any special lines flowing through it. Thus, the hood styling goes without being noticed at all. The A-pillar design contributes to the overall aerodynamic look. These days all new gen models have this aerodynamic look - the Hyundai Eon too boasts the same.

The Brio when seen from side profile, exhibits larger doors thus easing entry inside the vehicle. The raided shoulder line starts from the headlight and goes right up to the rear quarter panel.

Two parallel raised sleek lined run throughout the side panel. One runs from the front fender to the rear quarter panel, while the other runs at the bottom from the front door to the rear door.

The front fender and the rear fender have been elaborated nicely with a flared wheel arch. The overall styling of the car from side looks as if it was mainly designed to be a 3-door hatch. The large doors, larger front side windows and the descending rear side windows together make it look like sleek design. The ORVMs are large and give a good rear view. They can be electrically adjusted in top end variants i.e. S(O) MT and V MT. The Fuel lids are placed on the left under the quarter panel and above the tail light.

Honda Brio, when seen from rear looks very delicate as there is just a glass tail to it. The Honda logo is fixed on the same glass tail. The rear of Honda Brio undoubtedly looks very different from other cars. The tail-lamps are positioned at the lowest possible places.

It just looks like the rear of Brio is divided in 2 parts, the glass tail end and the rear bumper. The clear rear glass gives a great visibility for the driver when in reverse. Luggage carrying factor is negative in Honda Brio. The boot space is comparatively low, especially when it talks of taking the competition head on with Maruti Suzuki. In all, efforts in styling the Honda Brio have been done keeping in mind the big car looks and the small car efficiencies.


Honda Brio promises the same interior quality its elder siblings are famous for. The seatings and over all features are very remiscent of the Honda Jazz. The cushioning done on seats along with the texture of fabric quality on the seats is appreciable. The lumbar support provided makes it nice and cozy. The integrated headrests are again a cost cutting initiative, though the integrated headrests are of great comfort in long journeys.

The variant we were in had dual tone interiors. The color combinations that have been incorporated in the interiors are quite attractive, while the beige colored interiors look good too.

The 3-spoke steering wheel design and the controls mounted on them are of a greater visual appeal compared to other cars of its class. The chrome plated Honda emblem is centrally placed on the steering wheel. The steering is tilt adjustable too. The centrally placed speedometer with digital readings and sporty analog meters with the fuel saver-ECO lamp function looks good when the instrument cluster is lit up. The instrumentation gives information on speed, Fuel Consumption, Airbags on etc. There is no Auto climate control, however the AC can be adjusted at 4 different speeds and the vents are placed at suitable positions to spread the air flow equally.

Honda Brio music system is centrally placed and again looks very similar to the one in the Jazz. It has an integrated USB system with 4 speakers. The Music system of Honda Brio is followed by AC switch and Blower control knobs placed directly under it. The Glove box is quite large and there is good space available for storing documents etc. In short the dash board just serves the purpose without adding much aesthetics inside the car.

The front doors are provided with magazine holder space, bottle holders, speakers all these fixed at proper positions. The hand rest affixed to doors is quite wide and gives comfortable place for resting your hands.

The rear seating though is not as comfortable as the front ones. This is because the legroom provided is very less. Honda Brio can seat 3 average size individuals. The rear seat has 3 seat belts with the middle one being optional if desired. 


The Honda Brio variant we drove was the V MT, and we must say that the performance of Honda Brio is very impressive. Honda Brio's technical specification matches that of cars little above its class, although Honda Brio being lesser in weight makes it feel quicker.

The acceleration is fantastic and the ride quality experienced was also very impressive, courtesy the suspension system Honda Brio is equipped with. Honda Brio also comes with great braking skills.

The performance of Honda Brio is totally in sync with city driving. The bumper to bumper traffic in cities like Mumbai is a breeze. As far as the comfort, I being a tall person was not very comfortable inside and was feeling little bit congested; especially the leg space or the recess between my knees and steering wheel. I had to slide the seat at the max position to make myself comfortable. In this situation, It would have been very difficult for any passenger seated behind me. 

Technical Specifications
 Make Honda
 Model Brio
Variant V MT
Engine Capacity 1198cc/4
Power in PS 88@6000rpm
Torque in NM 109@4600
Gears 5/M
Length 3610
Width 1680
Height 1500
Wheel base 2345
Ground clearance 165
Fuel tank capacity 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
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
Exshow room Bangalore 403000 443000 499999 522000
On road Bangalore 479962 526835 593506 625203
Honda Brio Competitors
Etios Liva
Variant V MT X VX 1.2L highline Titanium 1.2 LT
Engine Capacity 1.2L 1.2L 1.2L 1.2L 1.2L 1.2L
Max Power (PS) 88 90 80 75 71 80.5
Torque (NM) 109 110 10 110 102 108
Gears 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M
Power Steering Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Central locking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
A/C Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Music system Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fog Lamps Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Rear wind shield washer No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Defogger No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Optional
Airbag 2 2 2 2 2 Optional
Average fuel efficiency 18 16 18 14 14 15
Ex showroom Price Mumbai (lacs) 5.41 6.43 5.97 5.82 4.84 4.96

Honda has made sure it enters the mass car segment with a bang, and the Honda Brio can be interpreted as an economical version of Honda Jazz.

The interior quality, the exterior designs and the features offered all are a welcome change from Honda. The Honda Brio competes with cars its class and also competes with higher end cars like Maruti Suzuki Swift etc.

It seems that the mass segment car wars have begun and Honda Brio promises to be a strong contender in it. 

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