First among equals: Maruti A Star AT or Honda Brio AT?

Wednesday 12 December 2012, 10:05 AM by

Honda Brio AT, which so far had been widely popular hatchback in the country, might loose its sheen in the coming days as it has to face stiff competition from the recently launched A Star AT from the stables of India’s trusted car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. While both of these cars have a wide number of comfort and safety features and offers ease of driving through congested roads, there are a number of parameters that Brio AT boasts over A Star AT. On the other hand, the newly launched Maruti A Star AT too has a large number of features that gives it an edge over Brio AT. We here try to analyse, which of these two vehicles would be the best value for money hatchbacks.

First among equals: Maruti A Star AT or Honda Brio AT? |
First among equals: Maruti A Star AT or Honda Brio AT?

The Aktiv, which is a limited edition of the A-Star hatchback from Maruti Suzuki, sports 14 new design features in the AT version. Both side body graphics, front, rear and roof graphics, red spoiler, red bumper, red ORVMs (Outside Rear View Mirrors) and cute headlamps make this vehicle an attractive proposition to buy. These features have been added, as A-Star attempts to woo young buyers. However, visibility at the rear is slightly restricted, as compared to the Brio. On the other hand, the Brio looks to be one of the best finished cars in this segment. The stylish rear combination headlamps give the rear of this vehicle an attractive look. Overall, the compact dimensions of the Brio help it to negotiate traffic easily. The Brio looks compact on the outside, but is spacious from the inside.

The ground clearance of the A star is slightly higher to the Brio by 5 mm (170 mm vs 165 mm).

In terms of sheer power, the A Star Aktiv definitely loses out to the peppier Brio. Both are powered by their older engines. The Brio has a 1200 cc, 86 bhp engine, whereas the A Star is a 998 cc, 66 bhp K10B engine-powered vehicle. The Brio also stays firmly planted on the roads, even at high speeds. Since it is more powerful, the Brio is more of a delight to drive and overtake easily, especially in hilly areas. There is no transmission lag experienced on the Brio. The fuel efficiency obtained in the Brio AT is at 16.5 kmpl, whereas Maruti claims a figure of 19 kmpl for the A Star.

At a total additional price of Rs. 14,990, the A Star Aktiv gets as many as 14 new features. New seat covers, a steering wheel cover, floor mats, rear parcel tray, door sill guard and keyless entry system are available in the new Aktiv. Contemporary styling of the A Star has been done, keeping in mind the needs of today's youth, as per Manohar Bhat, Vice President (VP), Marketing at Maruti Suzuki.

The Brio has a generous number of door pockets, for storage of small items. The boot space is also good for a car of this size. Unique 3D triple analog meters are used to display speed and fuel consumption. An eco mode is present in this vehicle, which lights up every time the clutch and brake are optimally used for minimum fuel consumption.

The Honda hatchback is powered by a 5 speed AT, whereas the A Star and other AT vehicles in this segment are powered by 4 speed AT. This helps the Honda vehicle to easily negotiate bumper to bumper traffic. The transmission of the A Star powers the vehicle with a 4-speed gearbox, which is smooth, but not as smooth as that of the Brio.

The major bone of contention between the A Star and the Brio is going to be the price, which is a huge deciding factor for a majority of Indians. The A Star Aktiv is priced at Rs. 4.73 lakhs (ex showroom Delhi), whereas the Brio AT is priced at Rs. 5.73 lakhs and Rs. 5.99 lakhs (ex showroom Delhi).

One can accept the fact that the A Star Aktiv, even after modifications to the original A Star, looks sportier and is priced lesser than the Brio AT. However, Honda has set a quality benchmark which is matched by very few auto manufacturers. Moreover, the power of the Brio 1.2 litre engine is considerably more than the Aktiv, which makes a significant difference, from the performance point of view. Evidently, The Brio AT would suit performance oriented domestic customers, whereas the A Star AT would be ideal for those wishing to purchase a value-for-money automatic hatchback.

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