Test Driving the Honda Brio

Updated: Dec 04, 2016, 13:36 IST | Ravi Chandnani

Honda’s cute little Brio gets a facelift and it’s more adorable than before

The Brio retains the same peerless engine and smooth five-speed gearbox as its previous iteration
The Brio retains the same peerless engine and smooth five-speed gearbox as its previous iteration. Pic/Aditya Dhiwar

It has been quite a while since Honda Cars India did anything to its cute little Brio, until now. It now sports a new face and a completely revamped dashboard with a few additional features thrown into the mix. We headed to Noida for a close look and a quick spin in this small car.

To begin with, the Brio is still very much the same car we remember. Under the hood, it’s the same old and trusted 1.2-litre four-pot petrol motor that also powers the Amaze and the Jazz. It still produces 88 PS and 109 Nm and transmission duties rely on the slick five-speed manual gearbox or the optional five-speed automatic transmission.

We drove the automatic Brio and found nothing new about the way the engine behaves. The smoothness is still there with almost no engine chatter. The five-speed auto box is smooth, but feels a bit lazy on the downshifts. Apart from that, there is nothing to complaint about.

The dashboard is an improvement on its predecessor.  
The dashboard is an improvement on its predecessor. pics/aditya dhiwar 

You can easily say that the front has changed; it is now more modern looking, marking a departure from the earlier conservative approach.The front bumper is slightly wider with sporty fog-lamp inserts and a gaping lower grille. The actual grille is now wider, with a big chrome ‘Honda’ monogram on it. It somehow reminds of the Jazz, which is a good thing.

The Honda has actually replaced the entire dashboard rather than just putting on some trim. Unlike the City, the dashboard in the Brio doesn’t come with any touch controls. All the controls are analogue. Honda has worked on the quality of the interior as well: the plastic panels now have a better texture and are soft to touch, though the finish is still not as good as we would like it to be. The centre console looks and feels better because of its glossy panel and big control buttons. The instrumentation is new and it is a welcome change.

Don’t fix what ain’t broken: The five-speed auto ’box is the good old one found in  the previous gen Brio 
Don’t fix what ain’t broken: The five-speed auto ’box is the good old one found in  the previous gen Brio 

Three easy-to-read analogue dials display speed, revolutions per minute (RPM) and fuel level and a small digital screen shows the trip computer and the odometer. The steering-mounted controls come in handy to change the radio station and adjust volume. There is also Bluetooth connectivity and keyless entry; however, there is no fancy infotainment system, for the Brio comes only with a 2-DIN audio system.Thus the new Brio is not really new but the aforementioned changes have made it a more enticing proposition. The price starts at Rs 4.86 lakh and goes up to Rs 7.08 lakh for the top-end variant (all prices are ex-Pune).

With these prices there is not really a bigger premium that you have to pay for the same Honda reliability, comfort and engineering. So if you are looking to invest in a small car for everyday use, then the new Brio can be your stylish ride.

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