Honda Brio versus Chevrolet Beat: Small car battle

brio versus beat

Last week, Honda launched the Brio with an aggressive price range of Rs. 3.95 – 5.10 lakh. The Brio is a radically designed small car that competes with the likes of the Chevrolet Beat. We decided to pitch the top-end variants of the two cars, the Brio V MT (Rs. 5.10 lakh) and the Beat LT (O) (Rs. 4.78 lakh) to know which car is a better buy!

Space and comfort

Both the Brio and Beat can accommodate four passengers only. The Brio has a boot space of 175 litres which is similar to the 170 litre boot of Beat. The front passengers in the Brio have excellent, supportive seats and great leg room, while the front passengers in the Beat too have comfortable seats at the front. When it comes to rear passenger comfort, the Brio offers better leg room and shoulder room than the Beat.

The Brio with its compact dimensions and a shorter turning radius (4.5 m) is as city-friendly as the Beat (turning radius 4.45 m). The Brio provides a clear view of the road for the driver and allows occupants too get an airy feel. Also read: Honda Brio launched at Rs. 3.95 lakh!

The steeply inclined shoulder lines of the Beat limit the glass area and it feels claustrophobic, especially at the rear. Seeing through the transparent hatch door, parking will be easier in Brio even in tight parking spaces.

The Brio is wider by 85 mm (more shoulder room) than the Beat, while the Beat is taller by 50 mm (more head room) and lengthier by 40 mm.

Verdict: Beat has an edge over Brio in headroom while the Brio is city-friendly with its good all-round visibility and airy cabin.

Looks

Honda Brio and Chevrolet Beat reflect today’s modern design language, they are funky and stylish. The Beat is aggressive with its goblin ear-like headlamps, Chevrolet’s signature bow-tie grille, pronounced wheel arches and smartly integrated rear door handles. Read our Chevrolet Beat diesel photo gallery here

The Brio on the other end is designed based on a double triangle theme, has a bold yet cute front face with a thick chrome slat and a large Honda logo. It also has a unique glass hatch door at the rear and a one-of-its-kind tail-lamp cluster.

Verdict: Though both cars are unique in their own way, it’s the Brio with its funky styling appeals to us.

Standard features in top variants

Both the Brio and Beat top-end variants are equipped with power steering, but the Beat features hydraulic power steering while the Brio features an electric power steering. Beat comes with Auto AC and climate control while Brio comes only with manual AC. Features common in both the cars include central locking, tachometer, all four power windows and fold-down rear seats (no split).

In terms of gadgets, both the cars come with music system (though Brio doesn’t have CD player, only MP3/AM/FM), four speakers, USB and Aux-in ports.

But the Brio’s list extends further for it gets steering mounted audio controls, keyless entry, front power windows with auto shut down and fuel consumption display. However, both the cars are devoid of features such as the Bluetooth and height adjustable driver seat. With regard to safety, both the cars are equipped with dual airbags and ABS.

Verdict: It’s a tie between the two on this front. The decision here depends on what you as a buyer find more relevant in terms of features.

Performance and Handling

When you compare performance and handling between both cars the Brio clearly has an edge. The Brio is powered by a 1.2 litre i-vtec petrol engine that puts out 86 bhp of power (similar to the Swift) and 109 Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed gearbox that’s better tuned to city driving. The Beat’s 1.2-litre petrol engine on the other hand puts out 80 bhp of power and 108 Nm of torque with a 5-speed manual gearbox.

However, when it comes to driving dynamics, the Brio is clearly ahead as it feels lighter and more agile than the Beat. The slightly stiff suspension and light electric power steering make the Brio quite easy to drive and the large glass area also helps in better all-round road visibility. The Beat is more sedate in its road manners compared to the Brio.

In overall performance and handling, the Brio is clearly a better car than the Beat.

Price, mileage, overall VFM

Price-wise, the Brio V MT costs Rs. 37,000 more than the Beat LT (O). The ARAI-certified fuel efficiency for both the cars is almost the same (18.6 kmpl for Beat and 18.4 kmpl for Brio).

The Brio (940 kg) is lighter than the Beat (965 kg). Hence, the lighter Brio will accelerate faster, very handy for city driving. Overall, the Brio and Beat have equally good fit and finish. But Honda has taken the Brio, one step further by offering more space (especially for rear occupants) and the airy feel inside the cabin.

Verdict: Brio and Beat are similar priced and equally frugal. But Brio leads slightly thanks to the inside space and in the ‘fun to drive’ aspect.

What’s our Verdict?

Between the two petrol hatchbacks, the Beat petrol offers almost everything that Brio offers, same mileage and almost similar equipment levels, but at a lesser price. Hence, if you are on a tighter budget, go for the Beat petrol. But when it comes to engine refinement, performance and driving fun, the Brio is the car to go for!

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