Honda launched its mass market small car, the Brio starting at an aggressive price tag of Rs. 3.95 lakh for the base model (ex-showroom, Delhi). The car will compete with the likes of the Hyundai i10, Chevrolet Beat and Maruti Ritz.
Variants: All safety features only on top variants
The Brio is available in four variants, with the base EMT priced at Rs. 3.95 lakh, the mid-trim SMT priced at Rs. 4.35 lakh, the S(O)MT (Option pack – includes airbags and ABS) at Rs. 4.9 lakh and the top-end VMT priced at Rs. 5.1 lakh ex-showroom Delhi.
The base variant, the EMT, comes with only power steering, AC and front power windows. The variant above it – the Brio SMT – comes with keyless entry and power windows all around, as well as body colored rear view mirrors and full wheel caps, as well as an integrated USB audio system like the City (no CD player). The S(O)MT variant includes all features of the SMT and adds airbags and ABS. The top-end VMT variant is offered with alloy wheels, foglamps and more chrome accents. Also see: Honda Brio photo gallery
For the first time, Honda, a company known to provide safety features in all its cars such as airbags and ABS, has had to cut out these features on the base two variants (EMT and SMT).
Jnaneshwar Sen, vice president, marketing and sales, Honda Siel India, says, “Our research showed that customers in this segment were not looking for these features in these cars. Still 50% of our model line-up provides safety features.”
The model that comes with safety features is priced at Rs. 4.9 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
Looks: Smart and unique
The Honda Brio looks small externally with a sporty and aerodynamic look. The rear is quite radically designed with an all-glass hatch that covers the 175-litre boot. This makes the car look quite unique. Of course, as is the case with other Honda cars, there’s generous use of chrome in the top-end variants with a large chrome grille, chrome handles etc.
Engine and mileage: Powerful, sporty hatchback with high mileage
Honda has used the same 1.2-litre, four cylinder engine that does duty in the Jazz in the Brio, but has altered the specs slightly, so that it now makes 87 bhp of power and 109 Nm of torque. The gearing too has been tuned for city driving.
Brio has an ARAI-certified mileage of 18.4 kmpl, which is almost comparable to the Swift’s claimed mileage of 18.6 kmpl, and among the best in its class.
Value for money: Great petrol hatchback car!
Honda is positioning the Brio against cars like the Chevrolet Beat (Rs. 3.55 lakh – Rs. 4.73 lakh), Hyundai i10 (Rs. 3.54 lakh – Rs. 5.95 lakh), Maruti Ritz (Rs. 4.02 lakh – Rs. 4.99 lakh) and the Ford Figo as well (Rs. 3.69 lakh – Rs. 4.67 lakh).
What the Honda Brio has going for it is an extremely powerful engine compared to the competition. Its 1.2 litre engine puts out as much power as the much larger Maruti Swift and more than cars like the Volkswagen Polo, Chevrolet Beat, Skoda Fabia, Ford Figo, Toyota Liva and others. This gives the Brio an edge in sportiness and will appeal to customers looking for a peppy small car that’s great to drive in the city. It also delivers good mileage because of its light-weight body.
The Honda Brio’s USP will be its compact dimensions and easy maneuverability in the city, which will appeal to average Indian buyers of hatchbacks. While the competition offers diesel variants, the aggressive pricing of the Honda Brio makes it a great value car for the quality and the performance that it offers.
What we think: Perfect urban car
Honda’s move to position the Brio under Rs. 4 lakh with the top-end variant loaded with features priced at just above Rs. 5 lakh will work in its favour. It has also strengthened its dealership network to 135 dealers in 83 cities, with plans to take it to 143 in 91 cities by March next year. Honda says over 69% of these dealers are in non-metro areas, shifting its focus more to smaller towns.
We think for the quality and power-to-weight performance that the Brio offers, it is a great value for money car. It will not only compete well with the Hyundai i10 and Chevrolet Beat, but will also give cars positioned above it such as the Maruti Swift and Toyota Liva healthy competition.
If you are in the market for a small, compact, fuel-efficient hatchback, the Honda Brio is a sensible choice. It’s the perfect car for urban commuting daily drivers.
Honda Brio technical specifications and variants
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