The Brio was launched in September 2011. It is a radical looking small car that brings good looks to the masses! The front has a slightly cab forward design and the bonnet is pretty small. It wears the family logo rather proudly in a heavily chromed horizontal grille. There is a strong crease running below the headlamps and certainly adds character to the car. Look at it from the side and you again notice the crisp shoulder line with the upward angle of the windows. The rear is the best part about the Brio and everyone couldn’t help but look at it again and again! The rear hatch is completely glass and has fabulously designed tail lamps on either side. Worthy of a mention is the blackened out bottom part of the hatch glass adds to the whole aesthetics.
The Brio might look small from the outside but the cabin is very spacious. The Brio, unlike some of the rivals, can easily accommodate four large sized adults with ease. The small bonnet and boot have liberated a lot of space on the inside and it shows. Another aspect that strikes you is the overall quality of plastics. The Brio is designed for the mid-size hatchback segment and even though Honda was running on a budget, they haven’t cut corners for the insides. Touch the fascia or the console and it speaks quality. The design is unchanged from the Thailand version and ergonomically, it is spot-on. The top end Brio will also get a USB compatible audio system which as one of the best sound qualities in this segment.
Unlike some of the rivals, the Brio doesn’t come with an automatic climate control but that shouldn’t be a big bother. The speedometer console gets an ECO function display - this works on the driver's inputs, the vehicle's speed and the gear you are in to show if the car is running in ECO mode or on. The Brio comes with the same 1.2-litre engine as the Jazz. However, this one is in a slightly different state of tune. The peak power is slightly less at 88PS and it comes at a typically Honda high engine speed – 6000rpm. The torque stands at a very decent 109Nm at 4600rpm but again, it is the power that does the talking. The Brio is easily the most powerful hatchback in its segment, belting out more power than even the new Maruti Swift! The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox which has short and direct throws.
I really didn’t find the shift very smooth but that might be due to the car being very new. The mileage figure is 18.4 kmpl (ARAI). When it comes to the suspension the Brio also absorbs most undulations with ease without really affecting the occupants in the process. The suspension noise is also well subdued though the slightly soft suspension did play spoil sport at one occasion when we managed to touch its underbelly with a sharp speed breaker. Worthy of a mention is the Brio’s tight turning radius of just 4.5 meters! Drive the Brio fast around hills or corners and it responds back pretty nicely. It isn’t a very tall car and hence the centre of gravity is low. The Brio starts at Rs 4 lakhs to 6 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi. It delivers excellent value and the diesel soon will be a cracker! For a detailed analysis read below.