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Honda Brio - Introduction

The Honda Brio is the first true small car from the Japanese manufacturer. After a torrid 2011, which saw Honda having to discount its models heavily to keep sales going, the Brio has helped hold the fort. We get behind the wheel of Honda’s first mass market car for India – the little Honda Brio hatchback. But has Honda finally managed to crack the code?

Honda Brio - Design & Engineering

When you look at the Honda Brio hatch from any angle, you’ll always find it appealing. Such a sentiment is true of only a very small selection of cars, but the Brio manages to be pleasing to look at from most angles. The front face with its big headlamps and wide bumper is very distinctive. The Honda logo nestles in the small-ish front grille, backed by a bold chrome bar.

When viewed in profile, the Honda Brio’s wedge-shaped lines are very distinctive. A sharp crease runs the length of the car, starting at a tangent to the front wheel arch and rising along the sides to meet with the C-pillar. This design element gives the Honda Brio its tipped-forward stance, which makes it look ready for action.

At the rear, the triangular tail-lights with their clear Perspex covers stand out, making the Brio instantly recognisable. The Honda Brio is unique among current Indian hatchbacks by having a glass-only tail-gate. (The original Maruti 800 had a similar feature).

honda brio expert car review

The rear doors of the Honda Brio are small and do not open wide, making ingress and egress a little uncomfortable for older people.

The Brio’s dimensions are reasonably compact, and it measures just 3,610 mm in length, with a 2,345 mm wheelbase. That’s 35 mm less than a Hyundai i10, or a whopping 144 mm less than the Ford Figo. It’s even 30 mm less than a Chevrolet Beat. This comparison is significant, because it shows up when you evaluate the interiors and boot space of the Honda Brio, which we shall come to subsequently.

Honda Brio - Interiors & Comfort

The Honda Brio’s interiors are immediately recognisable as a Honda. The same smooth-finished plastics and combination of black and beige with silver highlights make it similar to all its bigger siblings, including the Jazz, City and even the Accord. We drove the top-of-the-line V variant, but even the lower trim S and S (O) versions come with a built-in stereo with audio controls on the steering wheel. The Brio’s audio system is devoid of a CD player, like in the Honda City, but you do get USB connectivity as standard.

honda brio interiors

The Honda Brio’s driver’s seat is not adjustable, making it difficult for short driver to get a good view, especially since the Brio’s dashboard is so deep as well. For people of a shorter stature, it will be difficult to judge distance in tight parking spaces or in traffic, so that should be an important consideration for the prospective Honda Brio buyer.

Honda’s engineers have put in a lot of thought into scooping out the maximum interior room, given the compact proportions they had to work with, and it’s been a good effort, but the Honda Brio just falls short is too many areas. The front seats are spacious and comfortable, but rear passengers are short changed. The sloping roofline means headroom is not much, and rear legroom in the Honda Brio isn’t much to shout about either, even with the scooped-out front seatbacks.

The boot too cannot take any hard luggage at all, and even an air-line cabin-bag just about fits. There’s no provision for a rear parcel shelf either, which means that whatever’s in your boot is visible for curious people at parking lots.

Honda Brio - Performance & Handling

honda brio performance

As you can see, the Brio has been docked quite a few points for its interiors and practicality, or lack of it thereof. But the little Honda fights back in the performance and fuel efficiency parameters. For starters, it uses the same 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine from its bigger Jazz supermini sibling. This engine, as we know, is simply brilliant. Honda is renowned for its VTEC technology, and in Brio (and Jazz) it adds up to a considerable advantage. For starters, this motor endows the Brio with quite zippy performance, without any major disadvantage at the pumps. The i-VTEC or “Intelligent Variable Timing and Electronic Control” ensures that the Brio enjoys variable valve timing and valve lift, for very precise fuel control, which translates into more efficient combustion, lower fuel consumption and less emissions. The Honda’s intelligent valve timing sees only one set of valves being operational at lower revs, with the second pair of inlet and exhaust valves operating only at higher revolutions. There’s a definite kick in the Brio’s power delivery at around 4,400 rpm, with a distinct change in exhaust note, which is the clue that the second pair of valves has come on song. At higher revs and with all 16 valves singing, the Honda Brio feels like a mini missile, and you bounce off the rev limiter so fast, you’re forced to re-think your gearshift strategy. Thankfully, the gear-change is light and positive, but the small golf-ball like shift lever is not to my liking.

Steering response is good, with sharp turn-in and good levels of grip. The Honda Brio’s low height and wide track, matched to 14-inch wheels with 175/65 profile rubber means that it grips really well. That’s the nice part.

But then, when it comes to the balance between ride and handling, Honda’s engineers haven’t got it right. There’s a surprising amount of body roll and the short-stroke suspension means a lot of bumps and ripples are sent through to the cabin. Once again, it’s the rear passengers who are worse off, and you can actually hear the suspension at work inside the car. Not nice at all.

Honda Brio - Fuel Efficiency

honda brio mileage fuel economy

'ECO' indicator in the Honda Brio helps driver to adjust driving style for maximum fuel efficiency.

The Honda Brio’s biggest triumph is in the fuel efficiency stakes. ARAI has certified the car for 18.4 km/l overall, and in the time we had the car, it never dipped below 13 km/l, even with 4 passengers on board and the AC on. We’re confident that the Brio can manage 18 km/l on the highway if driven sensibly. With petrol prices being as they are, this is the single biggest weapon in the Honda Brio’s arsenal. The Honda Brio comes with an ‘ECO’ indicator, which is a small green light to the right of the speedo. The trick is to ensure that the green light always remains on. Keep the Brio between 1800-3000 rpm and you should be fine.

Honda Brio - Safety

honda brio expert car review safety rating

Lack of a rear wiper on the Honda Brio is a glaring oversight.

Safety is never high on priority for Indian car buyers, and so the Brio comes with ABS and airbags only on the top two variants. All four variants have an engine immobiliser however. Strangely, the Brio does not have a rear wiper or defogger, despite having a substantial rear glass area. Hatchbacks are prone to the rear windshield getting dirty, especially in the monsoon. A rear wiper is a basic feature which helps in rear visibility tremendously, and we really wish Honda had thought of a way to include it on the Brio.

Honda Brio - Verdict

honda brio expert car review verdict

After driving the Honda Brio, one is left with mixed emotions. Yes, it has a lovely engine, which provides good performance without compromising on fuel efficiency. But the Honda Brio is found wanting in so many areas. It is not the most practical, with a small boot and cramped rear living quarters. There’s no rear wiper for the monsoons. The deep dashboard makes it hard for short drivers, and the lack of an adjustable seat simply exacerbates the problem. The Brio’s ride quality isn’t much to write home about either. Agreed, most small cars cannot be rated on ride quality, but then look at the Chevrolet Beat; Chevy’s engineers have managed to make the Beat ride well.

On the space front, like we discussed, the Brio once again loses out to the competition, and in a country like India, hatchbacks are used as family cars where space is an important factor.

Finally, there’s the price. At Rs 5.91 lakhs on-road for the top-of-the-line V variant we drove, it’s simply hard to justify the amount of capital for the quantity of car you get in return. Yes, the Brio will appeal to Honda lovers and the well-heeled multi-car families in India and the good fuel efficiency will see a lot of prospective buyers willing to overlook the Brio’s faults, but I just wish Honda had done a better job of it, especially since it's competition has the option of diesel or LPG for lower running costs. At the end of the day, a sub-compact segment car at supermini price is what the Honda Brio is, which is disappointing.

Honda Brio - Competition Check

Maruti Ritz, Hyundai i10, Ford Figo, Chevrolet Beat


Length x Width x Height (mm) 3610 X 1680 X 1500
Wheelbase (mm) 2345
Ground clearance (mm) 165
Turning circle dia (m) 9 (MT), 9.4 (AT)
Kerb weight (kg) 920(E-MT,EX-MT), 930(S-MT,VX-MT), 925(V-MT), 970 (VX-AT)
Fuel tank capacity (lt) 35
Engine & Transmission
No of cylinder & configuration 4
Valvetrain 16
Capacity (cc) 1198
Power (PS @ rpm) 88 @ 6000
Torque (Nm @ rpm) 109 @ 4600
Gearbox 5 Forward & 1 Reverse (MT), 5 Speed AT
Suspension & Brakes
Front suspension McphersonStrut
Rear suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front brakes Disc
Rear brakes Drum
Wheels & Tyres
Tyre size and type 175/65 R14 82T
Fuel efficiency
ARAI (kpl) 19.4 (MT), 16.5 (AT)
Warranty 2 Years Standard Warranty or 40,000km (whichever is earlier)

Honda Car Reviews by Experts

honda brio- Car Review by Experts

The Honda Brio is the first true small car from the Japanese manufacturer. After a torrid 2011, which saw Honda having to discount its models heavily to keep sales going, the Brio has helped hold the fort. We get behind the wheel of Honda’s first mass market car for India – the little Honda Brio hatchback. But has Honda finally managed to crack the code?

Read Full Review

By Harmaan R A J Madon

honda amaze- Car Review by Experts

Rising petrol prices over the last year and half and a steadily increasing demand for diesel vehicles finally witnessed Japanese auto manufacturer Honda take the plunge and launch their first ever diesel vehicle in India – the 1.5-litre i-DTEC powered Honda Amaze compact sedan.

Read Full Review

By Joydip Sur

honda city- Car Review by Experts

Exactly sixteen years and three generations since the Honda City was first introduced in India in January 1998, Honda Cars India Ltd. (HCIL) has launched the all-new fourth-generation Honda City with prices starting from Rs 7.39 lakh for the base petrol trim. The bigger news is that the Honda City will now be available in diesel too with the base diesel variant being priced at Rs 8.60 lakh, ex-showroom Kolkata.

Read Full Review

By Joydip Sur

honda mobilio- Car Review by Experts

Honda stated aim of becoming India third-largest car-maker is already coming true. But the Big H is far from resting on its laurels. The new Honda Mobilio MPV is due to be launched in India on July 23rd. We get behind the wheel to bring you this exhaustive road test of Honda India latest family car.

Read Full Review

By Harmaan R A J Madon

honda jazz- Car Review by Experts

Japanese carmaker Honda is gearing up to launch the new Jazz in India on July 8, 2015. The Honda Jazz will compete with the Hyundai Elite i20 and Volkswagen Polo. But does the new Jazz have what it takes to outsell the Elite i20 or beat the Polo hands down? We spent an entire day with the all new Honda Jazz VX (Petrol), V (Petrol CVT) and V (Diesel) in Goa to unravel the mystery for you. Read on to find out what we discovered.

Read Full Review

By Joydip Sur

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Honda Brio Alternatives

Looking for other cars in the same segment and price range? Your choices are many. Click on any model of your choice to go directly to that page, so you can have a quick and easy reference of the specifications and features of competing vehicles in the same segment.

Maruti Suzuki Swift
Rs. 4.7 Lacs. - Rs. 7.2 Lacs.

Fiat Grande Punto
Rs. 5.2 Lacs. - Rs. 7.6 Lacs.

Skoda Fabia
Rs. 4.9 Lacs. - Rs. 7.4 Lacs.

Fiat Palio Stile
Rs. 4.4 Lacs. - Rs. 4.7 Lacs.

Fiat 500
Rs. 14.8 Lacs. - Rs. 14.8 Lacs.

Tata Indica Vista
Rs. 3.9 Lacs. - Rs. 7.1 Lacs.

Chevrolet Aveo U-VA
Rs. 4 Lacs. - Rs. 5 Lacs.

Hyundai i20
Rs. 5 Lacs. - Rs. 8.1 Lacs.

Honda Jazz
Rs. 5.8 Lacs. - Rs. 6.3 Lacs.

Maruti Suzuki Ritz
Rs. 4.4 Lacs. - Rs. 6.2 Lacs.

Volkswagen New Beetle
Rs. 20.4 Lacs. - Rs. 20.4 Lacs.

Volkswagen Polo (2010-2014)
Rs. 4.9 Lacs. - Rs. 8.1 Lacs.

Ford Figo
Rs. 3.9 Lacs. - Rs. 6.1 Lacs.

Nissan Micra
Rs. 4.9 Lacs. - Rs. 7.2 Lacs.

Toyota Etios Liva
Rs. 4.8 Lacs. - Rs. 6.2 Lacs.

Renault Pulse (2012-2015)
Rs. 4.5 Lacs. - Rs. 7 Lacs.

MINI Cooper
Rs. 26.8 Lacs. - Rs. 37.7 Lacs.

Skoda Fabia Scout
Rs. 6.8 Lacs. - Rs. 8.1 Lacs.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Rs. 24.5 Lacs. - Rs. 25.3 Lacs.

Chevrolet Sail U-VA
Rs. 4.4 Lacs. - Rs. 6.9 Lacs.

BMW 1 Series
Rs. 23.8 Lacs. - Rs. 34.1 Lacs.

Mahindra Verito Vibe
Rs. 5.8 Lacs. - Rs. 6.7 Lacs.

Nissan Micra Active
Rs. 3.5 Lacs. - Rs. 4.8 Lacs.

Hyundai Grand i10
Rs. 4.6 Lacs. - Rs. 6.3 Lacs.

Tata Bolt
Rs. 4.6 Lacs. - Rs. 7.3 Lacs.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
Rs. 20 Lacs. - Rs. 22.5 Lacs.

Abarth 500
Rs. 25 Lacs. - Rs. 25 Lacs.

Fiat Punto Evo
Rs. 4.6 Lacs. - Rs. 7.2 Lacs.

Volkswagen Polo
Rs. 5 Lacs. - Rs. 7.4 Lacs.

Hyundai Elite i20
Rs. 5.2 Lacs. - Rs. 8 Lacs.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Rs. 26 Lacs. - Rs. 27 Lacs.

Volvo V40
Rs. 24.8 Lacs. - Rs. 27.7 Lacs.

Abarth 595 Competizione
Rs. 29.8 Lacs. - Rs. 29.8 Lacs.

Ford Figo 2015
Rs. 4.3 Lacs. - Rs. 7.4 Lacs.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno
Rs. 5.2 Lacs. - Rs. 8.4 Lacs.

Tata Tiago
Rs. 3.2 Lacs. - Rs. 5.5 Lacs.

Fiat Punto Pure
Rs. 4.5 Lacs. - Rs. 5.5 Lacs.

Honda Brio Review

Recent User Review

by danish sharma, 05

best in dis segment best car honda engine best produces hooming sound ultimate fun best car in smaall range

by Danish Sharma, 05

best car in small segment comfort ok power best hooming sound produces the ultimate no camparison of honda engine

by Priyanko Dasgupta, 26

In absolute love with it like to take it out in the rains & the design outdoes any of its contemporaries !

by Jaydeep, 25

Excellant Style AC Pickup and Power, Good Value for money and Best in Class Rear seat Comfort and space

by Anil G. Vaswani, 12

U'L not get all these features (Front & Rear Power Windows, Player with FM, AM with USB & AUX output with front & Rear spekers in this cost )with IVtech ingine in this price range. Regd. Milage U'l get 17 km/l on highway it can give more depends on how u drive.

by Akshay Shah, 12

I bought this car for my small family. The car provides excellent comfort in terms of in cabin sound proofing, suspension, gear shifting, engine pick up. I find the space surprisingly good. At the price tag of 5.4l I got all the safety features, plus honda's quality engineering. I cannot expect anything more for the price tag! I wish I had 1 lac more I would have gone for the base model of Jazz. Which is very spacious and grand from every angle.

by Saurabh Goyal, 02

Styling, Fit & Finish The car is impeccably good looking, Look it from any angle and it looks young, refreshing and cute. :) The parts used are of excellent quality as it is a Honda. Music System It has a really good music player with 4 speakers. Sound quality is remarkable. Music player is relatively easy to use. AC effectiveness Honda Brio gives you a choice of which AC vents do you want to keep open. If you are driving alone, you might want to close the passenger AC vents as you don't need them, which means air flow through your AC vents will increase. Long story short, AC is just superb!! :D Brakes and Steering feel I have V variant of the Honda Brio. Being a top model, it obviously comes with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) . Brakes are super precise. Steering is light and easy to use in traffic and as you build speed up, it weighs up quite nicely which gives you that extra confidence to tackle corners at relatively high speeds. Pick-Up and Power Engine is refined. Really refined. It produces 88 BHP of power, which is the maximum amount of power you can get from any 1.2L engines which are available in India. 0-100 takes less than 13 seconds. It's seriously fast. Seats, Space & Ride comfort Best seats. They are slim which means they don't occupy much space and they are rea;;y really comfortable. Fuel Efficiency Fuel efficiency is also best in class. I get around 20kmpl on highways. It also has an ECO light which lights up when you are driving economically. Safety It comes with ABS with EBD and i-SRS airbags, so safety is not at all compromised. :) Value for money Price is very reasonable. It is definitely good value for money. Sales & Service Being a Honda, it's going to last many many years. Service is also nice. Conclusion Go for it!!!! :D

by heqheshe kinimi, 28

bought the brio last month and all that i can say about is endless.the engine is superb with excellent refinement for a car of its size and class.ac is at par with sedans in the higer segments,ride is excellent both on the highway as well as country roads as the suspension work superbly managining everything on it,s way.the stering is light and precise with good turning radius,also the cabin space is excellent enough for 5 full grown adults.only drawback of this hatch is lack of boot space,but hey,its a car you,ll fall in love with again and again.ciao