I love the Brio. I love its rev-happy 88bhp engine and its darty handling – it feels like a hare at times. And this is what sets the Brio apart from other small cars.
This little Honda is not all about stretching every kilometre out of every litre, and it’s not all about simply getting from point A to B. There’s real fun to be had behind the wheel and it delivers its best when you really wring the engine out. That’s not something you can say for all small cars.
However, it’s when you simply want to get from point A to B that a flat spot in the engine’s characteristics shows up. The low-rev responses can be weak – you need to downshift and get it above 3500rpm for it to switch to pocket-rocket mode again. That said, the Brio’s fuel economy is not bad. I usually get 14.8kpl on my daily commute despite getting stuck in some of the worst traffic Mumbai has to offer.
There is, however, one serious limitation – the tiny boot. While it’s fine for foot-loose me, I don’t think the Brio will work as the only car for a family of four. Packing for weekend trips will be limited to toothbrushes, underwear and credit cards. I’m exaggerating, but you get the picture. For a weekend trip with my parents to our Karjat farmhouse, I usually borrow a bigger car. Most won’t have that luxury.
Still, it’s a testament to the little Honda’s reliability that not so much as a light bulb has blown over the 10,500km it’s been with us. And, considering it’s been used by every one of us here, that’s quite a compliment. The interiors still look fresh, there’s no interior trim hanging loose, and apart from the 10,000km service, it’s been like a Hero Honda – the ‘fill it, shut it, forget it’ kind.
Now if only Honda would come up with something better than the ‘It loves you back’ tagline . . .
Price: Rs 6.34 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Test economy: 14.8kpl
Maintenance costs: None
Read previous report here