Note: All opinions are my personal views only. We have a Getz 1.1 petrol and a Figo petrol in our family, so comparisons with these cars is bound to crop up, please bear with me! Last but not the least, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the Brio owners who put their ownership reviews here; thank you guys, they really help potential buyers to judge the vehicle to the T. Background and Buying Overview
Wanted a compact city runabout for me and wife. Online research started almost a year ago and I went through both the official and ownership reviews of every hatchback in the price of 4-5 lakhs. Unfortunately I couldn't get ABS
/airbags version in the budget I had, even after stretching it. I wish car manufacturers give safety features in lower variants instead of loading the car with accessories like electrical mirrors, music system, power windows etc as these gizmos can be installed later also.
Primary qualities in the car had to be; reliable; great to drive, spacious, fuel efficient and good looking hatch, mainly for city use. Also it had to be petrol only as my monthly run won’t exceed 600-700 km. Also I like the refinement/silence of petrol engines.
Based on reviews all over and my preferences, in the end, the only cars in contention were the Swift and Brio. Now swift is a great car but everyones got one and there is no ‘new car’ feeling in owning one. Plus its more expensive than Brio and Brio does 99% job (in style!) of a Swift while costing less. Brio is a better choice for in-city driving (Shorter length, smaller turning radius, great low-end torque, superior all round visibility).
I had never driven a Brio. So few days back, I started contacting Honda dealers. Went to the nearest one for a test drive. Liked the car very much. The only thing that bothered me was tire noise over concrete roads even with windows rolled up, AC on. Everything else was just fine. That dealer didn't have the newest SMT version (with seat height adjuster/defogger) in Blue color (wanted only Blue). Told him to contact me when it becomes available and left the showroom with brochure, price list.
Didn't want to wait, so rang up all the Honda Dealers in Delhi the next day. 2 of them said they had the new SMT in blue readily available. Got their offers on the phone. Ring Road Honda (Peeragarhi) were the fastest to respond (a blue SMT became available with them as there was some loan processing problem with a person who had booked this blue SMT) and the next day their SA came to my house. Offer:
Ex showroom price: 4,65,000
Registration, tax: 23,600
Cash Discount: 15,000
Fabric floor mats: Free
On Road: 4,80,000/
Looked an ok deal to me and paid the 10k booking amount (refundable). Told him, We'll come for PDI the next day and pay the full amount then. SA agreed; said delivery will happen in 4-5 days.
Went to Rind road Honda (Peeragarhi) the next day. Met our SA there. Was offered coffee. Overall experience with Honda is satisfactory till now (Hyundai is better though!). Went with him to the stockyard in a test car (Amaze). Checked our Blue brio there. They had cleaned it beforehand. Noted down VIN, checked the car, all looked ok. Went back to the showroom and paid the remaining amount, signed registration papers etc.
Ordered the following accessories from Honda:
PU seat covers: 5,300/-
Gear lock: 1,700 approx
Body cover: 1,200 (we have open parking)
Transparent floor mats: approx 950
Cargo protector: approx 500
Extended Warranty, 2 years: 5,600/-
I also wanted to get door side protectors strips, but at Honda they were costing around 2.8k which I felt was expensive. Got for 450 Rs outside, lets see how long they last.
I had also opted for paid 0 dep insurance but a day before delivery SA calls up and says I cant get 0 dep this year as this car was initially insured in the name of that customer (who had a problem with his loan), and he had only opted for comprehensive insurance and not 0 dep (Insurance was transferred from his to my name as per the dealer). I was not happy with this but had little choice. This is the main reason I am giving dealership 8/10 instead of 10/10. Delivery experience was fuss free. Some invoices of accessories they still have to courier me. RC will come in a month or so. High security number plate installed by the dealer. Everything else was delivered/fitted in the car before delivery. Initial Ownership Impressions Exterior Front
– car looks great from the front. Looks a much bigger, mature car than the ‘small’ hatchback it is. I am a fan of wide low stance cars. Chrome grill could have been thinner though or split in two like in the Amaze. Exterior Side
– looks great from side as well. Very aggressive stance. Big wheels on a low slung car enhance the looks. Exterior Rear
- I love the rear view the most, one look and I fell for it. Unique full glass hatch, triangular taillights, wide squat design makes it look like its gliding on the roads instead of running! Interior, front
– Spacious. I am six feet (thin build) and have no issues with headroom, legroom or knees hitting anywhere even with the front seat pushed not far back. Seats are comfy too. I have faced this cramped space issue in Figo where my left knee hits centre console a lot, unless I move the seat far back. Super space in Brio is due to the trimmed down dashboard I believe. Also the glove box is scooping away from the passenger, instead of vice versa like in other cars – this frees further leg room. Car is wide enough to create that roomy feeling. It feels like a big car from inside (like Getz). Outstanding packaging by Honda.
Quality of dashboard is high. Everything has a solid feeling to it and plastics look and feel rich. Awesome thick steering is small in size and looks upmarket. It feels great to the touch too; I don't plan to install any kind of cover on it. Love the audio controls on the wheel although I am not used to this feature yet and still turn volume up/down from the stereo!
The amber lit cockpit looks beautiful at night. All instrumentation is easy to use and see, whether day or night. Theater dimming of cabin light is a nice touch.
Seat height adjustment works well. I think there is enough range in it for short drivers to feel comfortable. In any case Brio has excellent all round visibility.
A/C controls feel fine, but instead of slider for changing air circulation mode, Honda should have given buttons which look trendy. I love the fact that Brio has round A/C vents as they can move in any direction. Adjusting air direction thru round vents is much easier and quicker than with the square types that come in many cars. In square type you have to take your eyes off the road longer and do double work thru two different controls – one for changing vertical air direction and another for horizontal direction. Have square ones in Getz and its a hassle to use.
Stereo – haven't used it much till now. Initial impression is of good sound quality in FM mode. Digital clock shows in the music system display, so no need to install separate clock.
One annoying omission is that controls for power windows/ outside mirror controls are NOT illuminated. At night its really difficult to find them.
Also the metal inside front side pockets is still exposed in Emt, EXmt and SMt variants. This was a bad omission to start with, but in India Honda decided to count this as a feature to be given in higher variants now. They are even advertising it in the brochure’s feature list! Will need to find if there is some jugad for this, that exposed metal is bound to get scratched sooner than later with use, not to mention its an eyesore.
There is no dead pedal. However there is plenty of space on the left of the clutch to rest your foot, which is a great relief. Once you are used to this feature, only then you realize its value (Getz has it. Figo doesn't plus no space beside the clutch too - awful). Interior, Rear
- Spacious again. Enough legroom for even tall people. Have only sat once in the rear. 2 people can sit in great comfort, a third can squeeze in if needed. However anyone above 5.10” will feel the rear seats not very comfy. Both the seat back as well as the seat base are smallish, as a result tall people will find the under thigh support poor, plus zero to little neck support from the integrated headrests; rear seat is best suited to short or medium height people. Boot –
Brio is quite (in)famous for its smallish boot! Honda gave priority to rear leg space rather than the boot, which I feel is fair for a city car. Boot is adequate for small families. Bigger would have been better obviously but one can't get everything in one car – we should not forget this car has short length which makes driving and parking in city conditions a breeze. People who’s priority is a big boot should look at longer cars like Liva, Vista, Figo etc…
Boot is more or less similar in space to Wagon R or Beat. Honda could have provided split folding rear seats though, I think Wagon R has that. For my needs boot is fine. Have hardly ever used the boot in the city and for 1-2 out-of-town yearly trips, Brio has enough space to carry luggage of a small family. Boot is actually bigger than what it looks in the photos. Driving experience
– some initial impressions of city driving. Engine is super refined and silent and has enough pep even with A/C on. I wont rev the engine hard for at least a thousand kms, so can't comment more on the performance aspect yet. Haven't gone above 70 km/hr yet.
Cabin insulation is great. Ride comfort is fine too. Car has superb balance and poise when on the move. One pleasant surprise is that even though car has low height, even the lowest seating position is quite high which means you don’t feel like other cars are towering over you. Suspension does its job quietly on medium-bad roads (not as good as a Figo or Getz though). Gear shifts are short and precise. A tad hard sometimes to shift, I think gearbox will smoothen more after sometime. Horn in smt is inadequate to shoo away the ubiquitous stubborn drivers or daring pedestrians.
I haven't noticed the high tire noise till now, that was prominent in the test drive car. My car came with Goodyears plus I think tire noise is more audible on those concrete roads. Lets see how these Goodyears perform. No need to upgrade tires to bigger or wider ones, Brio already has more than adequate ones, factory fitted.
AC feels good enough. Real test will be in the summers; September isn’t exactly the right time to gauge the true effectiveness of AC but it certainly is not a chiller like Figo’s. The large greenhouse does hamper A/C’s effectiveness. Need to buy those sun shades to paste on windows to cut down sunlight.
In conclusion, its a compact, high quality, contemporary hatchback. I would rate her 9/10 as of now. Will update more after I drive more.
No plans for any more accessories in the near future.
PS: One thing I noticed inside the bonnet is that the air intake redirector fixed under-bonnet in older Brios is not there in my car. Has Honda removed it in newer models? What is the disadvantage of not having it?
Didn't get time to click pictures, will do it this weekend and post.