The car that “loves you back” as the Honda Brio’s tagline from its TV commercial said, the quirky yet adorable hatchback sure did reciprocate love for its owners in many ways. The Honda Brio during its run in India spread this love to 97,000 customers before its effect began to fade away. This led Honda to ultimately pull the plug on it in 2019.
Still, the Brio was a popular quintessential hatchback in its heyday. Today, we take a look at the Honda Brio’s journey in India. The Honda Badge never got more affordable than this in India.
Honda Brio | A Brief History
Honda never set foot in the ‘entry-level’ segment in India before the Brio. The first time they decided to bring a hatchback into India, that too was a “premium” hatchback, the Honda Jazz. When the Brio was launched in 2011, it was the first sub-five lakh rupee car by the company in India. Honda is known for its high-quality products ever since they came with the City in 1998.
The Brio brought the ‘upmarket’ appeal of the Honda brand to the compact hatchback segment for the first time. Honda Brio’s launch in 2011 spiced up the niche within the hatchback segment, known as the ‘Premium Compact Hatchback’. These were uncharted lands for Honda back then and this made it very interesting to see how the Brio will turn out.
Honda Brio | Design
Undoubtedly, the thing which the Brio is still reckoned for is its rather peculiar design. Almost everyone recalls the Brio as the car with the big glass truck gate. That one particular styling cue was a big hit or miss. Other than that, the overall design of the Brio is unmistakably Honda. That too in the most “Japanese” way possible, with the angular headlamps and taillamps, compact proportions, sharp character lines. All these quirks brought out the peppiness in the Brio’s design.
The “Honda Quotient” continues on the inside as well, the Brio has a dual-tone interior enhancing the upmarket appeal of the cabin. The Facelift variants of the brio got a major revamp and had an all-black theme. Unlike the disproportional dash layout in the pre-facelift version, the facelift variant got a much more laid-out dashboard. The facelift Brio’s dashboard felt like it was derived from a sedan since it was. The facelift Brio and Honda Compact sedan Amaze shared the same dashboard layout.
Also, let us remind you that the Brio gave Honda the platform for its most successful car in India after the City, the Amaze. The car that still holds the fort as the entry-level car for Honda in India.
Honda Brio | Dimensions
Let’s compare Honda Brio’s dimension with its direct rivals back in the day.
|Cars||Honda Brio||Chevrolet Beat||Hyundai i10|
|Ground clearance||165mm||165 mm||165 mm|
Going by the figures, Honda Brio is so closely matched to its rivals, making it a perfect fit for the segment. The Brio was criticised a lot for its petite proportions, but it was no less than its competition. Chevrolet Beat and the Hyundai i10 were cars that were celebrated in the country immensely while they had similar proportions as the Brio.
Honda Brio | Features
The first iteration of the Brio in India had features like the Integrated music system (with the great sound quality just like the City), Steering mounted controls, alloy wheels, somethings which were still new to the segment and made the Brio stand toe-to-toe with its competitors.
The Facelifted Brio helps the car keep up with the times with features like 2-DIN music system with Bluetooth and Handsfree Telephone feature, Sleeker AC control unit, a more modern-looking instrument cluster.
The Brio, all throughout its life in India has never been short on features and have always run close to its competitors.
Honda Brio | Powertrain
Honda Brio is a fun-to-drive car. It’s nimble, peppy and slick for the car of its designation. The Brio came with a downsized version of the gem of engine technology, i-VTEC. The Brio came with a 1.2-Litre, 4-cylinder, i-VTEC engine making 87HP and 109Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed manual and 5-speed automatic transmission. Like the Chevrolet Beat, the Brio never came with a diesel engine, which really affected sales for the Honda hatchback. Comparing the power figures of the petrol engine with the competitors, the Brio packed more punch.
|Honda Brio||Chevrolet Beat||Hyundai i10|
Honda Brio | Price
Except for all the other aspects, is the first Honda below the sub-5 lakh rupee mark was the Brio’s strongest point. Prices for the Honda Brio before it got discontinued begin with Rs.4.73 Lakh and went all the way up to Rs.6.81 lakh. This price range helped Honda place the Brio conveniently below the Jazz while at the same time having competitive pricing to take the fight to its rivals.
Honda Brio | Rivals
Honda Brio sure had a committed rivalry with the likes of Chevrolet Beat, Hyundai i10, and Maruti A-star as well. All of these cars started showing weak sales and phased out around the same time as the Brio.
The Brio was never able to dominate the segment it belonged to with sales figures. Despite that, it was the most capable contender its rivals could’ve asked for and when it comes to performance, the Brio was a tough hand to beat in the segment.
The Future of the Honda Brio
The Brio witnessed a major slump in its sales especially post the facelift era. On the other hand, its sub-4 meter sibling, the Amaze was going phenomenal numbers. Hence, considering the poor sales figures, Honda pulled the plug on the Brio in 2019. This move also allowed for more breathing space for the Amaze in Honda’s lineup in India.
In the Indonesian markets, the second generation of the Honda Brio is on sale. However, allegedly, HCIL’s Senior VP and Director, Marketing and Sales stated that they currently have no plan in bringing the second generation Honda Brio to India. Instead, their focus is directed towards bringing Honda’s electric mobility technology to India.
How do you like the Honda Brio? Should Honda bring the next-gen Brio to India? Let us know in the comments section below.