Honda Brio S(O) MT - Performance Review
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Performance Review of Honda Brio S(O) MT
Last Updated at 03:14 pm, May 20, 2013Rating :
The Brio’s engine is borrowed from Jazz – but doesn’t feel as sprightly. The steering more than makes up for it though | Photography: Eshan Shetty.
The Honda Brio is a powered by a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. This is essentially the same mill that propels the Honda Jazz, however, under the Brio’s hood, it runs a slightly less powerful state of tune. The Brio produces 88PS of power and 109 Nm of torque which is dialed in at a lower, 6,000 RPM and 4,600 RPM respectively – compared to the Jazz produces which produces 90 PS @ 6200 RPM and 110 Nm @ 4800 RPM. The Brio though, is lighter by a good 100 kg and therefore it has a better power-to-weight ratio.
Start the engine and it quickly settles into a silent idle. In fact the engine remains silent as long as you are driving below 3,000 RPM. But this 1.2-litre mill maintains its characteristic sprightly nature and has a wonderful, sporty exhaust note when you rev its guts out. The electronic restrictions are quite evident when driving pedal-to-the-metal though, as the limiter tends to kick in even when the engine is quite eager to rev higher. With its better power-to-weight ratio than the Jazz – the Brio also manages to return better fuel economy. In our test cycle, we managed to get an overall fuel economy of close to 14 kmpl. The highway fuel economy was a little over 18 kmpl – which is quite decent for a petrol hatchback.
While the engine is silent at lower revs, you tend to hear the tyre and road noise – particularly in the back seats. There are a wee-bit of vibrations of the flooring too – especially when driving on concrete / coarse roads surfaces. Because of these little vibes and noises, the Brio appears to work too hard as compared to the Jazz when you are trying to extract more from the engine.
Coming to the on-road behavior of the dynamics, the Brio’s handling has taken a toll, thanks to the cushy suspension. There is a tremendous amount of body roll when the Brio is pushed hard around corners. With four people in the car, the handling should be a tad better though. The cushy suspension also translates into a bouncy ride when hitting undulations in the road surface at high speeds. But refrain from high speed action or sprightly driving and the Brio will be good to you by swallowing all the shocks that the roads throw at you.
The Brio behaves quite well in the city traffic too. The engine offers a decent amount of low end power to make your way through the slow moving traffic even with the air-conditioning switched on. However, the 1.2-litre mill in its current state of tune, does suffer from a drab mid-range and therefore overtaking a long vehicle will require a downshift. Speaking of which, the Brio’s gear shifter tends to feel notchy – which is quite unexpected. The electronic power steering is very light in the city and quite well weighted at higher speeds. Couple that with the 4.5 meter turning radius of the Brio and its relatively small dimensions, and you have a car that’s easy to manoeuvre even in the tightest of roads.
The large windshield and the windows have been designed to give the driver maximum visibility. The low set window-line and ORVMs and the curved A-pillar do their bit towards increasing visibility into corners. However, with the lack of height adjustment for the seat, shorter drivers will need to spend more time with the car to master the judgement of the Brio’s wide-body dimensions.
Overall, I like the way the Brio drives, but I would have liked the suspension to be slightly stiffer and the steering to feel more direct to enjoy the drive fully.
If you look at the average driving cycle of a small city car in India, there are very few cars that actually clock over 30-40,000 kilometers every year. In such a scenario, the premium that you pay for buying, owning and maintaining a diesel car over a petrol one, does not justify the price difference. Therefore, if your running isn’t too high, then a petrol car still makes more sense over a diesel one. And speaking of petrol hatchbacks, the Brio is easily one of the best cars in its segment that you can buy for your money.
First Published on 12:20 pm, August 06, 2012