With the introduction of the bright and bold new Brio, Honda Motor Southern Africa offers an exciting and affordable alternative in the entry-level hatchback market. The stylish and nimble Brio, aimed at the younger first-time car buyer, fits in below the Jazz in the local Honda model line-up and will be available in both manual and automatic in Comfort trim specification with service plan as standard. The Brio’s name was derived from the Italian word for “verve”, “vigour”, “cheerfulness” and “energy”. This aptly describes Honda’s first entry into the growing and increasingly important segment which will allow budget-conscious buyers to experience the brand’s famed product quality, driving dynamics, fuel efficiency, spaciousness and safety in a new and affordable package. Advanced technology is epitomised by the sprightly 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine, new to South Africa, which delivers both sparkling performance and frugal fuel economy. The latest-generation four-cylinder unit employs intelligent, electronically controlled variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder to produce a lively 65 kW of power at 6 000 r/min, and 109 Nm of torque at 4 500 r/min – good enough to propel the manual version to 100 km/h in just over 12 seconds. The Brio features active and passive safety technologies including dual SRS front airbags, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), front pretensioner seatbelts with load limiters. With their Comfort level specification, the two models also have manual air-conditioning as standard, headlight off and ignition key off reminder, a day/night rearview mirror, a passenger vanity mirror, an audio system with USB and Aux inputs as well as remote central locking and an immobiliser.
When you sit inside the Brio for the first time, you will be pleasantly surprised with the interior quality. For a <5 lakh rupee hatchback, the interiors feel really good & are well-screwed together. There is no hint of cost cutting, be it the plastics, fit, finish or the seat fabric. Obviously, there is no soft touch dashboard in here, yet the interiors feel better than most other cars from the segment. Whatever cost cutting is there, it is not that obvious. Inside the seat back pocket, you'll find soft textured material. The rear bottle-holder (between the front seats) has a small carpet on its base. GTO had driven the Toyota Liva a month back, and he commented that the interiors don't feel anywhere as built to a cost as the Liva's. I really liked the seat fabric; the cushioning was rather decent and you could easily pass it off in a C segment sedan.The Indian Brio gets a black & beige color combination, unlike the Thai version and its full beige effect. The color palette is similar to other Hondas sold in India. It's not perfect though; the chocolate brown color accents (a la Hyundai i10) on the center console & door armrests look completely out of place. Also, the Brio's body colour is prominently exposed on the front door pockets & the rear door panel! Honda say they did this intentionally as a design touch, but it doesn't work for me at all. For an entry level Honda, it has stylish door open levers (silver aluminium finish for the V variant, beige for the lower variants). The V variant gets beige carpeting, while the lower variants get black.The dashboard looks basic for the most part. It isn't very deep like in other cab forward designs. Strangely,
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