All-new Honda Brio: New toy big boys would love to play with

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When Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) announced the all-new Brio, I am one of many who are thrilled about Honda’s latest mini hatchback. As a car geek born in the early 90’s, I could easily associate cool hatchback cars with the Honda brand. And seeing the all-new Honda Brio, I can only be happy with what Honda presented as the latest iteration of their mini hatchback. It looks fun even on display, seems like a natural trait to any Honda hatchbacks.

The good people of HCPI organized a three-day media test drive visiting La Union, Baguio and Clark in the all-new Brio for an in-depth experience to see if the new Honda mini hatchback’s hip form comes with dependable function.

I got assigned to a Carnival Yellow Honda Brio 1.2V A/T variant which reminded me of the Japanese aftermarket powerhouse specializing in tuning Honda cars, Spoon Sports. Oh, I immediately made a picture of a Spoon-themed Honda Brio project car in my head the moment I saw this cutie.

Stepping inside the all-new Brio, one of the things I love is its black interior. It gave a cleaner and better interior ambiance, in my opinion. Also, the touchscreen infotainment system is one of the awesome features that makes the Brio a notch higher than its competitors. In the top variant RS, a special ‘RS’ marked instrument panel gauge, door-mounted tweeter pods and orange interior accents are some of the RS’ interior perks.

Early into the drive, riding the Brio through the metro’s heavy traffic is not bad at all. The wee bit longer wheelbase coupled with the updated suspension system helped minimize the bumpiness riding through EDSA’s uneven road surface  and making the stop-and-go traffic a bit bearable. More on its riding comfort, the rear passenger legroom and headroom was definitely better as the previous model is a bit cramped at the back. The Brio could comfortably cater to four passengers. Five is possible but could be a little bit tight.

Driving the Brio was absolutely smooth. The upgrade from conventional automatic transmission to CVT was a good move Honda did for the Brio. Zero shift shock was felt while driving it thanks to its Earth Dreams Technology CVT transmission.

Power wise, the all-new Brio’s 1.2 SOHC i-VTEC inline-four engine may not offer much but it is sufficient for what the Brio needs. On highways, the Brio could easily be up to speed. At first, power might feel lacking when overtaking but it only takes a little of getting used to the Brio’s throttle feel and CVT transmission downshift. As for its fuel consumption, the mixed city and highway drive got us an average of 14.9km/L rating which will surely improve as you drive it more.

To satisfy your curiosity, HCPI brought us up to Baguio to prove that the Honda Brio is capable of conquering the classic question regarding new cars especially from this class. Everyone had tons of fun in the little Honda hatchback tackling the twisties of the newly opened Asin Road. The Brio was able to keep up turn after turn exhibiting its nimbleness. With the Brio acing that awesome mountain road run, I realized that the Brio is a car capable enough to bring in autocross or slalom races.

The all-new Honda Brio was developed with the “overclass” idea in mind which was greatly executed by Honda in their latest mini hatchback. The Brio offers features that are notches higher than those of its competitors and it is offered in a very competitive price range starting at PHP 576,000. A perfect first car or an alternate car, the Brio would be happy to take you around the metro as your daily commute. Taking you to your weekend getaways is a lovely bonus that the Brio will give ardently.

Yes, it may not have that grunt or pull but why would you expect that on a mini hatchback in the first place? The Brio is not a Type R and it is absolutely not trying. But it could serve as a blank canvas for car enthusiasts who are in search for their next project car to build and tune. Or, it could just perfectly be your daily car. You choose. But hopefully, aftermarket parts will be abundant.

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