Honda Brio 1.2 Review

Honda Brio 1

Honda’s all-new city car takes the fight to the entry level market with an exceptional offering. Everyone, meet the Honda Brio.

People all give me the same reaction when I tell them what I do. “What’s the fastest/most expensive/rarest car you’ve driven?” is the question I get asked the most. While I have been exceptionally fortunate to drive the cool stuff and I do get very excited when something fast and pricey comes my way, I do enjoy driving the working class cars. These cars have the tough challenge of being able to offer a great driving experience, while still being reliable and cheap to run.

Honda Brio 1.2 Review by David Taylor

Honda enters budget market

The Honda Brio is an important vehicle for the Japanese car maker. From recent sales figures, it’s clear that the Korean pair of Kia and Hyundai are hurting Honda. Pity, as Honda makes some good products and has a great track record. The Honda Brio is an entry level vehicle – designed to be affordable, yet has a personality and some funkiness about it.

Mixed opinions regarding looks

In terms of looks, the Honda Brio is rather interesting. From the front it’s pleasant, well-designed and appealing. However, the rear looks a little awkward. Looks are opinionated and despite my feelings about the back of the car, most onlookers thought the Brio was cute. My evaluation unit was a vibrant red, which probably helped with the cute factor. As far as entry-level city cars goes, I’d rate the Honda Brio as the most attractive.

Honda Brio engine offers good performance

Powering the Honda Brio is a little 1.2-litre four cylinder. It has a power output of 65kW and 109Nm which isn’t much, but when the car weighs just 916kg, you realise that the car is quite zippy to drive. With all Hondas you need to give it a bit of a rev to get the best out of it, and I felt that the Brio enjoyed being driven enthusiastically. With such a small engine, fuel economy is great. Honda claims 5.6L/100km, and I reckon I was sitting at about 6L/100km. The car will assist you to drive responsibly as there’s an ECO light which come on when you’re light on the accelerator.

Brio has everything you’d need

TheHonda Brio costs R120 000 and for that price you’re probably thinking that there’s nothing cool about the interior. You’d be wrong as Honda has done well in ensuring that this little city car is modern. You get electric windows all round, air conditioner, power steering, USB/aux connectivity for the audio system, steering wheel radio controls and dual front airbags. There are even ABS brakes. For just under R120 000 you’re getting a lot of kit for not a lot of money and Honda is to be commended for that.

The cabin is larger than you think

The downside is that the interior quality isn’t up to that of something like a Civic. This is a cheap car and it feels like it, due to the quality of some of the plastics. Do I care? Not a chance. Despite the minor quality issues, I was impressed with the actual space inside the Brio. Four tall people are comfortable in the cabin with head room and leg room being in abundance. The boot is a little on the small side, but you can fold down the rear seats for added carrying capacity. It also has an abundance of large cup holders, which are useful for holding keys and smartphones.

Honda Brio - Conclusion

Thanks to the revvy engine and small size, the Honda Brio is perfect in the narrow, traffic-infested roads. The steering is light and the little Honda zips around town. It is also incredibly easy to park thanks to great visibility and the small dimensions. For me the Honda Brio is fantastic. If you’re a student or first-time car owner you can’t go wrong with this. Coupled with the legendary Honda reliability, after-sales service and warranty, the Brio is an excellent candidate for being one of the top urban runabouts.

Honda Brio - Price

Honda Brio - R119 800
  • Why you should: effortless to park in the city, light on fuel, fun to drive, well-specced, value-for-money offering
  • Why you shouldn’t: boot is a little small, interior feels cheap, second-hand Honda Jazz may be of interest.
  • It would be better if: The rear end was altered to be better looking and the boot capacity extended.
  • View the Honda Brio: New / Used
  • Competitors worth checking out: Toyota Aygo, Kia Picanto, Chevrolet Spark, Peugeot 107, Citroen C1, Ford Figo, Volkswagen Polo Vivo.