The Honda Brio is Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI)'s entry to the local hatchback segment alongside the newly-introduced Honda City hatchback. It is considered to be the small hatchback option, while the new City hatchback is on the more premium option of the brand. In consideration of its price points, the small hatchback is regarded as the entry-level vehicle of the Japanese carmaker.
In Thailand, Honda first introduced the Brio in 2011 in response to a government-funded eco-car program. While in India, the small hatchback was produced by Honda's subsidiary company known as Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL). The manufacturing process took place in its facilities in Greater Noida. Most of the parts used to make the model were brough from Indian suppliers.
And in 2014, HCPI debuted the Honda Brio in the local market which provided Filipino car buyers with an affordable and sporty-looking hatchback. The PH-spec model is currently on its second-generation version and consists of the base S variant, mid-spec V variant, and top-of-the-line RS variant.
Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. launched the first-generation Honda Brio in the country during the Philippine International Motor Show in September 2014, three years after its debut in Thailand in 2011. It offered the local market a practical car due to its fair interior space, affordable pricing, and small 1.3-liter engine that produced 98 hp and 127 Nm of torque. These are the characteristics of an ideal vehicle for young individuals.
As for the current second-generation model, it didn't take as long before it arrive in Honda's local lineup in April 2019. The next-gen version comes with a sportier appeal thanks to its bolder character lines and the option for the RS variant which includes exclusive body kits that add sportiness and aggressiveness to the overall design. It is safe to say that the small hatchback is one of the best-looking vehicles in the local market for the price.
The Honda Brio features aggressive exterior details despite its relatively small size. Its 2019 update of the model had an entirely different look as compared to the first-generation model. The previous cute styling was replaced with a sportier and sharp-looking design. At the front, it has a distinct resemblance to its MPV sibling, the Honda Mobilio.
A sporty-looking vehicle at an affordable price
Other updates on the second-gen version include slimmer headlights and a way thicker-looking bumper frontage. There was also a more noticeable change at the hatchback's rear end. The former’s last generation had hefty chrome taillights and a full-glass tailgate. For the current update, it was switched with a simpler, more familiar rear end. Moreover, the new-gen comes with its new and innovative design of the cargo’s liftover height.
The interior of the updated Honda Brio was a significant leap. Instead of the rounded styling, the 2019 update now has an edgier look. Looking at the interior layout, it does look a lot like the same interior details as the 7-seater Honda BR-V. Although the hatchback's small design doesn’t make it the most spacious car ever, Honda decided to have ample legroom and headroom to compensate for it. Also, the fabric seats are quite comfortable.
Interior view of the Honda Brio
The RS trim comes with an orange interior that's pleasing to the eye. However, the downside is that this color doesn't exactly look good on the model's other variants like the Carnival Yellow. Most of the materials that make up the interior is plastic. But it is a given considering the affordable pricing. Cargo space is sufficient enough for everyday use such as going to work or school.
Technology & Safety Features
The Honda Brio now has a promising infotainment system. V and RS variants get to benefit from 7-inch capacitive touchscreen audio with two additional tweeters on top of the standard four speakers that supports Bluetooth connectivity, audio streaming, and USB port. Meanwhile, the base S variant only gets a 1-DIN that supports the same connectivities as the higher trims. Sounds and functions can be controlled using the audio controls mounted on the steering wheel.
This small hatchback is a contender for an ideal daily drive car
As for safety features, the small hatchback offers airbags for the driver and front passenger, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), immobilizer, and a G-Con Body Structure that controls the impact energy in the event of an accident. Only the V and RS variants are installed with a security alarm.
Platform & Chassis
In terms of chassis, the Honda Brio had an increase in length where it’s now 200 millimeters longer than the previous generation. This new look actually made the small hatchback look better and less awkward. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the car’s front doors. However, the second-generation model does share the same weight and width as its earlier model. The Mobilio headlights are also noticeable because they give a visual illusion that the front is wider. Moreover, there is also a new RS variety that’s intended to be a way better version of the small and average hatchback.
The Honda Brio RS variant
Engine & Drivetrain
Japanese carmaker Honda decided to take a gamble and decided to replace the standard 1.3-liter with a 1.2-liter engine instead. The new engine exerts an extra ten horsepower assisted by a 17 Nm increase in torque, giving the new Brio 89 horsepower and 110 Newton meters of torque. This makes the new Brio 22 kg heavier than its predecessor.
It now comes with a smaller 1.2-liter gasoline engine
The small hatchback also now operates more smoothly because they replaced the previous gen’s automatic transmission with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This resulted in a significant improvement in the model's fuel efficiency. Our tests recorded 8 km/l at an average speed of 30 km/h in the country, and 14.2 km/l at an average speed of 50 km/h.