Monday, August 18, 2014

First Drive: 2014 Honda Brio and Brio Amaze

Photos by Ulysses Ang
The legendary Soichiro Honda once said, “A company is most clearly defined not by its people or its history, but by its products.” Today, the car company that bears his name, Honda, is known for putting engineering excellent above all else. In every segment they enter, they refused to be the copycat; instead they take the road less traveled in the pursuit of making their products uniquely their own. Having lost their engineering way in the early part of this decade, Honda is now starting to get back into the groove. The all-new Accord, City, and Jazz are all definitive signs of an engineering resurgence. And now, that continues down market with the introduction of the all-new Brio and Brio Amaze.

There’s a lot riding on the Brio and Brio Amaze. With Honda’s decision to move the City and Jazz upmarket (and a sole engine variant in the process), it’s up to these two new super minis to plug the entry-level hole that’s left in the line-up. Entering the A-segment (or sub-B segment), the Brio and Brio Amaze are poised to do battle in the Philippines’s fastest growing passenger car segment. And instead of doing a ‘me too’, Honda is sticking close to its founder’s ideology by putting engineering above all else.



At first glance, you don’t think there’s anything largely special with either the Brio or Brio Amaze. They look modern, mixing cutesy style with angular lines, but then most sub-compacts pretty much do that too. However, look closer and you’ll start to appreciate the design. Both the Brio and Brio Amaze are designed for aerodynamic efficiency with complexly shaped front bumpers complete with extensions that look like they’re designed to channel air more effectively. This aerodynamic cut look is further emphasized by stabilizing fins present on the side mirror housing and rear quarter window (on the Brio). Thankfully, both cars stay away from the garish application of chrome, relying instead on sporty cues such as the smoked headlights, 175/65R14 wheels and tires, and roof-type rear spoiler (Brio). Of the two, the Brio looks much better proportioned with some CRX cues put in for good measure.

Although both the Brio and Brio Amaze sit on the same platform, they differ not just in length but in wheelbase as well. The Brio is the smaller of the two with a 3,610-millimeter overall length and a wheelbase of 2,345 millimeters. The Brio Amaze is slightly larger with a body extended by 310 millimeters and a wheelbase stretched by 60 millimeters. The other dimensions such as height (1,485 millimeters), width (1,680 millimeters), and even track (1,480 millimeters front and 1,465 millimeters rear) are identical.



Opening the weighty doors (a treat in this segment), the Brio and Brio Amaze take on Honda’s “Man Maximum, Machine Minimum” philosophy. The curvy dashboard is straightforward and easy to understand. The four round vents, compartmentalized around the driver and front passenger, lend these cars a CR-Z feel while the thin center console and triangular placement of the air conditioning controls add much-needed front knee space. Just below it, the two large cup holders and snake’s head shifter are clear nods to the second-generation City and Jazz. Although the driver’s seat adjusts in just four directions, the tilt-adjustable steering ensures an ergonomic experience. Like the dashboard, the instrument panel is stylized but easy to understand. Dead-center is the large speedometer and flanking it to the left is the speedometer and to the right is an array of warning lights. The fuel gauge and multi-function computer are nestled below the central speedometer.

The abundance of hard plastics is what you’d expect from this class of vehicles, but at least the Brio and Brio Amaze have nicely textured plastics dotting the entire cabin. Fit and finish are largely alright except perhaps for the glove box which has a pronounced under bite that doesn’t flush with the rest of the dashboard. The Brio goes all-out sporty with an all-black motif while the Brio Amaze adds a dose of airiness with a two-tone black and beige design.



Aside from the multi-function computer, the Brio and Brio Amaze comes fully-loaded in their top-line trims. Both the Brio and Brio Amaze for instance come with steering wheel controls, touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth hands-free and GPS navigation. In terms of safety, both models offer dual SRS airbags and anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist.

The Brio and Brio Amaze are aiming to be best-in-class in terms of performance. This starts with the engine. Where its competitors rely on 3-cylinder engines, Honda is plopping in a 4-cylinder engine under the hood. And this isn’t just any ordinary four-banger—it’s the 1.3-liter 4-cylinder i-VTEC engine found in the previous-generation City and Jazz. Mated to this engine is Honda’s slick transmission which is a choice between a 5-speed manual or get this—a first-in-class 5-speed automatic. In output alone, both the Brio and Brio Amaze are way ahead of the competition: 100 horsepower and 127 Nm of torque. Now, combine this with a light-weight body (topping out at 965 kilograms for the heaviest model), and you have the perfect recipe for performance.



Proving this point, Honda made the Brio and Brio Amaze available for a short spin around the extremely hilly confines of Tagaytay Highlands together with two of the best-selling competition: the Toyota Wigo and Mitsubishi Mirage G4. Getting equal amount of seat time in each, responsiveness and handling were clearly in Honda’s favor. Thanks to an even cylinder count; the Brio and Brio Amaze were quieter and smoother off the line. Heading down the twisty part of the course, the Brio and Brio Amaze showed taut handling with quick and responsive steering. They certainly could carry much more speed through the bends thanks to excellent grip. Of the two though, the Brio felt tighter and more stable while the Brio Amaze felt much more tuned for comfort (perhaps to the point of being over damped). Subjectively the Brio and Brio Amaze felt close to the first-generation Jazz and second-generation City respectively. Uphill, the extra 100-cc of displacement and more torque made itself known with the Hondas climbing much easier from a standstill compared to the competition.

Although Honda Cars Philippines revealed no pricing information during the short preview, given the amount of kit and tech found in both cars, don’t be surprised if they’re priced on the higher-end of the A-segment spectrum. They, however, did reveal that there will be two variants of the Brio hatchback and three variants of the Brio Amaze sedan. Speculation is ripe that the Brio will top out at P 708,000 while the Brio Amaze will be pegged slighter higher, perhaps around P 718,000. Whatever the final price will be, both of these cars hark back to Shoichiro’s philosophy and definitely worthy to carry the Honda name.



The Honda Brio and Brio Amaze will be unveiled at the Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) that runs from September 18-21 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

30 comments:

  1. That Amaze is just...Ugly...:| :| :| Looks like a Swift DZire clone

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    Replies
    1. Well it is designed in India primarily for the Indian market. Of course, now they are exporting it to other developing markets.

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  2. I think Honda missed out on the purpose of a "City Car". Sure it's a bigger engine than the competitors, but being a city car is all about fuel efficiency. To bring the competitors to a place like Tagaytay where it could triumph over them was not the best idea at all. Poor Honda, They're pretty much falling right now behind other manufacturers

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    Replies
    1. Honda Cars Philippines pointed that this was just a preview. They will hold more in depth drives in the future. For sure we'll get to test it longer and be able to get fuel economy figures and the like.

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  3. I still think the Mirage is the car to beat in this segment. Sure the Wigo is much cheaper but the low-end 2014 Mirage GLX got upgrades that's basically the same as the Wigo ToTL with just the alloy whells missing.

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    Replies
    1. Follow up: Look at these upgrades of the lowest end GLX:
      GLX
      1. Usb Port and Aux Jack Located inside Glove Box
      2.Rear Speakers x2
      3.Power Doorlocks
      4. Tonneau Cover
      5. Power Adjust Side View Mirror
      6. Side Door Mirror Color Keyed
      7. Exterior Door Handles Color Keyed
      8. Side Sill Cover
      9. Tailgate Handle Color Keyed
      10. Keyless Entry incorporated

      503K will be worth it for the Mirage. It's either Mirage or Wigo for bang for your buck City Car.

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    2. Disclaimer: I'm not from Mitsubishi, I don't own a Mirage or a Mitsubishi. I own a brand new 2014 Toyota Altis 1.6 G AT :) - Spacy and Refined

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    3. It's not even officially for sale and some people like these clowns are already bashing it. Try test driving it first before you come up with a biased conclusion.

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    4. Agreed. Only pass judgement after having driven one. I, for one, cannot conclude if the Brio and Brio Amaze are really that great. They need a more thorough test drive.

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    5. Bash-worthy prices! Look how close the price is to that of a Honda Jazz and Honda City

      Brio 1.3 S M/T – P 599,000
      Brio 1.3 S A/T – P 639,000
      Brio 1.3 V M/T – P 679,000
      Brio 1.3 V A/T – P 719,000
      In comparison, the slightly larger and cushier Brio Amaze is pegged:
      Brio Amaze 1.3 E M/T – P 629,000
      Brio Amaze 1.3 S A/T – P 689,000
      Brio Amaze 1.3 V M/T – P 729,000
      Brio Amaze 1.3 V A/T – P 769,000

      Delete
  4. Where will the Honda Brio and Brio Amaze be sourced from, Thailand?

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  5. Not pretty looking, I hope performance would really compensate the looks.

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    Replies
    1. I don't recall cars in this segment were supposed to be pretty. If you want a decently styled car (exterior-wise), start looking in the subcompact segment.

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    2. Lol. that's what we all used to say about the subcompact segment. I think the Brio looks alright. All except for those rear taillights, euro taillamps went out of fashion long ago. They should at least have made the plastic surrounding the lights black instead of chrome

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    3. I agree about what you said about those tail lights. They do seem out of place.

      Also, the subcompact segment is not like what it used to be. They got bigger, prettier and most of all, got a hell of a lot more expensive than before.

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  6. If Honda is thinking to compete with popular subcompacts in the Philippines, they should be extra mindful of their pricing for these cars. Reasons that will involve popularity of brand name, posher interior, better engine technology, etc. will not fly if the majority of interested folks don't have the proper budget to afford buying the vehicle. Only by offering more value than the competition and better/affordable pricing will grant Honda success in this market segment.

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  7. Ok, daily drive your mirage and other shit cars mazda 2, ford fiesta, etc, while i will daily drive an equally midge brio or even toyota wigo. 6 months from now, i will still be daily driving the brio, while your brand is up for an overhaul already. Ho ho ho. A brio is meant as affordable sandal if you can't afford an accord or lexus is350 as a daily commuter. A daily commuter to be emphatic. Elsewise, get contended driving your ugly cheapo crappy fummy diesel truck.

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    Replies
    1. Ay oo affordable!!! Konti n lng may Jazz at City ka na.

      Brio 1.3 S M/T – P 599,000
      Brio 1.3 S A/T – P 639,000
      Brio 1.3 V M/T – P 679,000
      Brio 1.3 V A/T – P 719,000
      In comparison, the slightly larger and cushier Brio Amaze is pegged:
      Brio Amaze 1.3 E M/T – P 629,000
      Brio Amaze 1.3 S A/T – P 689,000
      Brio Amaze 1.3 V M/T – P 729,000
      Brio Amaze 1.3 V A/T – P 769,000

      Delete
  8. My wife's company just bought this car yesterday and all I can say is that it ugly on all angles not just exterior design but same with the interior.

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  9. how is its highway stability? the mirage G4 wants to go every which way but straight at 80kph on the skyway, so you are constantly correcting left and right

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  10. these cars wont be in good shape after say 5 years...may it be wigo,mirage or this one...

    i dont know why people opt for this cars...para meron lg kotse?(fuck that!!!)

    cheap maybe yes but in the long run...?????...

    btw,yung iba nagkotse akala mo kung sino na e no...puntahan mo bahay nila...kahit pa yung mga nka "SUV" pa..lalo na montero...pfft...

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  11. Hello 10/04 9:56 so anong pinaglalaban mo?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 10.12 @ 2:21 got offended...

      L O L ! ! !

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    2. your mom's licking my balls right now 10,27@11:50pm...and my dog just fucked your dad right in the ass...oh by the way, your dad said he was doing your girlfriend and your girl likes rimming your dad...(LOL THAT MOTHAFUCKA)

      watch who you're trolling CANDY ASS MOUTH FULL OF DICK!!!

      Delete
  12. Sir, any update on the FC of these cars?

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  13. sir 12 liters sa highway, 9-10 sa city driving

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  14. sir, eto ang average FC ko

    Route: Monumento to Makati via EDSA
    Time: 6:00am = 11km/L
    Route: Makati to Monumento via EDSA
    Time: 5:00pm = 9km/L

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  15. up! for those who bought brio/amaze early. how's the condition and fc? any problem encounter?

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  16. ALL NEW CELERIO to be Launched in AUGUST!
    507K MT
    542K CVT w/ Sports Mode.

    254L Cargo.. More spacious than Mirage (235L)
    21.28 km/L average combined city and highway.
    ALL-Power, ABS EBD, Dual Airbags, Immobilizer (anti-theft), Keyless Entry, 4-star ANCAP Crash Tested.

    Norbert Batisan
    09051677807

    ReplyDelete