Honda Cars India has taken a step into the small automatic hatchback game with its Brio AT, which starts its pricing at Rs 5.74 lakh, and in the same breath, launched a new manual gearbox'd variant as well
Compact, cute and just a little bit cheeky, that’s what the Honda Brio is. Honda’s most affordable car in the country, the Brio hasn’t really been what you might call a runaway success, especially considering the might of the competition in the small hatch segment, but more than 25,000 cars shifted in just over a year speaks volumes for a company that is better known for making ultra refined C-segment sedans. And now, in light of the recent trend of offering automatic gearboxes in small cars, the Japanese auto giant has gone ahead and launched the Brio with one. Also Read:Honda Brio Automatic : First Drive
In a surprising move, where other manufacturers are opting for a CVT transmission for this class of car, Honda has stuck with the tried and tested torque converter system. This new 5-speed gearbox offer three more positions on the selector lever apart from the standard P, R, N and D. The D3 setting keeps the gearbox restricted in the first three gears, good for quick overtaking manoeuvres. Slot the lever either into ‘2’ or ‘1’, and gearbox will hold second or first gear respectively, a feature designed for when coming down or going up steep slopes. The gearbox is electronically controlled directly through the engine’s drive-by-wire (DBW) system so it can select the most optimum gear in any driving condition. This AT variant also delivers an ARAI claimed mileage figure of 16.5kmpl, not too bad for an automatic.
Everything else about the Brio pretty much stays the same, which is a good thing really, as the car retains it near-perfect driving position, the nippy handling and the peppy 1.2-litre iVTEC engine. Along with the two automatic variants the S(O) AT and the V AT, which are priced at Rs 5.74 lakh and Rs 5.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) respectively, Honda also launched a new manual transmission variant, which is priced at Rs 4.26 lakh (ex-Delhi). This new variant features a 1 DIN MP3 audio system with USB with Aux –In, a pair of front speakers, body coloured ORVMs as well as body coloured door handles.
The Brio AT comes in the firing line of some really brilliant little automatic cars such as the Maruti Suzuki A-Star AT and Hyundai i10 AT, both of which offer a price advantage over the Honda. But whether Honda’s superlative build quality, driving characteristics and the brand’s ‘premium’ tag be enough for this car to stand over its rivals, only time will tell.