Honda adds Brio to '12 line-up

2012-10-16 21:23

Honda believes it is about to set the South African budget car segment alight with the upcoming launch of an all-new, value-added, entry-level hatchback.

It's the "bright and bold" Brio - another name in line with the automaker's musical names theme that started with the Ballade. It means to play the scored music with vivacity, verve, vigor. OK, we get it, Honda!

The Brio’s arrival is Honda’s first car to join the entry-level A segment - regarded these days as "increasingly important for budget-conscious buyers". Honda says: "It will allow such buyers to experience Honda’s famed product quality in a new and affordable package."

It will go up against Hyundai's i10 (that's the one with the similar diagonal parallel kinks through the doors), Kia's Picanto and other similar-sized products.
"The new Brio’s arresting mix of young and funky styling, zippy dynamics, interior space and modern, efficient technology," Honda attests, "will please and entice buyers seeking affordability, value and style in a contemporary and efficient package."


Power comes from a 1.2-litre i-VTEC (same tech as its bigger siblings) engine capable of 65kW and 109Nm of torque and a choice of manual or auto gearbox - another example of small engine, big power, the most recent of which is the 1.2 in VW's just-launched New New Beetle, though that unit makes 77kW with the help of a turbo.

Honda... Turbo? Go on, give it a bash!

Whatever, the four-cylinder Honda engine uses "intelligent, electronically controlled, variable valve timing, with four valves per cylinder". Like most of the rest of its cars.


Yoshiaki Nakamura, MD of Honda Motor SA, told Wheels24: "We are extremely excited to be able to offer the new Honda Brio to our southern African customers. The Brio is poised to become a trendsetter in the entry-level segment and will for the first time allow us to introduce the Honda motoring experience to a wider audience.

"The Brio’s combination of styling, affordability, quality and, above all, motoring fun, will offer young first-time buyers an attractive budget-motoring option.”
The Honda Brio will be in SA showrooms in early December. Prices and final specifications are still to be announced.

  • graeme.stockwell - 2012-10-17 06:50

    Typical wheels 24 article, while reporting on budget A segment cars they fail to tell us how much they are going to cost even though A segment cars are "increasingly important for budget-conscious buyers"

  • MuhammadSheikOumar - 2012-10-17 08:29

    Its great that competition is increasing in the A-segment. However, the Ford Figo and VW Polo Vivo are about the only vehicles that offer 1.4 litre engines for similar money to the rest of the playing field. Lets not forget that both the Figo and Vivo are based on the previous generations of Fiesta and Polo (B-segment vehicles) so interior space in both these cars is quite good. It will be interesting to see how the Honda fares against these two stalwarts in the SA market.

      ebon.geist - 2012-10-17 12:47

      Although the A-segment and previous generation B-segment compete on price I think they actually represent 2 different target markets. The success of these cars will depend on the values of the buyer ie what the buyer believes adds more value. Buying a budget vehicle is always a compromise: In the case of cars like the Vivo and Figo they allow the buyer to compromise on things like safety, fuel economy and several other, arguably less important, benefits of newer technology. The compromise for modern A segment cars is typically that they are very small and have tiny engines. Honestly, I don't expect the Brio to affect sales of Figo and Vivo at all. It'll take sales away from Aygo, i10, Picanto, Spark etc, because those are the people who were never going to buy a Figo or Vivo to start out with.

      keith.acar - 2012-10-17 16:16

      Not to forget the Chev Aveo 1.6...

  • MuhammadSheikOumar - 2012-10-17 15:53

    Actually the Figo comes standard with ABS brakes and Two airbags. The same cant be said for some of its A-segment rivals. The fuel economy is quite good as well. In fact the diesel Figo is more economical than all of its A-segment rivals. All that for R130 000. That begs the question, what is the compromise? However, the Figo and Vivo have more mature styling than their A-segment rivals. Perhaps that will be the deciding factor.

      ebon.geist - 2012-10-18 10:23

      "That begs the question, what is the compromise?" Why buy a new Fiesta or Polo then if the old Figo or Vivo does the job just as well, but cheaper? Automotive technology is advancing all the time, and a lot of the benefits thereof take the form of small, incremental improvements. It isn't that pronounced when you look at a car 1 generation old but over several generations (eg the citigolf) you really start to notice how newer cars are simply better in every way. Now some might argue that the benefits of new technology are not sufficient to warrant the price difference. These people will likely go for a Vivo or Figo. Others would argue that you want the latest technology because it makes the car better (safer, more economical, more features). If you want to compare the top end (petrol) Figo to a top end Picanto (I go with Picanto because of lacking Brio info, but the same basic idea would apply), the Picanto is about 5% cheaper, significantly more economical and has a host of features, whereas the older Figo is bigger and more powerful. I am not trying to argue whether a generation old B-Segment car is better than a current generation A-Segment car. What I am saying though is that they have a very different set of strengths and weaknesses, and the decision of which choice to go with depends on what the buyer believes is more important.

      Triumphant - 2012-10-30 09:04

      I owned the bigger buddy, the Ikon. Aaargh!!!!!!! It might be value for money on paper but it grinds you after a while as it's tinny, it rattles. The fuse box is 'INSIDE' the dash board. So yeah, you have to dig inside the dash board to change a fuse and don't have a fender bender. Once that took place the deterioration was so significant I had to ditch the car 4 months later. Happily driving German - YEAH, HAPPILY!

  • shaunisaac.malambo - 2012-10-17 19:20

    Chevrolet Spark vs Honda Brio - http://www.motorbeam.com/cars/chevrolet-beat-cars/honda-brio-chevrolet-beat-shootout/

      shaunisaac.malambo - 2012-10-17 19:21

      Finally some competition in the A-Segment

      ebon.geist - 2012-10-18 15:20

      Nice review there. Looks like the Brio soundly beats the Spark, but was a bit more expensive. I guess the big question for the SA market is how expensive it will be compared to its rivals. If they can get the price right it should do very well. Personally though I expect it will probably come in at a premium over its rivals and as such will struggle for sales in spite of being a better product.

      shaunisaac.malambo - 2012-10-19 07:10

      An good review, I'm sure Honda will source the Brio from India to make it more affordable and compete with the likes of the other A-segment cars. http://indianautosblog.com/tag/Honda-Brio-review

  • MuhammadSheikOumar - 2012-10-18 10:50

    @ebon.geist I appreciate your argument, however you are being very subjective about old versus new technology. Objectively how is an A-segment car that is currently sold in SA more advanced than a previous generation B-segment car? Yes you may get a few extra toys, however the basic engineering is still the same, torsion beam suspension, fuel injected motors, abs brakes and two airbags at a maximum. I think it is a perception rather than a factual argument you make. When comapring the new Fiesta and Polo to the Figo and Vivo, yes the new Fiesta and Polo are better cars because they have been benchmarked to imporve on the very same cars they replace. However, when was an A-segment car designed to better a B-segment vehicle? Surely not in the last 5-6 years. The majority of SA buying public are wise and thats reflected in the sales of the Figo and Vivo.

      ebon.geist - 2012-10-18 11:34

      It's not just about a few extra toys. Technical advances are pervasive. Most of the advances aren't easily noticeable by themselves to the lay-person. But over time the nett cumulative effect becomes very noticable (compare Golf mk1 to Golf mk6). The principle of the torsion beam, for example, may not have changed in the last 50 years, but you can't tell me that a citigolf torsion beam is as good as a 9th generation Civic torsion beam. Even a system like ABS is constantly improving. Crumple zone design (and crash safety) gets better with every generation of car due to both better design tools, and machining capabilities that can build more intricate parts. The list is almost endless. I don't disagree that in general A-segment cars are about 5 years behind B-segment cars, and because of continual improvements, that difference remains constant. But by that same argument, it stands to reason that new A-segment cars coming out today will be more advanced than models like the Figo and Vivo. Lastly I disagree that the "majority of SA buying public are wise". Most people know very little about cars on any kind of technical level (even us forum posters who probably know more than most) If you want to use that argument then I could point out that the majority of the first world is "wise" and avoid making new old generation cars. No, the reality is SA is a different country with different people and different values when it comes to cars. This is why Figo and Vivo sell here.

      ebon.geist - 2012-10-18 11:56

      Muhammad: In answer to your question: "Objectively, how is an A-segment car that is currently sold in SA more advanced than a previous generation B-segment car" Go look at www.euroncap.com. Look at the 2002 Fiesta (which is what the Figo basically is) and compare it to a 2011 Kia Picanto. The Picanto scored roughly equally (4 stars) on the new, more stringent testing standards than what the Fiesta did back then (ie if the Figo was tested using today's standards it would probably on score 2-3 stars). The dummy damage illustrations paint a very clear picture of what 9 years of technological improvements can do. It is pretty clear that a new Picanto protects its occupants better than a Figo does in an accident. This is one example that demonstrates that the benefits of new technology are not just perception. (Please note, I am not saying a Picanto is a better buy than a Figo. I am trying to illustrate that, while weaker than the Figo is some regards, it is stronger in others, making the Figo and Picanto both good buys, but for very different reasons, thus appealing to different groups of people).

  • MuhammadSheikOumar - 2012-10-18 12:17

    @ebon.geist Once again you are not factual in your argument. The citi Golf comparison is one that holds no value here since the citi is three decades old. It was an A-segment vehicle then and now the Golf has moved on to the C-segment. Between the Figo-Vivo and current A-segment class, that gap is less than 5 years. You have to understand that A-segment vehicles are built to a smaller budget. Since you are using safety as a yardstick, here is something to think about, the previous genereations of Fiesta and Polo achieved 4 star EURO NCAP safety ratings. Had the Picanto had more technological advancements than these two vehilces it would have bettered that score. However, it also achieved four stars. Also assuming the buying public are ignorant is ignorance on your part. While you and I may look at engineering intricacies and suggest that to be the deciding factor when purchasing a car, others may consider, space, features, economy and resale value as their main requirements. That said, all aspects considered in my opinion the Figo and Vivo provide the best options for entry level motoring. The technological gap between the Figo-Vivo and their A-segment rivals is of little if any significance since the five years between these two class of vehicles has not seen any major technological shift.

      ebon.geist - 2012-10-18 12:55

      "Once again you are not factual in your argument. " Ok, now your debating style is turning ugly. This debate has been clean and civil (and more importantly enjoyable), let's try keeping it that way. The citi-golf comparison is to illustrate how a series of seemingly small, incremental changes over time result in a huge difference, even if the individual changes aren't that noticable at the time. The fact that the Golf has changed segments is really irrelevant. Secondly, the gap between Figo-Vivo and *new* A-segment cars is closer to 10 years now. Thirdly, please refer to my previous post about EuroNCAP safety. EuroNCAP regularly updates their tests, making them more stringent. The tests done on the Fiesta in 2002 are not as "tough" as the tests performed on the Picanto in 2011. If the 2002 Fiesta were to undergo the 2011 tests, it would fare a lot worse. Take a look at the dummy illustrations to see how much better the Picanto performed. Fourthly, I never insulted the general buying public by calling them ignorant. Not because they aren't necessarily ignorant, but because use of that term is unnecessarily deragatory given that it is not reasonable to expect the public to be motoring experts. I also think you have missed my point by assuming I am trying to argue against the Vivo/Polo model, and as a result you are perceiving my argument as an attack on your values. Please reread what I wrote.

      ebon.geist - 2012-10-18 13:06

      To sum up my opinion on old generation vs new generation: It's a matter of personal preference. Given a limited budget, it is up to the individual buyer to decide what is more important. There is no "objective" right or wrong answer. Objectively, modern A-segments have a number of strengths over old gen B-segment cars and vice versa. Deciding which attributes are more important to you is an entirely subjective thing. My subjective opinion, or you subjective opinion of which one is better is irrelevant to the point. The relevant point is that people who end up buying a Brio would probably not have bought a Vivo or Figo anyway. And people who buy a Figo or Vivo are unlikely to be affected by the addition of the Brio to the market, for the same reason as they never chose to buy another A-segment car in the first place.

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