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Old 8th July 2012, 19:09   #1
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Default Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms


In December of 2011, I was thinking of replacing my Santro Xing which had close to 80,000 kms on the odo. The Santro was bought in February of 2005 and had served us well over the past seven years. However, in the recent past, periodic maintenance service costs at Hyundai were getting high and was one of the factors that prompted me to switch brand loyalties by selling the Santro. There is a separate thread regarding the exorbitant service costs of H.A.S.S so I shall refrain from elaborating about it here.

Come February 2012 and I gave the Santro for a routine periodic maintenance service at H.A.S.S and the bill was ~Rs. 7,000. The car was mainly used by my dad who had a driver and over the past seven years of its life had seen plenty of drivers and had taken a beating in some ways. My dad had taken a back seat from work over the past few years dedicating his time to philanthropic activities which meant the Santro was lying idle most of the time. My job switch recently also meant that my average running per month had come down from ~1,100 kms to ~500 kms.

Since the Santro was the older of the two cars we owned, I decided to sell it for a better, newer vehicle. The selection criteria was as follows:
  • It had to be a petrol engine (considering the minimal 500-600 kms of running a month)
  • Reliability and maintenance costs over the long run (we keep our cars for at-least 7-8 years before selling)
  • Good driving characteristics and refinement (I will be driving it most of the time)
  • Decent boot space and mileage (16-17 kmpl in the city)
  • Comfortable seating for four adults
  • Safety - ABS (Airbags if included were an added bonus)

The Lineup

Volkswagen Polo

I had heard good reviews about the Polo and people vouched for its Teutonic build quality. I went down to a dealer and asked for a test-drive of a 1.2 litre petrol Polo and took the car for a short drive loaded with five passengers.

  • Good build quality
  • Decent interior space for four average sized adults
  • Fairly decent feature list in the Comfortline variant
  • Large boot and decent fuel efficiency
  • Very comfortable ride (I deliberately took the car over a crater ridden road to see how it performs)
  • Ingress and egress a slight challenge
  • Clutch pedal placed a little too high for my liking
  • No ABS/Airbags on the Comfortline variant
  • 3 cylinder 75 PS petrol engine lacked refinement and pulling power up an incline with the a/c on
  • Cost of ownership over the long run still uncertain

Ford Figo

There was a lot of discussion at home about the Figo and if we have to change brand loyalties to Ford after Hyundai. I had only sat in the Figo when it was launched in 2010 and had read reviews on this forum but had never taken a drive. Called up a dealership and they sent a test-drive vehicle over to my office one afternoon.

  • Good build quality
  • Feature packed Titanium model with all the bells and whistles
  • Huge boot space
  • Brilliant a/c which chilled the front portion of the cabin in about 5 minutes
  • Better legroom in the rear bench when driver's seat adjusted to suit my height
  • The 71 ps engine was a major disappointment. There is a lack of power and torque
  • Below par fuel efficiency
  • Pedals set too close together similar to the Santro
  • Poor lumbar (lower back) support in the front seats
  • Sloping roof eats away rear headroom

Maruti Swift/Ritz

These two tried and tested cars from Maruti had been recently given a face-lift and had the new K Series engine plonked in. Being with the MUL family since 1993 meant that the brand for tried and tested. I currently own an Alto and that had performed reliably over the past four years. I had driven the Ritz petrol and was fairly happy with the engine. However, I decided to take a test-drive of the Swift just to get a feel for it.

  • Brand presence of MUL
  • Very refined and powerful engine
  • A well balanced chassis and good handling
  • Good fuel efficiency
  • Decent list of features in the Vxi
  • Similar to outgoing Swift albeit minor tweaks to exterior looks
  • Poor build and interior quality when compared to Polo, Figo
  • Poor brakes on the low and middle variants (Read a fair bit about the problem on this forum)
  • Lack of ABS, Airbags on the Vxi
  • Ingress and egress very tight at the rear

Toyota Etios Liva

I had read a fair bit about the Liva on this forum and the famed Toyota badge was an added advantage in terms of reliability. A friend of mine bought the Liva sometime last year and I was itching to get her to give me the car for a test-drive and share her feedback, but due to the lack of time and being unable to meet her, I decided to go to a dealership and get a test-drive.

  • Toyota reliability
  • Spacious interiors by far the best of all the cars test-driven
  • Safety features of ABS, Airbags on the middle variants
  • Decent feature list on the middle variant
  • Comfortable ride
  • Average performance from the 80 PS 1.2 litre engine
  • Below par interior quality with glaring cost-cutting that is obvious
  • Road noise filters into the cabin a fair bit
  • Unconventional placement of speedometer and tachometer in the centre of the dash is something I didn't prefer
  • Steering very fiddly and light at speeds above 60 kmph

The Surprising Shortlist!

Having test-driven all the cars in my budget, I was contemplating which one to go for. Surprisingly, the Honda Brio never figured in my list. At home, there was a big inclination to go for the Swift since the brand is tried and tested. A Hyundai i10, i20 was not considered since we didn't want to go through the experience of dealing with rising service costs at Hyundai service centers. I was planning a trip to Mandovi Motors, Lavelle Road, Bangalore to initiate final discussions for a petrol Swift and was considering the Zxi variant since it came with the safety features and better brakes when I met the friend who owned the Toyota Etios Liva and spoke to her at length. I got a fair assessment from her since she had been driving the Liva for over six months. She then suggested that if I were interested in a petrol hatch, I should consider the Honda Brio.

I have extensively driven a friend's Honda Civic with the auto transmission and was in awe of the sheer refinement delivered by the car but was also aware that the Honda badge commanded a slight premium. My tryst with Honda began way back when they introduced the now dubbed OHC old Honda City. I had driven the Honda City VTEC and back then such levels of refinement were unparalleled. There were not too many Brios on the road and the only source of info for me was this forum and a test-drive.

With that idea in mind, I stopped over at Whitefield Honda, Mahadevapura just after the KR Puram bridge on my way to work one fine sunny morning in early May and saw the blue Honda Brio SMT V parked inside as a display vehicle. I was impressed by its quirky looks and the overall design was very fresh. Ten minutes later, I met a rather arrogant Sales Manager who refused any sort of discount on the car despite my best efforts to persuade her. She was courteous enough to arrange a test drive for me on-the-spot in a SMT V variant parked outside.

  • Sheer refinement and drive characteristics of the 4 cylinder 88 PS iVTEC engine
  • Good build quality and interior fit and finish
  • Safety features ABS with EBD, dual Airbags (iSRS driver's airbag)
  • Decent fuel efficiency
  • Honda reliability
  • Low feature/equipment list
  • Cost cutting evident in some areas (integrated headrests, no CD player)
  • Small boot
  • Lack of space for a fifth adult to fit in comfortably over long drives
  • Skittish ride on uneven surfaces

Considering that the car will be ferrying four adults at the most, I decided to factor in the opinion of my folks at home and also decide based on the resale value I was getting for my old Santro. The attitude of the Sales Manager at Whitefield Honda ensured I needed to look for another dealership and so I turned my attention to Magnum Honda at Mekhri Circle.

The Dealer Experience

On May 12, 2012, I decided to take my mum, dad and sister to Magnum Honda to evaluate and give me their first hand feedback about the car. I arrived there with a prior appointment at 10:30 AM and was promptly greeted by a Sales Advisor who gave me a fair bit of inside info about the car (service intervals, replacement of parts, mileage) and arranged for a test-drive as well. My folks were very happy with the refinement of the engine and overall space inside the car. One sore point was the boot space of the car which is tiny when compared to my outgoing Santro. Although the car appears small from the outside, the way Honda has put their "Man Maximum Machine Minimum" philosophy to work is truly amazing. The car exuded a big car feel with sufficient space for four adults to be seated comfortably, the a/c cooled well and the engine was marvelous.

My mind was made up and my folks agreed that this would be our next car and with that I proceeded to engage with Mr. Dharnendra, the Sales Consultant and Mr. Mahaveer Jain, the Auto Terrace Manager in-charge of the exchange of my old Santro. After a quick inspection, he gave me a price of Rs. 1,55,000 for my Feb 2005 Santro which had done 80,500 kms. With attitude typical of a salesman, Mr. Mahaveer spoke about all things possible to try and get me to finalize on this prize. At one point the conversation even went into the economy forecast for the upcoming year. I stood strong on my point that since the car was maintained in a very good condition it commanded a better price and after negotiating hard he bumped up the price to Rs. 1,62,000. There was an additional corporate discount of Rs. 5,000 thrown in by Mr. Dharnendra. I selected the Taffeta White SMT(O) variant which comes with ABS with EBD and dual Airbags as standard. I didn't opt for Honda Finance and so told him that I will arrange for it on my own.

The OTR for the new car was ~Rs. 6,17,000 including the insurance, extended roadside assistance and warranty and a basic accessories package of a body cover and tubeless puncture repair kit. The final price of ~4,50,000 was mentioned after taking into consideration the exchange value of the Santro and the corporate discount. I was not happy with the performance of the MRF ZVTS tyres on my Alto and wanted my Honda Brio to be shod with Michelin tubeless tyres and Mr. Mahaveer assured me that he will make sure I get the car with Michelin tyres.

I walked in again on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 to hand over some bank documents and this time I was greeted within seconds by another Sales Consultant Mr. Prashanth who was courteous enough to step-in for Mr. Dharnendra and handle my queries pertaining to the new car. Some corrections on the invoice meant that I had to visit the showroom again on Wednesday and this time I was greeted by yet another Sales Consultant Mr. Gopal who stepped-in for Mr. Dharnendra who was unwell and I didn't have to waste time or face other hassles with regards to the sales process. Full marks to Magnum Honda here for the service they provided thus far.

On Friday, May 18, 2012 I drove all the way to Kanakapura Road stockyard of Magnum Honda to do a pre-delivery check of the vehicle. I enlisted the help of fellow Bhpian Nikhilb2008 who came from his office close-by to help me with the inspection. Nikhil introduced me to Mr. Srinivas one of the Sales Consultants at Magnum Honda, Kanakapura Road who also mentioned that he is aware of Team-Bhp and knew a few members as well. We met at 10:30 AM in the lounge of the showroom and were then led out by Mr. Mahaveer to the car. As the car was just taken out from the stock-yard it was just given a water wash and kept ready for inspection. Nikhil and I gave the car a good inspection, keeping a hawk's eye out for any defects in the white paintwork. Nikhil and I made specific mention of dirty areas on the car which needed to be cleaned and Mr. Mahaveer gave us the assurance that he will take care of it. After spending an hour in the blazing sun, I left in eager anticipation that the car will be delivered the next day.

However, I was disappointed when Mr. Mahaveer told me that my car can only be delivered with Goodyear tyres and not Michelin. I had used Goodyear as the OEM tyre on one of my previous cars and was not satisfied with the performance so I consulted with Nikhil who gave me a good deal on the stock Goodyear DP Series OEM 175/65 R14 tyres the Brio had in exchange for five new Yokohama A-Drives in the same OEM spec of 175/65 R14.

I know this is a long overdue but nonetheless, thank you, Nikhilb2008 for all your effort and time spent with me during the pre-delivery inspection and for the deal on the tyre exchange.

Mr. Mahaveer was insistent that I handover the Santro on the very same day itself and wanted me to leave it at the Kanakapura Road showroom, but I told him that I will leave the car at the Mekhri Circle showroom instead since that was closer to home. I drove the Santro to Magnum Honda, Mekhri Circle and handed over the key and car cover to Mr. Dharnendra and then headed home.

Delivery Experience/Shenanigans!

On the morning of Saturday, May 19, 2012, I spoke to Mr. Dharnendra regarding the fitment of fabric seat covers for the car but since the car had already left their Kanakapura Road showroom, he said I can get it fitted at the first service. I then made it specifically clear to him that I will be arriving before 5:30 PM to take delivery with my folks. I left home at 4:30 PM and was headed to the showroom for delivery when I called Nikhil and requested him if I could take my car over to Madhus, Langford Road the next day (Sunday) instead of the delivery day since the delivery will be late in the evening and I will have to drive across town to get there. Nikhil was very accommodating and said I could even bring the car in on the Monday so long as I kept the odometer to less than 100 kms. I assured him I would do that and was just about to hangup when he told me to go and take delivery of the car when it was still bright so I could spot any final flaws before delivery and even narrated a story about how he had a bad experience with the delivery of a Maruti Zen many years ago as he found out that one of the doors of the car had been repainted and that there was a slight color mismatch that was noticed many days after delivery of the car. I told him I will be there by 5:15 PM and that since it was a west facing delivery area of the showroom, I will be left with plenty of bright daylight to check the car.

I arrive at 5:20 PM and was told that my Sales Consultant Mr. Dharnendra was busy on a sales meeting outside and will be in the showroom in 15 minutes. I was then led to the customer lounge and was made to sign the delivery papers and another Sales Consultant took me through a basic explanation of the features, handed over the basic accessories and then made me sign an acknowledgement form called the New Car Delivery Checklist stating that the car was delivered in a clean form free of dents, dirt or scratches. I however was feeling very uneasy at this point and told him I will sign it after I see the car. It was past 5:35 PM and my folks arrived at the dealership with a box of sweets for the entire staff, security. I had personally bought two Parker roller ball pens for Mr. Dharnendra and Mr. Mahaveer but Mr. Dharnendra was nowhere to be found.

I was then taken to the delivery bay on the ground floor and the new Sales Consultant who attended to me drove the car out to park it inside the glass delivery bay where they would do the customary photo session and handing over of the keys. As he was reversing back in, I suddenly spotted dirt on the cars LHS fender. I told him to stop the car right there and exit and upon close inspection, I was horrified to see that the car was delivery in the exact same dirty condition that Nikhil and I had seen it a day earlier. I was enraged even further when the new Sales Consultant tells me that this is the condition that car are delivered to which I retorted saying that we have taken deliveries of cars since 1993 from Maruti and also Hyundai and that he can keep his wisdom to himself. My dad then arrived at the car was equally disappointed on seeing the dirty condition of the vehicle.

It was past 6:00 PM and the Sales Consultant Mr. Dharnendra was nowhere in sight and everyone at the delivery bay went into a tizzy running around like headless chickens trying to sort out the problem. I then met the Delivery Team in-charge Mr. Santhosh who initially said that he had no idea that my vehicle was being delivered on the day and called Mr. Mahaveer on his mobile explaining to him the situation. He then handed the phone to me and asked me to talk to him, I proceeded to talk to Mr. Mahaveer in a very assertive manner asking him why the car was not washed, instead of trying to fix the situation, Mr. Mahaveer was assuring me that he'll give me a free Teflon coat with a wash as well. I asked him about a black spot on the LHS C pillar of the car which Nihkil pointed out to him and he had no explanation as to why that spot was still present a day later and why the car was not washed. After a 10 min chat with him, Mr. Dharnendra appears from nowhere asking me why I had pointed out the problems to Mr. Mahaveer who was only a Manager of Auto Terrace (Honda's Used Cars Division) and said that I should have pointed it out to him instead. I said since I was liaising with him for the exchange of the Santro, I thought it was best I talk to him about it. He then told me that it was Mr. Mahaveer who drove my unregistered car from Magnum Honda, Kanakapura Road to the Mekhri Circle showroom and that he was unauthorized to do so since that task is entrusted to specific delivery drivers who bring the car and then report it to the delivery in-charge Mr. Santhosh at the Magnum Honda showroom in Mekhri Circle. Since this didn't happen, he also had no idea that the car was being delivered.

Notice the grease and dust on the B-pillar

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012051900129.jpg

The front LHS passenger door cladding has black scuff marks

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012051900130.jpg

The front LHS fender had full hard water marks which are note entirely visible in this pic

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012051900131.jpg

The area near the horn had mud sitting there and was the same as when Nikhil and I inspected the car the previous day

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012051900132.jpg

The drivers side door inner cladding had the same black scuff marks as was present on the passenger side

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012051900133.jpg

More scuff marks on the driver's door

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012051900134.jpg

The same dust and grease on the RHS B pillar

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012051900135.jpg

I was appalled that he was so unscrupulous and careless in not seeing that the car was washed and was further enraged with Mr. Dharnendra's passing-the-buck attitude. I told them that I am not accepting delivery of a +6 lacs car in such a filthy condition. Finally Mr. Santhosh (delivery in-charge) intervened and assured me that he will take personal responsibility and ensure that my car is washed and waxed and handed over on Monday, however, since I was furious at the callous attitude of their dealership, I told them I will head to the Kanakapura dealership myself and get it done on Monday.

It was past 7:15 after all the shenanigans subsided and I finally drove the car out from the showroom after paying Rs. 200 to both the security personnel who were cleaning my car with a wet towel while the entire showdown ensued. Took my folks out for a dinner and then headed home.

On Monday, May 21, 2012, I took a day off from work and first headed to Madhus to get the OEM Goodyear DP Series 175/65 R14 tyres exchanged to Yokohama A-Drives 175/65 R14 tyres. Thank you again Nikhilb2008 for helping me with this. I then drove to Kanakapura Road and had an assertive chat with Mr. Mahaveer on why he goofed up in the delivery of my car. After a few direct questions which made me queasy in the stomach, he took the keys from me and handed it to some staff to get the car up to shape. Since I was there, I opted for a set of beige fabric seat covers to be fitted over the original seats as well. I met Mr. Srinivas (whom Nikhil had introduced me to the previous Friday) and he apologized for the entire experience I had been through. I really appreciate his gesture of taking ownership in getting my car cleaned and polished and thanked him before I drove out from there.

The car in the polishing bay at Magnum Honda, Kanakapura Road

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052100140.jpg

A click when I had stopped for lunch somewhere in JP Nagar

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052100144.jpg


Some questions still remain unanswered

1. Why the callous attitude from Magnum Honda?
2. Why was Mr. Mahaveer (Auto Terrace Manager) allowed/authorized to drive an unregistered vehicle?
3. Why was the Sales Consultant Mr. Dharnendra not present at the time of delivery?

Barring the last episode at the time of delivery of my car with Magnum Honda, I am happy with the overall sales process. The car was delivered in quick time (took a week from my initial meeting on May 12 to delivery on May 19) and all their staff I have interacted with at the showroom were very cooperative and going out of their way to ensure my queries were addressed.

I got the feedback link from HSCI to share feedback on the sales process a few weeks after I took delivery. Due to a lack of time I logged in and filled in detailed feedback on July 2. The next day I got a call from Mr. Gurumurthy from Magnum Honda who spoke to me at length and apologized for the shoddy delivery experience at the time of delivery. Subsequently, I got another email link a few days later asking me to fill in the feedback again. I suppose Magnum Honda didn't submit my original feedback to HSCI since I had rated the delivery process very poor. I don't intend to change the scores even if I submit feedback the second time.

Last but not the least, a final word of thanks to this wonderful forum which helped me immensely in finalizing my choice.

Review - Honda Brio SMT (O)

A lot has been discussed about the Brio on the Test Drives thread on this forum and so I will limit myself to sharing my personal insights on the Brio. The car has now been driven for 1,500 kms entirely in the city. The talking point of this car is the brilliant i-VTEC 88 PS engine from Honda. After driving the Alto and having driven the Santro for almost eight years, the i-VETC engine seems light years ahead. Engine response is brilliant, the gearbox is smooth and pedal are placed perfectly. Performance is great and the car doesn't feel under-powered with the a/c on.

Push the car to over 3000 rpm and the engine growl is music to an enthusiast's ears and will leave you grinning as you feel the surge of the car's acceleration. I must confess that it is very tough to drive this car sedately. I have once pushed it to 110 kmph on an open stretch just to get a feel of it and it is addictive. The handling is brilliant and the chassis seems designed to handle a lot more power. The suspension does a good job and the car doesn't wallow or bottom out even with five people on board. A few other points below.

The good bits
  • The i-VTEC engine is super-refined and it is hard to tell whether the car is running or not when the engine is at idle
  • The gearbox is smooth but is also slightly notchy at times. I have noticed a vast improvement in gearshift quality from the time it was new to now at 1,500 kms on the odo
  • The interior is well-built and quality of materials, the plastics, switches and knobs is top-notch
  • The driving position is spot-on and the tilt adjustable steering ensures you find a very comfortable driving position easily
  • The steering is light but firms up nicely at higher speeds and given the brilliant handling dynamics, the Brio is surely a fun-to-drive car
  • In terms of outright driveability, the car simply shines. Handling is brilliant, the power delivery is linear and it pulls cleanly in almost any gear from as low as 1500-1600 rpm
  • The a/c cools well and after starting in blower speed 4, I usually bring it down to 2 after about 10-15 mins
  • Space utilization inside is just brilliant and belies the Brio's small exterior size. Seating for four is very comfortable and the fifth passenger would feel a strain only on very long drives
  • Good in-cabin acoustics - the cabin is quiet at cruising speeds
  • The sound quality from the factory-fitted music system (with steering mounted audio controls, iPod, USB connectivity) is very good and I don't feel the need to upgrade to better speakers/system
  • The design is fresh, build quality is good-tough enough to survive Indian conditions and the paint finish is brilliant
  • The ride comfort is good since I switched to Yokohama A-Drives and is not as skittish as the test-drive car
  • The ECO indicator in the instrument cluster is a nice touch to tell you that the engine is operating in the economical range
  • The ABS with EBD and dual Airbags make it a very safe car
  • The glow from the instrument cluster and theater-style dimming interior lights exude a nice feel
  • Long-life of parts/consumables such as coolant, spark plugs, transmission fluid, brake fluid and clutch fluid

The bad bits
  • The engine lacks low-end torque a bit, but it is not something that effects overall driveability
  • The boot is very tiny when compared to other cars and can't take in much luggage
  • The chassis seems like it is designed to handle a lot more power than the 88 PS delivered by the current engine
  • Annoying rattle from the dashboard around the instrument cluster. I stuffed some high density sponge underneath the dash to reduce this a fair bit but couldn't eliminate it completely
  • Lack of climate-control, rear wash-wipe and defogger
  • The steering wheel (although small and well designed) is not leather clad and I feel the lack of grip
  • I have a large collection of CDs and can't play them directly in the car since there is no CD player
  • The lack of a temperature gauge is disconcerting to me since all the car till-date have had it
  • My car has a SF Sonic as the OEM battery and I would have preferred a Exide/Amaron. I will have to wait-and-watch to see how long this battery lasts with normal periodic maintenance
  • No backlit controls for the power windows, ORVM adjuster switches
  • The i-VTEC engine begs to be revved which in turn lowers overall fuel efficiency
  • No deal-pedal for the left foot. There is ample space to rest your foot on long drives though
  • The single horn is loud but gets squeaky and sounds odd at times. There is also a slight vibration/resonance in accelerator pedal when the horn is sounded

Initial DIYs

I changed the OEM Halonix headlamp bulbs to Philips Xtreme Vision in the same 55/60W rating since I had used the same on my Alto and Santro and was happy with the light output which is brighter than the OEM bulbs. The small parking light bulb was also changed to Philips Blue Vision bulbs which give a nice look when turned on.

I ordered the OEM spec paint from the Aeroaids Corporation online website sometime in the end of May and last weekend I completed the painting of the rear mud-flaps which now give a much more seamless look to the rear of the car. The mud-flaps took on three coats of paint and two layers of clear-coat and the overall finish was good. Sorry, I didn't click pics and will do so when I paint the front mud-flaps this weekend.

Fuel Efficiency Statistics

There has been a fair bit of debate surrounding this topic on the Brio test drive thread and so I was keen to see how the car fared when it came to fuel efficiency. The car has covered 1,500 kms thus far and has been driven in the 'running-in mode' with constant varying of rpm (~2500 rpm till 1000 kms on the odo and ~3100 rpm after that). Here are the initial FE figures on my Brio after 1,500 kms of city driving with minimal use of the a/c.
  • Trip: 369 kms, fuel consumed: 30.27 lts, FE: 12.19 kmpl
  • Trip: 408 kms, fuel consumed: 31.76 lts, FE: 12.84 kmpl
  • Trip: 420 kms, fuel consumed: 31.61 lts, FE: 13.28 kmpl
  • Trip: 178 kms, fuel consumed: 12.69 lts, FE: 14.02 kmpl

I can only expect the overall FE to raise once I settle into a steady driving routine after the running-in period is over. I am a sedate driver and my target is to achieve or see if I can even exceed the claimed FE figure of 18.4 kmpl for the Brio which I think will happen after the engine oil change at the 5,000 kms/6 month mark.

A few pics that I clicked with my BB camera, so apologies if not all photos are of great quality.

The face. I would have preferred less chrome on the grille

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400335.jpg

The front from a distance

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400355.jpg

The rear three-quarters from a distance

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400356.jpg

The badging says it all

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400341.jpg

Notice the sticker inside of the bonnet

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400347.jpg

The engine bay

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400343.jpg

The interiors

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400342.jpg

The Yokohama A-Drives

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400352.jpg

Last edited by gpa : 14th July 2012 at 16:12. Reason: Pics added
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Old 11th July 2012, 18:50   #2
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Default Re: Ownership Review - Honda Brio SMT (O)

Visit to 3M Car Care

I visited the 3M Car Care outlet in RMV 2nd Stage (Off New BEL Road) for an under-body treatment on May 25, 2012. I had heard a lot about their service on this forum and so decided to take my Brio there. I had spoken to Mr. Amit the previous day and got an appointment for 10:30 AM and I arrived there with time to spare.

I was greeted by Mr. Santhosh who took me to the demo room upstairs and showed me a quick multimedia presentation and some videos on the services and products they offered. I then opted for the 3M under-body coating with a five year warranty since it offered the best protection and also had sound deadening properties. I also opted to go for the 3M car protection film for the ORVM, the area surrounding the door handles and for the corners of all four doors.

The car was driven into the wash bay where the under-body was washed thoroughly and then the car was raised on a ramp where the under-body was blown with pressurized air and wiped dry with towels. The guys then covered all the areas not being treated such as silencer, wheels, muffler with paper and plastic before they sprayed the coating on.

The entire spray process took about one hour and then Santhosh inspected the final outcome and so did I. Some spots that were untouched were then sprayed over. Here are some pics of the process.

The wheel arches before the coating. Notice that there is an OEM coating given by Honda from the factory - The light grey covers over the white metal of the wheel arches

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052500147.jpg

The wiping and inspection before the coating is sprayed

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052500148.jpg

The right side of the under-body before the coating

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052500149.jpg

The right side of the under-body after the coating

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052500155.jpg

The left side of the under-body before the coating

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052500153.jpg

The left side of the under-body after the coating

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052500156.jpg

They used three cans for the entire process

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052500151.jpg

The car was then lowered and the 3M protective film was applied to the ORVMs, door edges and door handle areas.

The 3M protective film being applied to the RHS ORVM

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012052500157.jpg

The total was Rs 6,102 (3,195 for the under-body coating and Rs 2,512 for the 3M protective film). I also got a Rs 500 discount voucher that can be used for any service availed on weekdays (Mon-Thu) and I left the outlet at 1:30 PM very satisfied. It has now been just over a month and a half and the 3M protective film is beginning to peel off on the inner sides of the LHS doors. I need to call Amit or Santhosh to get this fixed.

Last edited by gpa : 13th July 2012 at 13:53. Reason: Added photos
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Old 11th July 2012, 20:05   #3
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First Free Service - Magnum Honda Nightmares continue!

The car crossed the 1000 kms mark on June 21 and so I decided to give it for the first free service at Magnum Honda, Yeshwantpur. Called them and got an appointment and was asked to bring the car in at 10:00 AM the next day.

Now the first free service is just a basic inspection since nothing is changed and so I expected to get the car back in a few hours. I reached the H.A.S.S at 9:55 AM and was directed to the customer lounge to wait for a SA. Since I was new to the H.A.S.S, I was looking around comparing the experience to the M.A.S.S I have frequented over the many years.

I waited for a full 25 minutes and then had to go to the reception desk again to ask for a SA to look at my car. It was then that the lady in the reception told me to to wait and that I will be met by the SA soon. After 5 minutes a SA by name Mr. Gourish arrives and walks with me to the car. No customary handshake, exchange of pleasantries like all the SAs at M.A.S.S do.

He then asks me if the car has any problems, I point out to the slight rattle/resonating sound from the dashboard above the instrument cluster, he note that down, takes inventory, scans the car for scratches, nick and dents and then tells me my car will be delivered at 6:30 PM.

I was flabbergasted to hear it would take so long since there is no work done on the car and the service is for a routine inspection at the most. he then says, they have to check all components and some blah, blah, blah which is why it will take time. I was not convinced with his answer but said ok. He exuded a casual attitude and was joking around when taking inventory which was not to my liking. I had an uneasy feeling but I just left the car there and headed to work.

In the evening, I made it a point to leave early and reached the H.A.S.S at 6:05 PM. Again, I waited for 15 minutes in the customer lounge for Mr. Gourish who was busy with other customers. Finally he comes up and then takes me to sign the routine forms that state that the vehicle was delivered clean and damage free. He then passes on the final invoice and says the amount I need to pay is Rs. 3,000! I looked at him puzzled and asked him why and then he jokes that its Rs. 0 and that he was just kidding. This was the second time he was fooling around and I passed it off.

He then goes to bring my car out from inside the service area and says I have to wait outside since customers aren't allowed inside. I oblige and was waiting outside for the car, checking my phone. I got a call and walked away for a few minutes to the front thinking that he will bring the car out but the car was nowhere to be seen. I walked back and saw Mr. Gourish and another mechanic looking down at the front LHS of the car and making exaggerated movements. That's when I sensed something was wrong and walked into the service area and to my utter horror, he had scratched the front LHS bumper.

I was furious and asked him what the hell he was doing and why he made me sign the form that said I had taken delivery of the vehicle free of scratches and he had no answer. He said it was a minor scratch and tried to play it down but I knew the paint had peeled off since he had scratched the bumper when trying to reverse the car that was parked near a car ramp used to lift vehicles.

Sensing my growing rage he reversed it out and took it to the polishing bay and scurried to find a few cleaning boys who appeared with a bottle of 3M rubbing compound and proceeded to clean the damaged area. The damage was done and the paint had peeled off on the bottom corner and at one point in the middle of the bumper.

Realizing the damage was bad, I rushed back into the service area and was looking for the Works Manager/Service Manager of the place. Noticing my walking around, I was approached by Mr. Thomas who introduced himself at the Service Manager of the H.A.S.S. I proceeded to tell him what had happened and he walked with me to my car. Most of the paint that was rubbed on from the car ramp onto the bumper had been removed by the rubbing compound and Mr. Thomas said that this might have been my own damage since he couldn't see any paint of another color that would have been rubbed on if the damage had occurred during service. He also said that there is a policy that if any SA/Mechanic damages a customer's car, they have to bring it to his notice at one and leave the vehicle at the place where it was damaged.

He then proceeded to ask Mr. Gourish the SA if he had damaged the vehicle and he and another mechanic both confessed that it happened. on hearing that Mr. Thomas took full ownership and apologized fully and touched up the damage with a paint-brush and some paint from the paint booth. However on seeing that the damage still stood out fairly badly, he apologized again and promised to repaint the area free.

To remove any skepticism I might have about the quality of his work, he took me on a guided tour of the paint booth, showed me a bumper that was freshly repainted and also showed me two cars where he had done fairly large touch-up jobs. The quality of the work was simply outstanding and he assured me of the same level of work on my car. I was extremely pleased with his response and narrated to him my experience during delivery of the car as well. He then shared some personal stories and assured me that the work on my car will be done well and asked me to bring my vehicle on July 3 and that he will deal with the errant SA tomorrow.

I again went to H.A.S.S on July 3 and left the car in the hands of the same SA Mr. Gourish, I made a stern warning that he better treat the car with respect this time and not fool around. I met Mr. Thomas and was promised delivery the same evening. However, since it was raining fairly heavily in that part of town the same evening, Mr. Thomas called me and said it would be best I pick up the car the next afternoon.

I went there the next day in the evening and was very surprised at the final finish of the paint. Mr. Thomas handled my case personally and made me inspect the car and the finish thoroughly to ensure the work was up to my satisfaction. I thanked him for his genuineness, his taking ownership of my problem and the brilliant finish of the paint work and left. Overall, I am very happy with the outcome. Here are some pics of the damage and the end finish of the paintwork.

The initial damage before the 3M rubbing compound was applied.

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012062200290.jpg

The final finish - a close up. Only the small damaged section was repainted and the bumper stayed on the car. Notice that the finish is seamless.

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400350.jpg

The final finish from a distance

Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms-img2012070400336.jpg

Overall Service Experience

I can't rate this service mechanically since there was no work done on the car apart from a routine check. I will be going back again to this H.A.S.S for the other routine services for sure since it is very close to home and now I am assured of good work being done on the car since I have built a good rapport with the Service Manager.

However, in terms of an overall customer experience, I would rate the H.A.S.S a dismal 3/10 for the following reasons.
  • There was no enthusiasm displayed by the Service Advisor/no exchange of pleasantries
  • I had to wait for 25 mins the first time I was there and 15 mins on my second visit before I was attended to by the SA.
  • The customer lounge has no Wi-Fi and the a/c wasn't working
  • No coffee/tea/water facilities for customers

I don't mean to nitpick but then this was in stark contrast to my regular Maruti Service Center I have been accustomed to over the past years. Mr. Thomas, the Service Manager did make a mention that he doesn't take on more cars than he can service and so I am hoping that barring this one incident where my car was damaged, future services will be top-notch. Only time will tell.

Last edited by gpa : 12th July 2012 at 16:22.
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Old 14th July 2012, 14:56   #4
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Default re: Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 14th July 2012, 15:33   #5
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Default re: Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms

Congratulations on the Brio!

THanks for the very well written review. Given your requirements the Brio is an excellent choice. Your love for the car is obvious, I'm sure it'll love you back!

Surprising to read about your frustrating experiences with the dealership and the service centre. From what I have read, Honda is generally good in this department.
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Old 14th July 2012, 16:32   #6
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Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
From what I have read, Honda is generally good in this department.
Thanks, Santhoshbhat. Like I said, I hope that things will improve when I visit the H.A.S.S for my second free service. I have built a very good rapport with the Service Manager who was a true gentleman and was true to his word of delivering my car with a flawless finish.
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Old 14th July 2012, 16:55   #7
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Default re: Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms

Congratulations for your new possesion. And a very well written review as well as ownership experience. Its sad that the honda guys treated you that way. This is one of the reason I am not able to collect the courage to buy a car outside the maruti stable.
Anyways, enjoy the beauty.
Take care and Drive Safe.
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Old 14th July 2012, 18:29   #8
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Default re: Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms

Firstly ofcourse many congratulations on the purchase.

I too am a bit surprised at hearing about the honda sales attitude , my experience with them in Delhi has been excellent - i wish my Skoda guys had half the product knowledge and courtesy !

Glad to hear that all the problems were sorted out at the H.A.S.S !
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Old 15th July 2012, 12:11   #9
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Default re: Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms

Hi, welcome to the Honda club. You had an eye to the details. Can you say the same about your Hyundai experience? Honda is Honda and this is some thing you learn from experience. If you went to Hyundai A.S.S. with the same problems, how would you be acknowledged? Please detail about that before you go on to say about the Honda experience> In all good sense I ask.
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Old 15th July 2012, 18:07   #10
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Default re: Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms

Originally Posted by KL01BE View Post
Can you say the same about your Hyundai experience?
In terms of the dealer experience at the time of delivery of the car, the Hyundai experience was top-notch. The car was shining and squeaky clean at the time of delivery.

Originally Posted by KL01BE View Post
If you went to Hyundai A.S.S. with the same problems, how would you be acknowledged?
I did approach Trident Hyundai, Yeshwantpur in Feb this year for some minor tinkering jobs and their finish was very good as well. In terms of acknowledging a customer's presence, H.A.S.S were far ahead of what I experienced at H.A.S.S. One of the reasons I switched brand loyalties was because of the increasing costs of Periodic Maintenance Services at H.A.S.S
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Old 15th July 2012, 18:09   #11
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Default re: Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms

Congratulations on you brio gpa. It made perfect sense given your low monthly running. Sorry to hear about your bad experience as HASS. Hope this is just a one off issue.

The upgrade to Yoko is a must if you need to extract better grips and better handling from the car. The OEM MRF / Good Year aren't anywhere near Yokos. If you don't mind, can you share the exchange price you paid for the same.

Hope the brio keeps loving you for many many years.
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Old 15th July 2012, 18:14   #12
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Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
Congratulations on you brio gpa. It made perfect sense given your low monthly running. Sorry to hear about your bad experience as HASS. Hope this is just a one off issue.
Thanks, arup.misra. I am hoping this was a one-off experience as well.

Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
The upgrade to Yoko is a must if you need to extract better grips and better handling from the car. The OEM MRF / Good Year aren't anywhere near Yokos. If you don't mind, can you share the exchange price you paid for the same.
Yes, I am very satisfied after upgrading the tyres to Yokos, the ride has also improved vastly over what I initially experienced with the test-drive car. If you are interested in further details about the tyre exchange, I can send you a PM. Do let me know

Last edited by gpa : 15th July 2012 at 18:15.
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Old 15th July 2012, 19:51   #13
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Default re: Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms

Congrats gpa. Was looking out for your review on the Brio since the time you mentioned it on the Alto thread.
Dealership experience not the greatest in Mumbai either, from what I hear from close folks. Apparently, the keenness and customer centricity stops right after one has entered into a contract (booking).
Great review, btw. Particularly liked your comparision (positives and negatives) with other cars in the same segment. Thanks.

Keen to know the Yoko pricing, too.
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Old 15th July 2012, 22:50   #14
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Originally Posted by CowlFlap View Post
Keen to know the Yoko pricing, too.
Thanks, for the wishes CowlFlap.

I guess Honda dealers have to learn a thing or two from Maruti & Hyundai in terms of customer centricity. Having been associated with Maruti since 1993 and Hyundai from 2005-2012, there was a noticeable difference when it came to Honda (arrogant Sales Manager at the first dealership, lack of customer centricity on the day of delivery at the second dealership). However, I am an optimist and hope that things will change in the future.

I will PM you the details of the Yokohama tyres.

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Old 16th July 2012, 15:06   #15
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Default re: Honda Brio SMT (O) - Ownership Review, 3 years and 18,000 kms

Congratulations on your Brio, from one Proud owner to another. PM me the Yoko pricing too.. You got a damn decent deal from 3m for the under body coating and protective films. I was charged 5k by HASS for the underbody coating only.

Regarding the dealership, I believe it may be a one off case, as HASS generally treats their customers mighty well. Still a call to Honda one-on-one can put some pressure on 'em.

Last edited by adityasiera : 16th July 2012 at 15:08.
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