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Old 19th July 2014, 22:20   #1
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Default My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio

Honda Brio Ownership Review


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The year 2013 will always be memorable for me. My Brother's wedding was on the cards and my Father decided it was time to go car shopping. In January 2013 we brought a Skoda Fabia as our second car the first one being a 2005 Honda city zx. In March 2013 the old city was replaced by a brand new Honda city V exclusive edition. Fast forward to December 2013 and the hunt was on for another small car.

We had a budget of 6.5 lakhs. Dad's priorities were simple. It should be small, easy to park, easy to maneuver, fuel efficient, reliable, cheap to service. My priorities were even simpler. It should be fast, fun to drive and look good.

I have to confess that when my Dad was planning on buying the practical city car, what he had in mind actually was an alto. No way was I going to agree to that. It took a bit of persuasion to make him finally agree on the brio. Besides after a while he himself realized that buying an alto halfheartedly without caring for it will be regrettable in the future.

So it was basically two birds with a single stone.

The monthly running of our household is just 1500km. So there was absolutely no need for considering a diesel.

The Chosen One

Zeroed in on the brio.(Reasons are explained in detail at the end)

Now the decision has to be made on which variant to go for.

The confusion was whether to go for the exclusive edition "s" variant with full black interiors and other extra goodies or to go for the top end "V" variant with ABS and airbags.

After much thinking we decided to go for the exclusive edition "S" variant. Yup! You read that right. We chose the car with sporty black interiors over the one with ABS and airbags. Not the most sensible decision in the world I must admit.
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Old 19th July 2014, 22:24   #2
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Default Re: My Rallye red Go-Kart- The Honda Brio Initial ownership review

Buying Experience.

Two words! Catastrophically bad.

What a way to ruin a guy's evening! Not what I had expected from a Honda dealership. I will admit it’s nothing too serious but bad nevertheless.

We booked the car from Peninsular Honda, Vytilla.

On the road price for the car was Rs 5,70,000/-

Didn't have any trouble with the financing as the car was brought outright in ready cash.

But everything went downhill from there when it was time for the delivery.

We were told to arrive in the evening. They said the car will be ready for delivery around 5.30 pm.

We went there at 5.00 pm. Sat in the lounge and thus the wait began.

5.30 became 6.00. We inquired about our car at the reception. The lady told us we will be acquainted soon.

Another half an hour flew by. In between we had constant apologies and re-assurances from the staff.

It turned out that the Sales guy who was appointed to us and with whom we had done the whole booking process had gone off to Goa for a vacation without handing his job over to somebody else.

6.30 became 7.00 and finally a chap showed up with the documents to be signed by the owner. He apologized for the mishap and said it won't happen again.

He took us to our car which was being readied for delivery. Then something odd caught our eye!

A thin plastic film over the passenger side front door pillars which I suppose has to be removed was sticking out. I asked the guy polishing our car to remove it.

He tried to peel it off but it simply didn't come off all at once in the first go. Now this guy was on the door pillar scratching away at the plastic film like a carpenter or something!

I and my brother gave a stone cold glare at the Sales guy. We didn't say anything. But he got the message. He practically begged and said they will fix it the first thing tomorrow morning if I could bring the car to them. A feedback form was given to us and the guy was basically begging us to put a satisfactory mark apologizing for the mishap.
We gave an 8/10. Still don't know why we gave that much!

The time was now 7.30pm! Never have I wasted two hours of my life this pointlessly!

But the fun didn't stop there. On the way to the tire shop for a new set of rubber my brother who was driving the car just happen to brush past something with his knee on the panel under the steering wheel. Something fell down to the floor. When we picked it up we were in for a bad shock. It was the fog light switch for the fog lights they fitted!

In the chaos of the evening we completely forgot about that! We saw the fog lights fitted to the car alright. But we thought it would be fitted properly by replacing the stock indicator stalks with the new ones having a provision for one like in the City. But it turns out all they ever did was drill a hole in the dashboard and fix a button to it. Truly appalling and since it was already dark when we finally got the car we simply didn't notice it.


My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-fog-switch.jpg

It was already very late by then. Around 9.00pm at the least. Got the number of the sales manager from the booklet. Called him up and gave him the account of all the happenings. I said I was disappointed and the delivery experience from his dealership was very poor and frustrating. He immediately apologized and said he will sort out the issues tomorrow morning itself if I could get the car to them.

A call came at 8.00 in the morning from peninsular Honda apologizing for yesterday's mishap and they said they will fix everything up the instant we get there. This time they delivered.

But it didn't do enough to change my impression of them. They are still a bit too sloppy for a Honda dealership. One expects much more. Well at least they are not arrogant imbeciles like the ones at Marikar Skoda.

Last edited by nakul0888 : 20th July 2014 at 08:03.
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Old 19th July 2014, 22:41   #3
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Default Re: My Rallye red Go-Kart- The Honda Brio Initial ownership review

Now something about the little devil himself!

As said before the car we bought is an exclusive edition "S" variant.

Over the normal "S" this one's got

-Exclusive Badges
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-exclusive-badge.jpg
-Full black interiors.
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-full-interior.jpg
-Rear spoiler
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-spoiler.jpg
-A chrome tipped muffler
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-muffler.jpg
-Illuminated door sills
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-door-sills.jpg

-Rear defogger

-Parking sensors (Absolutely a non-necessity for the car)
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-parking-sensors.jpg


And with the cash saved by not opting for the "v" variant we got ourselves these-

-OEM Fog lights and of course a hole in the dashboard with a switch stuck on it! - Rs.9000/-

Lets look at that craftsmanship again shall we?

My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-fog-switch.jpg

-195/55/R16 Bridgestone B250 (4 wheels) - Rs.23000/-
-16 inch silver alloy wheels- Rs.26000/-
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-alloys.jpg

Special mention must be given to "Speed tires" the shop from which we purchased the wheels. The staff was really courteous and helpful. Prices were a bit too high but they have got some real nice selections. Also they helped me fix my bent alloys on my Fabia.
They are located on NH-47 by pass road near thykoodam bridge, Vytilla. By far the best experience I had at a Tyre shop.

Here's a pic of the Brio after getting it's new boots
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Last edited by nakul0888 : 19th July 2014 at 23:44.
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Old 19th July 2014, 23:09   #4
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Default Re: My Rallye red Go-Kart- The Honda Brio Initial ownership review

Now on with car!

My dad had made it quite clear that the brio would be the workhorse and as such needed to be simple, practical in town, easy to drive and cheap to maintain and boy does the Brio deliver!

The Practical Commuter

The thing I love most about this car is its tinyness and compact nature. It’s an absolute joy to drive in town and cities.

All the controls are light and super slick. The clutch has got the perfect travel and the gear changes are super smooth. Some members here have complained about the notchy gear changes but I have not experienced this in my car. The one in the Honda City is definitely more notchy.

Golf ball shaped gear knob perfect for those snappy gear changes!
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-golf-ball-knob.jpg

There is good visibility all around and the rear visibility is just grand due to the glass hatch. Parking sensors are just not needed.

Now even though the car seems short and small there is plenty of room inside the car. This is because despite the compact Chevy beatish kinda look it’s still as wide as the cars from a segment above like the polo and punto.

I once took the brio to pick up some friends. When they first saw the car they groaned as if they were being asked to get inside a torture chamber. They were in for a surprise when they got in! Nobody could fathom how Honda could get so much space from such a tiny looking car. Brilliant packaging exercise from Honda.

Many will be surprised when they get in here
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-thin-seats.jpg

Now as for the running costs? The brio is an exceptionally fuel efficient car. In fact it is as fuel efficient as some diesels. An average of 13kpl in the city and 18kpl in the highway is entirely possible.
I have just finished my second service a month ago and it cost me around Rs. 1300/-. That's just dirt cheap! Of course the labor was free as it was just the second service but the SA assured me the bill rarely goes beyond Rs. 2500/-. Works for me! Also the service center visit intervals for the brio are every 6months as opposed to every 3 months for the City.

Equipment wise the brio is not that brilliant. My car has Radio, Aux and USB connectivity, steering mounted audio controls, height adjustable seats and that’s just about it. A Hyundai i10 grand is much more lavishly equipped than the Brio. But it doesn't bother me too much. I am not a techie type of a person. I have got a/c to cool me down on hot days and can hear my favorite tunes through my phone. For 5.5 lakhs that’s fine by me.

Spartan looking Interiors- basic a/c is all I have got, no climatronic here.
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-bare-ac.jpg

basic player
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-basic-mp3.jpg

steering controls
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-steering-controls.jpg

What the Brio lacks in equipment it makes up in the quality department. Interiors are well screwed together. Plastic quality is top notch. Special mention is needed for the steering wheel which has to be the best non leather wrapped steering I have ever come across.

Nicely finished contoured steering wheel
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-steering-wheel.jpg

Textured plastic used in the center of dashboard
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-texturesd-plastic.jpg

Funky a/c vents
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-funky-ac-vents.jpg

Same can’t be said about the seats though. It’s a bit too thin and bargain basement for my liking. You won't be getting any back aches but you will find it a bit tiring.

There are also glaring examples of cost cutting by Honda.

For example the old fashioned antenna,
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-old-antenna.jpg

the usb cable,
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-usb.jpg

some exposed cable bits in the passenger side footwell,
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-cost-cutting.jpg

exposed metal on the doors?
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-exposed-metal.jpg

Now I know what you are all thinking of right now. "Is this guy mad? The brio, a practical car? With that boot? You got to be joking!"

It is a valid point though.
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-tiny-boot.jpg

Well truth be told, the brio has got the tiniest boot I have ever seen on a road car. Families with stuff to haul will be surely put off by the size of the boot. It's fortunate for us we have got other rides to do that kind of stuff, so we really don't need that much big boot space on our everyday car.
But if it's any consolation for the others who are put off by the tiny boot I can tell you that the rear seats fold down.

Last edited by nakul0888 : 19th July 2014 at 23:45.
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Old 19th July 2014, 23:28   #5
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Default Re: My Rallye red Go-Kart- The Honda Brio Initial ownership review

The Feisty Go-Kart

Unlike most urban commuters like the 1.2 petrol polo/fabia/i20 the brio is not a one trick pony that has just city drivability to offer and then when taken to the highway loses steam past 70kph. If anything the brio is just as capable on the highways as it is in town.

The 1.2 vtec is a masterpiece of an engine. There is a slight complaint of it being sluggish in the jazz but the brio being lighter and smaller is a perfect match.

The throttle response of this N/A engine is amazing. Just a gentle nudge of the accelerator pedal and the car responds immediately making city driving incredibly satisfying.

Then there is the way this engine revvs. The top end whack is addictive. Even with the brilliant throttle response the real action in the brio starts north of 3000 rpm. Once you got past 4000 rpm the vtec really kicks in and there is an addictive snarl from the engine. And believe me by this point you will be really making progress.

The brio can do 80 plus in second gear and flat out acceleration is damn impressive. 0-100 is dealt in less than 13 seconds which is mighty impressive for a car at this price point. In fact at the traffic lights it can show some supposedly "hot" hatches like the punto 90hp how it's really done. It’s mostly due to a combination of outstanding throttle response, high revving nature of the engine and light weight that results in the stellar performance. Most diesel hatchbacks at this price point are virtually dead off the line in first gear while the brio simply takes off and walks past them. Of course it can't match the in gear accelerations of the oil burners but where is the fun in that? Besides all it takes is a little downshift to make things even!

Think there's room for another 300cc.
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-best-four-pot.jpg

Handling is also extremely satisfying. This has got to be the most chuckable small car on sale in India.
When the twisty stuff arrives what you do is shift down to second, literally throw the car into the said corner and then rev the nuts off of it to rocket yourself out of the corner. Brilliant stuff. The small and squarish like footprint of the car means you are easily aware of its four corners and this gives you lots of confidence.

In the dynamics department the brio is not faultless though.

The ride is a bit choppy at slow speeds and tends to crash when faced with potholes whereas a figo would gracefully absorb them.

The steering feel is decent and when the speed piles up weighs up nicely especially on the bigger and wider rubber that I am running on. But it's just not as good as a pure hydraulic unit seen on the figo and punto and it is feels just that little bit vague off centre.

And then there is the issue with carrying load. While you are driving alone the brio gives stellar performance due to its impressive power to weight ratio. But put 3 extra people along with you in the car and the performance simply takes a nose dive. I know that most of the cars under perform under load but somehow it is more apparent in the Brio.

There is no use in trying to impress friends in a fully loaded brio. It's pointless. Best to take it easy and cruise along in the slow lane enjoying the goof FE figures on the MID.

Niggles
Well there has only been one. Within a month of purchase there was an annoying rattling noise coming from the top of the dashboard.
Gave Peninsular Honda another chance. But sadly they blew this one too. Their technicians were unable to find a solution. I was disappointed again. I didn’t waste my time arguing with the guy. I left
The good thing about Honda is that they have got a number of dealerships at any given place. So a few days later I took the car to the newly opened Vivaan Honda.
When I began talk about the rattling noise, the SA quickly asked me if it was coming from the top of the dashboard. I said “yes” feeling relieved that someone actually knows about this. They said it’s been seen on a few brio and amazes and they have got a fix for it. They delivered on their promise and it’s gone now.
That’s about it really.

Here are some more pics.

My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-blacked-out-head-lamps.jpg

My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-cheeky-front-end.jpg

My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-dscn0548.jpg

My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-dscn0549.jpg
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-dscn0550.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-suiting-cluster.jpg  

My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio-funky-tail-lamps.jpg  


Last edited by nakul0888 : 20th July 2014 at 14:17.
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Old 19th July 2014, 23:32   #6
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Default Re: My Rallye red Go-Kart- The Honda Brio Initial ownership review

Decisions Decisions…..
I had a number of other options in my mind as well before considering the brio.

Hyundai i20 1.2 asta:
Good stuff
*loaded to the gill with features
*Spacious inside, big usable boot
*Good looking
*Good interiors, lovely lovely seats.
*Supposedly fuel efficient. SA said 19kpl is achievable.

Bad stuff
*felt underpowered and slow
*uninspiring steering
*Didn't like the placement of pedals
*Gear shifts were just about average.
*Not so great high speed handling, hit 100+ and its feels nervous.

I wouldn't say that the i20 is a bad car. For somebody who doesn't care about high speed handling and driving pleasure and just want lots of style and value for money, the i20 is a perfect car. But it was just not meant for me.

Suzuki Swift Petrol: To be honest I am not in a position to criticize the swift because I haven't driven it. The Swift was not favoured by me because I didn't like its looks. The old one looked much much better. The new one looks like a beached sea turtle especially from the back.
Neverthless I did went to a few dealerships to inquire about it.
I did sit in one (a diesel).
First impressions were that the interiors were nothing to write home about.(same is the case with brio though)
And I found it particularly difficult to see out of the car.
I wanted to test drive the swift, but none of the dealerships had a petrol test drive car.
So I just sat in the diesel car thinking about it and realised I didnt care much about the swift. So I just went home.
I know the swift is a strong contender but prejudice against Maruti got the best of me. Besides everybody's got a swift. Brio is a rare item on the roads.

Chevy Beat: Had been a passenger in one.It had about 30,000 km on the odo. But honestly one look at the interiors and you will feel like its atleast 10 years old and had run 150000 kms. It was a petrol car but it sounded like its been running on sandpaper and gravel and also I could feel that it was not a performer. To be fair I was with a friend who was test driving a used car from a second hand dealer. Maybe it was an abused one.

Hyundai i10: Didn't consider it because I didn't like its looks and after having driven the i20 I sort of knew what to expect.

Ford Figo 1.2: Didn't get the chance to test drive the petrol car as the dealership didn't have a petrol car. But I was eager to know how it handles and steers so took a TD of the diesel instead. To tell you the truth I was impressed.

Good Stuff
*Superb steering. Heavy and with good feel. Just the way I like it.
*Excellent ride quality. It was firm but compliant.
*High speed manners are excellent. Goes like its on rails.
*Good features list.
Bad stuff.
*It looks plain and ordinary. Not a hint of design flair anywhere in sight.
*Sitting in the figo gives you some idea of what’s it likes to sit in a cave. The plastics were hard and feel utilitarian.
*I drove the diesel car and was somewhat impressed by the performance, but it was way out of budget.
*Didn't get the chance to drive the petrol car but looked up the reviews and everyone had the same opinion. Too slow
*A.S.S,service costs, spare part prices was all a big mystery to us.

By this time I had driven the Brio and the choices had just become crystal clear. Either it was the figo or the Brio.

The Figo definitely had the better ride/handling and steering. It was more practical and better equipped.

But it was hugely let down by a mediocre engine. A vtec is a vtec. Enough said.

Also maybe 4 or 5 years down the lane I can simply buy a pair of bilstein shocks and better sets of rubber to improve the handling of the brio. And the fact that Honda has a hugely more reputed A.SS simply clinched the deal in favor of the little Honda.

My thoughts

I won't say that the brio is a perfect car. In fact it is far from it.

Family guys won't appreciate the miniscule boot for their first and only car.

Those looking for value for money and gizmos won't be appreciating the spartan interiors.

No diesel engine in the lineup means mile munchers look elsewhere.

Those looking for safety will be put off by the full glass rear hatch.

And some won’t like the styling.

No wonder it doesn't sell well. But if you are the sort of person like me who's willing to sacrifice a bit for the sake of pure petrol driving pleasure but is on a really tight budget and needs something cheap to buy, run, service I think Brio is the perfect choice for you.

With a friend's i10 (Hope he doesn't read this review)
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Old 20th July 2014, 19:24   #7
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Default re: My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 20th July 2014, 21:14   #8
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Default re: My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio

The rattle from the top of the dash is a design flaw. Exists in each and every brio I've driven till date. In my car which is now close to 3 years old, it is there sometimes and then goes away again for a while. The service center is helpless - any fix they try stays for 10-15 days and it comes back again.

Any way its a great car and after every drive, the driver is grinning from ear to ear. It is just so much fun - proves that you don't need to spend big money to have fun in a car. All the best with your ownership.
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Old 20th July 2014, 21:54   #9
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Default re: My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio

Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
The rattle from the top of the dash is a design flaw. Exists in each and every brio I've driven till date. In my car which is now close to 3 years old, it is there sometimes and then goes away again for a while. The service center is helpless - any fix they try stays for 10-15 days and it comes back again.
It's been two months since the rattling on my car's been fixed.
But I have to admit that the running in our household is sparse. Its been nearly 8 months and it still has only done 4700km. Well judging by what you said I have to expect it later down the line. Bummer.
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Old 21st July 2014, 11:03   #10
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Default Re: My Rallye red Go-Kart- The Honda Brio Initial ownership review

Quote:
Originally Posted by nakul0888 View Post

Now something about the little devil himself!

As said before the car we bought is an exclusive edition "S" variant.

Over the normal "S" this one's got
Congrats on your latest acquisition nakul0888. Looks 'B-R-I-O' LLENT !!

Two Hot Hatches and both under one of the hottest shades available ? I guess the quest for performance machines runs in your family bro.
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Old 21st July 2014, 11:37   #11
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Default Re: My Rallye red Go-Kart- The Honda Brio Initial ownership review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Congrats on your latest acquisition nakul0888. Looks 'B-R-I-O' LLENT !!

Two Hot Hatches and both under one of the hottest shades available ? I guess the quest for performance machines runs in your family bro.
Thanks a bunch! He he the brio is a junior hot hatch. Not quite there yet.
But I plan on making it some time later. That should make things even with the Gt.
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Old 21st July 2014, 17:45   #12
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Default Re: My Rallye red Go-Kart- The Honda Brio Initial ownership review

Quote:
Originally Posted by nakul0888 View Post
In the chaos of the evening we completely forgot about that! We saw the fog lights fitted to the car alright. But we thought it would be fitted properly by replacing the stock indicator stalks with the new ones having a provision for one like in the City. But it turns out all they ever did was drill a hole in the dashboard and fix a button to it. Truly appalling and since it was already dark when we finally got the car we simply didn't notice it.
If I'm not wrong but it looks like the switch has been fixed on the Fuse cover panel. If its so you should be careful when you pull the panel because it pops out suddenly and this would snap the switch connections.
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Old 23rd July 2014, 06:44   #13
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Default Re: My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio

Nice and crisp review Nakul. The all black interior looks nice in Brio. I too own a Brio, but this interior option was not available then. Is it difficult to keep the car clean due to shoes marks?

Like you said, I too like the steering wheel the most, the contours give perfect grip.

Happy miles ahead.
Any pros and cons of tyre upsizing?
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Old 23rd July 2014, 09:08   #14
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Default Re: My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio

Congrats on the Brio, looks hot in red, a color I think you love, looking at the other car at your home. Hope you have a great time with it.
I too looked at the Brio during my latest car search, but it was just too short for me.
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Old 23rd July 2014, 09:20   #15
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Default Re: My Rallye Red Go-Kart: The Honda Brio

Very crisp review covering most of the points. Congrats on the new go-kart! Wish you many happy miles with the car.

IIRC, Brio comes with 14' wheels stock. So you upsized to 16' or 15'? If 16' then did you notice any contact with the wheel wells? Nice set of alloys!
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